In 40 years, I have never missed a train, let alone a plane. Never been late for a meeting, never had my incompetence uncovered, never missed breakfast for that matter... Yet every time, the anxieties are there - this might be the one time...
The truth is that I am organised, creative, capable. That's not a rash assumption, an arrogant surmise. It's the reality of 40 years evidence. That shouldn't make me casual or careless, but it should make me care-less. But it doesn't. Somehow there is a disconnect between the truth and my responses.This is a widespread problem. In this example, it robs my peace Now, it maybe that I enjoy the frisson of excitement that the perceived hazards bring, but I notice it in other areas too.
Without a conscious process, truth doesn't impact the reality of my life. It's like living in a Daily Mail world; one in which the absence of worry, the absence of an 'enemy' makes life dull, so we exchange what we could know as truth, for the convenient lies, the facile assumptions: Immigrants are taking all our jobs, Muslims taking over the world, benefit cheats personally stealing the bread from our mouths.
Yet, once we've bought the lie, the truth has little impact. When 'facts' match our preconceived worldview, they are accepted and reinforce the existing picture. Evidence to the contrary is mistrusted or ignored.
What has to happen is a willingness for the worldview to change. As Paul puts it, our mind needs renewing, we need new ways of thinking. Then at least we can receive and believe the new truth. But how do we connect that to our feelings, how do we get our hearts to line up with what we know?
Seems like the Psalms have the answer. When David cries out to God in his anxiety, his despair, his anger, when he rages at the injustice, he already knows what is true. He knows that it's his fault he is in the mess, or he knows that it is sin in the hearts of others that has him in this painful place. He knows God hasn't left him, hasn't given up on him. But he brings those feelings and honestly exresses them. This is how I feel, this is what it makes me thin about you, about others, about me. He holds nothing back, nor does he short cut the process by stuffing the emotions down simply because he knows that they are not based on truth. He just rages away. This IS how I feel. But he doesn't leave it there. Having expressed it, he brings, or allows God to bring, a bigger truth into view. He allows God to comfort, hears His words of love and care. Allows God to remind him of promises. And finally, allows truth to engage with the emotions. Peace comes.
Maybe I need to cry out to God. I know I am a competent, capable adult. I've found my way into civil war-torn African nations. I can get to Selly Oak this morning. But maybe I need to cry out to God. "Dad, I'm just a little kid, scared of disappointing, I feel daunted, overwhelmed by the fear that one day I will be exposed as that little boy, rather than the mid 50's adult"
Maybe what I really need is not the organisation, or the knowledge of all those previous, successful trips. Maybe what I really need is to know the security of being loved, approved and cared for by my wonderful, loving God. Maybe then, the truth about the past, my ability and God's care, will have space to grow and push out the anxieties.
Rugby. On time. But who cares? I am loved, for ever. A cross, an empty tomb guarantee it.