Last night, I picked a book off of the shelf that we've had for a while. Neither Jonathan nor I have started to read it yet, but during a two hour conversation with my college roommate, Kate, this book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan, came up. Kate loved the book and made me promise I would read it so that we could talk about it in our next conversation. Well, that was over a month ago, and I just got to it last night. I haven't quite gotten a feel for the book yet, but about two chapters in, I was really touched by the following. I thought I'd share, and I pray that it challenges you as much as these words have challenged me in this area.
"Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.
Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.
Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed."
Crazy Love, page 42
I am totally guilty of worrying and "stressing out." I am a self-professed control freak when it comes to certain things (i.e. my comfort, my children, my household, honestly, anything involving me!), and I am aware that this is an area of sin that I need to grow in. God has been gracious to open my eyes to these things, but I am aware that I need to grow. I am very guilty of all that Francis Chan said about stress. I excuse my behavior, my attitude, my actions and responses because I feel that the circumstance that I am in that is causing me to stress out "merit[s] [my] impatience, [my] lack of grace toward others, or [my] tight grip of control."
Also, I had such a visual and sensual image of how my arrogance "reeks" before God when I worry, stress, and remain anxious about circumstances in my life. A funny occurrence from this past weekend immediately came to mind that drove the point home even more to me. This past Saturday, Jonathan and I went white water rafting on the Ocoee River along with his sister, Amy, and her boyfriend, Andrew. We had a great time! In order to be safe while rafting, you are required to wear a helmet and a P.F.D. (Personal Flotation Device), or as we common-folk refer to them, life jackets. Well, about half-way down the river, Jonathan leans over to me and says, "My life jacket REEKS of B.O." At the time, I was sitting in the front of the raft, and he was directly behind me and conveniently "down wind," so I hadn't noticed the smell. We didn't bring our own life jackets, but used the ones that the Rafting Company provided. A bit later, I moved to the back of the raft, now having Jonathan right in front of me. It didn't take long before I smelled him. It was awful. Every now and again, I would get a wave of the stinky body odor as it passed over me. It was terrible, and I immediately felt sorry for Jonathan who was surrounded by the smell for the entire rafting trip (over an hour and half).
That smell of B.O. is nothing compared to the reeking smell of arrogance that drifts up toward the Lord. It is not a pleasing scent, to say the least. I am thankful for such a vivid reminder of how my pride personally affects the Lord. I will continue to dwell on these thoughts, praying that my worry and stress are short-lived as I remember that God is in control. He is big enough to carry my burdens. He is so patient with me.