Several weeks ago at our dear church, I stood to sing in my usual spot on the front row. As the pastor’s wife, I sit in what feels like the designated seat, always in view of a church filled with people I love. They watch my face when Chad jokes with me in a sermon. They glance my way when he looks at me and smiles. And they see it when I brush away tears as God breaks my heart in the places where it needs breaking. He is always molding and mending, and this He sometimes does right there on the front row.
I stood that day and sang, knowing that I had just spent a week struggling with my own fears. There I was, singing to the God of the Universe, the one who is fully and truly in control of it all, and in that moment I acknowledged his might, his goodness, his everlasting love. I cried and I prayed and I listened as my spiritual family sang the truths that I so badly wanted to remember. I knew that I needed to surrender my fears to my Savior. Maybe I even tried. But when I walked out of the church that day, tear-stained, I carried my worries with me.
They are, in many ways, my most prized possessions. I’m an expert at conjuring them. They are almost always my closest thoughts, and they sit like little golden statues all along the shelves that line my heart and mind. Gold because they last, because they are alluring, always drawing my eye. Even when I am looking in a different direction, thinking better thoughts, the smallest glint of worry will flash in some distant part of my heart, and before I know it I’m standing there in my mind, looking over my collection of little golden worries. My heart palpitates. I stand still, not resting, but not moving, just existing there in the presence of all of my fears, and if it weren’t for the Holy Spirit of Christ I would never budge.
I used to think that worry was one of those acceptable sins that we all just deal with. After all, God had reasons for clearly telling us more than 350 times that we shouldn’t be afraid. But truthfully, we may need that reminder so often because we tend to idolize our worries. We meditate on our anxieties more than we dwell on who God is. We stand there, just existing, staring at our fears, forgetting that the warmth at our backs is the radiance of God’s glory. All we have to do is turn around, pull our eyes away from those shiny fears that we so revere, and fix our eyes on the true light–the one who will one day roll up the heavens like a cloak while keeping us safe in His arms. That’s the God who loves us. He will carry us through whatever comes, so why do we root ourselves in place and obsess over all the things that will probably never happen? Little golden worries are no different than that golden calf that we roll our eyes over. Those foolish Israelites. Couldn’t they see who they were really dealing with?
So, I guess on that Sunday a few weeks ago, God really was breaking my heart in needed ways. It just took me a little bit longer to get the full picture. Worry is heavy and useless. I have wasted time gazing at this idol while there is real work to be done, and a true and gracious God who deserves every ounce of my worship. I’m tired of building this collection of fears and making space for it in my heart. He is so much better. I believe, Lord. Help me in my unbelief.