“We find peace only in surrendering the outcomes to God.”- Dallas Willard
I like consistency. I like knowing how people will act and behave. I like knowing that when a friend tells me we’ll get together soon, we actually will hang out soon. I like when co-workers actually send me an email after saying “I’ll get back to you on that.” I loved knowing that every morning my grandfather mixed two different kinds of cereal together. And I like knowing that my parents’ cat will ALWAYS jump in my lap when I sit in my dad’s reclining chair.
Because I derive so much security in predicting the future, the unknown can make me feel very vulnerable. This is partially due to my professional training, as a large part of being a school librarian is identifying a library’s weaknesses and creating contingency plans to protect staff and students. I’ve spent a significant portion of my career creating detailed “what-if” scenarios for my library: What if we have a lock-down when we have two classes in the library? What if all my staff are sick on the same day? What if we can’t expand our space and we continue to exceed capacity?
During the last few years I’ve begun to realize how much this contingency-planning mindset is present in my personal life. I’ve always been a planner and I believe it is unhealthy and irresponsible to deny the possibility of bad things happening. But there’s a difference between planning for the worst and living in fear of the worst actually happening. When I find myself pondering a “what-if” situation (What if I get really sick? What if he never calls again?), I think of possible negative outcomes and sometimes grieve for the loss or hurt I think it will cause before it even occurs- which of course, it usually doesn’t. I used to think I was just a pessimist or a worrier, but recently I’ve come to understand that it’s actually insecurity. And if I claim to be a believer and find my ultimate security in Christ, then insecurity is a form of unbelief.
Though it’s still more of a struggle than I would like it to be, I find comfort and strength in the fact that God already knows my insecurities (I John 3:20). He wants me to express my anxieties to Him (Philippians 4:6). He offers me His peace when I look to him for security (Philippians 4:7), even when I’ve been complacent or lazy about finding my peace in Him (Isaiah 32:9-20). Mercifully, Jesus can still work in the lives of those of us who struggle with unbelief, and the words of Mark 9:24 have become somewhat of a motto for me: “I believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/3193389523/