Several years ago I got a notice in the mail from the IRS that instantly sent me into a panic!! I was newly divorced and had been trying hard to shore up MY financial history. What the IRS notice told me threatened the plans that have been formulating for months. These had not just been MY plans alone. God had been so obvious in His leading… and yet a little piece of paper could yank me off of my Heavenly Father’s lap and make me afraid. DOH!!
Not sure how YOU handle fear or stress, but I eat! My number one “go-to” comfort food is potato chips! Mmmmm… salty, crunchy… *stop drooling, Ann*. In the absence of potato chips, however, I will accept almost anything else. When that piece of mail came I did not have potato chips handy, but I did have the next best thing… Sweetarts! So, as I was on the phone… on hold… waiting… and waiting… listening to some canned midi music… I ripped into a package of Sweetarts! I crunched up those yummy, sour disks like they were going to save my life!! After an hour and a half of waiting (seriously, an hour and 27 minutes to be exact) and then talking with the nice IRS gentleman (who was able to get to the bottom of the problem and come up with a temporary solution)… I had almost finished two “magic wands of tart goodness”!! Of course, I regretted devouring that much candy!
I hung up the phone and sat in a puddle of worry about finances; stress about what to do next; and guilt about eating all those Sweetarts. Worry! Stress! Guilt! Each of those emotions is deeply rooted in fear!! It took me hours… no days… to realize I had let fear in and it was crippling. Fear was covering up, actually STEALing, the wonderful things… joy, hope, peace… that are meant to be mine… meant to be ours in Christ.
A few years before this, I watched a video devotional by Mike Donehey (Tenth Avenue North) called Fear is Just a Lie. It started to change the way I looked at things that came into my life. I truly believe that fear happens when I believe a lie. When I dissect my fears, they ALL come from a misguided belief that Jesus may not really have my back. Do I believe Jesus’ promises or not? Is there ANYTHING that can happen that could possibly be so terrible that it would destroy me?! Of course not! That’s what Romans 8:38-39 is all about!!
I wish my memory worked perfectly and I could always keep in mind the things Jesus has taught me – at the moment I need to remember them! But there I was… sitting in that emotional puddle (the day before Thanksgiving, ironically)… believing lies straight from the enemy! I slowly began to emerge from the puddle (with the help of sweet friends), but even days later I could feel the drips of worry, stress and guilt still clinging to me. That’s when I found the last bits of the second package of Sweetarts. I could almost HEAR God say (with a little chuckle in His voice)… “whose comfort do you really want? Mine or Sweetarts?” I snapped that picture of the wrapper and chuckled a bit myself. Shortly after that, No Thief Life Fear by Jason Gray played in my music mix. What a perfect way to remind me of truth and emphasize Jesus’ promises of freedom and peace.
I kept that silly piece of curled-up wrapper hanging at my desk for a couple of years as a reminder of His promises to be everything to me. Jesus is SO much more than Sweetarts! …or even potato chips!!!
In His Lap,