Plenty of Opportunities for Good
Looking over this past week's journal entries I saw the reoccurring lead star center the pages: worry. It's a wave I sometimes let pass me, or I choose to ride it. All the worries were truly based on disappointment. When I'm too hard on myself, when things are uncertain or fragile, when things are unmoving, I worry. Writing out my worries do help me pass that wave. The worry passes, I find its source, and I bring that to the Lord. I pray then I surrender; I let the worry go.
Whenever I journal in the morning I'm most likely to journal again that night to catch my journal up. On one morning I wrote, "I awoke with worries on my mind. I could have checked on those worries – try to ease the anxiety with confirmation, but I felt the gentle reminder and invitation from God to focus on what's good for this morning: yoga for the body, worship & prayer, Bible reading.
"I did. I focused on those things. There's more to the day than worries. There are opportunities for good. Where do we let our focus remain? We choose where we lay our focus on." Then that night I couldn't help but only focus on the good; I recorded the good from that day – not a single mention of worry.
Months ago I read this article from Wallflower Journal, "Living A Quiet Life." I read it curious to see if I was living a quiet life according to this article. While the author and I have different definitions for a quiet life (for her it's "one that speaks to the Little House on the Prairie days of Laura," while I live in the city), our motives and longing to live this way are centered by 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12: "and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."
While the noise of the world doesn't taunt me as much, the noise of worry and anxiety is what I need to escape from. The noise of waking up to worry. Jesus woke up to His disciples' worry in Mark 4. He didn't silence them, He silenced the storm – the noise. He heard the noise, He saw the storm, but He still asked His disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Jesus could call out their why; their root of fear and worry was their lack of faith. Our reaction to certain noise is backed by something deeper. Why are you worried? Why are you so afraid?
Verse 11 of 1 Thessalonians 4 gives me this idea: it's when you're minding your own business – keeping your mind focused on where it needs to be – this leads to a quiet life. A peaceful life. Work with your hands – move with what you are focused on; if it's good then it will produce good things.