Airboats & Anxiety

Not much has changed for me during this unsettling time and I know I’m one of the lucky ones. But what this time has shown me is the power of fear and the sovereignty of God.

We took an airboat ride in Florida recently and I felt fear pretty much the whole ride. You know the feeling when you’re pushed to what you think is your limit? Like we really can’t go any faster than this on our side can we? We aren’t really going over that huge mound of mud are we? And then yes, we can! Yes we are! And hey look, we are fine and it’s actually kind of insane and fun at the same time! That’s what an airboat ride feels like. But do you know why we could do those crazy awesome things on that ride? Because the captain was driving the boat and we were not. Because when I was clenching my teeth and my babies, preparing for the worst, the captain never stopped driving the boat.

I wasn’t in control of that boat, and I hated that. We aren’t in control of this pandemic and we hate that. We may all go over on our sides so far we think we’re never coming back upright. We may go through messy muddy bumps in the weeks to come. But the captain is still driving the boat.

I didn’t know what I was getting into going on that airboat, but it turned out to be an incredible ride. And even though this virus wasn’t what we asked for, maybe our captain is taking us through this to lead us to somewhere better than we’ve ever been.

Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Hurry Up and Slow Down!

Have you ever responded to someone or something out of anger? Out of emotion? Out of bitterness? Have you ever said something that you didn’t really mean, but only felt at the time? Have you ever hurt someone because you hurt?

My sermon on Sunday was from James as he was talking to the twelve tribes about listening and doing.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

James 1:19-21 NIV

Sometimes as I read stories from the Bible I feel far from them because they were so long ago, but you know what? These people struggled with the same things we struggle with today. These people threw fits of rage, lashed out at others, shut down, and wrecked lives and relationships all because they responded without truly hearing what someone else was saying.

As I think about the instances in my life when I’ve been quick to respond with humanness instead of prayerfully constructed answers or actions, it ain’t pretty. In fact, it’s true ugliness that I often regret as soon as it’s all spilled out.

The common denominator in each of my own fits is that I wasn’t really listening. I was in such a hurry to respond that I didn’t slow down to listen. I didn’t take the time to understand what the other person was saying, feeling, or dealing with because I was too wrapped up in my own fear, hurt, or selfishness.

People can be broken. They can say things that bring us down, but we don’t have to fall apart. People can be awful. They can be cruel and say things to intentionally set us off, but we don’t have to blow up. As James said, it’s not worth it. In fact, it’s evil and produces nothing good.

So instead let’s start to…

Listen.

Breathe.

Pray.

Respond with grace and truth instead of wrath and emotion.

Just hurry up and slow down.