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May 11 2012

Grace and Peace: Anxious Much?

Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GraceAndPeace/~3/OU15Hlp-R-M/anxious-much.html


I am in the process of moving from one appointment to another, and all that goes along with that - packing, changing services such as banks and cable, and hiring movers.  There is much involved in moving, changing jobs, and other such transitions in life.  In fact, many of the things involved with a pastor's transitioning to a new appointment are included on the life events stress test, along with other life events such as death of a family member, divorce, child leaving home, birth, etc.  It is not surprising that when I take this test, I scored fairly high.

I tend to pride myself in my genuineness and authenticity to most people.  I try not to "put on airs," or pretend to be something I'm not.  One parishioner once remarked that, "I was real," as if it were something surprising that her pastor were not imaginary.  Of course, I am only as genuine as I am willing to admit to myself, which might be the hang up from time to time.

With all that being said, I must admit that I am just now beginning to come out of a fog of anxiety.  This anxiety began probably sometime around January and really picked up speed around March.  When I know I am moving and no one else knows I am moving, it is extremely anxiety producing. I hate the unfortunate and necessary deception that comes with having to hold onto information until it is the right time to share it for you, the conference, and the congregation.

You would think that after the news is out then the anxiety would ease up, but that isn't necessarily how it works. Then there is the consideration of the place to which you are moving.  What will it be like?  How will they receive and respond to you?  What will your home, church, congregation be like?  These have been questions I have been pondering recently.  These concerns compounded by denominational uncertainty as to whether or not there will be restructuring, what will it look like, how will it affect my conference, congregation, ministry, family.  I have found that all of these unanswered questions have caused me a great deal of...well...anxiety.

Now, I know that anxiety robs us of joy and peace that God intends for us to have.  People will ask me if I am excited about my new church and home, and I am having a hard time with 'excitement.'  I am looking forward to this move, but excitement requires energy that anxiety steals.  I know worry and anxiety are destructive forces, and I know this so well, I have often counseled others on this.  And yes, I am fully aware of the hypocrisy of my preaching that we should trust God with the future while being anxious of what the future may bring.

Yet, I am coming out of this fog.  Living in the in-between world of packed boxes and messy rooms requires a certain amount of "letting go."  With a little over three weeks to moving day, I am beginning to emerge from the fog of worry to deal with the harsh light of reality - you know where you don't have time to worry about what might be because you must face what is before you.

God tends to send me words of wisdom in many ways; sometimes through scripture, sometimes in a quote, sometimes in the words of friends.  Today God spoke to me clearly through the words found etched on a plaque given to me by a friend,

"I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I know WHO holds tomorrow."  

Of course we all feel a certain amount of trepidation when changes occur in our lives.  We may not know what tomorrow holds, but we who trust in God do know the ONE who not only knows what tomorrow holds but goes before us.

So, on that note, I think I'll go pack another box...


About the author

Rev. Sonja E. Tobey

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2012/05/anxious-much/

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