How to Take Heart When You’re Super Anxious
When our kids were little, I read Growing Kids God’s Way, by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo, and learned an excellent practice for teaching my kids how to politely get my attention when I was talking with someone else.
My child would come up to me and put his hand on my arm or leg. I would reach down and cover his hand with my own, while continuing to talk to the other person. As soon as I could politely take a break in conversation, I would turn to my child, give him my full attention, and say, “Thank you for waiting so patiently. What do you need?”
The beauty of this was that my kids learned they were important. My gentle pressure on their little hands assured them that I saw them and knew they needed me.
Taking our anxieties to God is much like this.
The psalmist sings to us:
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:14 NIV)
Just like small children, we often pray and have to wait for the Father to take action. It’s not that we have to stand there until he finishes with someone else before he get to us, but we do have to wait for his well-timed response.
But it’s the “take heart” part that is so important.
The other morning I was bringing our financial needs to the Lord. It’s one of those seasons where a lot of unexpected expenses have hit at once, with a grand finale of the kitchen faucet falling apart in my hands.
Lord, maybe I need to increase my income somehow, I prayed.
A few hours later, a friend called and asked if I wanted to accompany some high school vocalists for district music festival. It’s a good income for a small investment of time, and I said, “Yes!” That short-term job won’t meet all of our financial expenses, but on that day I felt God reaching down and placing his strong hand over mine. He was saying to me, I see you. I see that you need me. Hold on.
So “taking heart” comes not from having every need taken care of immediately but from knowing God is aware of me and is going to respond to my cries for help.
I can wait.
Waiting isn’t a big deal at all, if our hearts are 100% sure that we have God’s attention.
What do you need God’s attention for today?