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Hurricane Irma & the Curse of the Anxious

Last weekend Hurricane Irma carved a path through Southwest Florida and the eye of the storm came right over our town of Arcadia. A week prior to the storm we’d been watching it, tracking it, and listening to the commentary of where the storm was going to go. Weather scientists surmised just how much damage Irma would cause.

And the anxiety rose.

And the anxiety built stronger.

And finally that same anxiety sang out until reaching a crescendo leaving me feeling raw and spent and sad.

The anxiety was building before that though. A friend weeks prior had sent a group text asking for prayer because her anxiety was getting the best of her. She was sad and fed up and wanted to both give up and get better. I could concur. I was hardly keeping it all at bay, hardly treading water.

If you’ve never struggled with anxiety or felt the devastating effects of depressed feelings, it’s hard to understand. It’s like a hole that’s caving in around you, everything’s moving quickly around you, and there’s no way out. The only solution is to cry out in panic, which causes those around you to shy away and get angry. And you cry out in panic because then, at least, you’re doing something to save yourself. At the absolute least you’re engaging in something to try and feel better and maybe, just maybe, you’ll panic loudly enough that something will realign and right itself.

It doesn’t.

You just wind up sick and spent and everyone around you is angry and perplexed.

Upheld by the Word

I was reading a book by Misty Edwards last night called “What is the Point?” and she wrote about Hebrews 1:3. “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power (ESV).”

Misty wrote about how God holds everything together by his Word. His word, in this case, is not scripture. Many Christians falsely believe that the Word is the Bible. It’s not. The Word is a man! The Word is Jesus. John 1:1 tells us that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The Word is Jesus.

In Hebrews 1:3 the Greek word for word here is rhema. Rhema is defined in this context as a command where rhema is used in metonymy for everything which God decrees. Metonymy is a substitution where a word is used to mean something. In this case, the word is used to mean Christ.

We are upheld by the Word, by Christ.

Colossians 1:17 tells us that “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (ESV).”

We are wrapped up in Christ. We are held together by Christ. We drink our coffee each morning, we go to work, we do our jobs, raise our families, and feed the cat only because we are upheld by the Word — Jesus the unfathomable.

Misty went on to write, “Love is a two-sided coin, and He is jealous and exclusive…we are fashioned for Him (21).” She tells about how she’s learned that our purpose in life is first rooted in being His and secondly rooted in doing what we do and following our passions.

There are many paths we can take in this life. There are many roads we can take in order to feel fulfillment. I’d like to say that all roads lead to Rome and that no matter what you do to make yourself feel better it’ll lead to Divine inspiration. It’s not the case. We have a divine purpose, and we’ve all felt a tugging to discover the meaning of our lives. We’ve all longed to know what we’re here for and what we’re called to do.

We are Meant for Jesus

Misty writes, “The beginning of life is Jesus; the purpose of life is Jesus; the meaning of life and the ending of life is Jesus. He is God, and it is His story we are wrapped up in. Creation itself was made for Him, and he will inherit all of it (Colossians 1:16) (25).”

Although we have desires and dreams to do great things on Earth, our true desire for fulfillment will never be met outside of Jesus. I’m earning a Master’s degree in Education Theory and Practice and plan on earning a doctorate in Instructional Technology and Design. I’m a teacher and have dreams of working online and being a college dean or an instructor at a missions base or maybe something else I haven’t thought of yet.

Those things are good. Work is good. Education is good. Living a good life and doing the things that are in our hearts is good, but if our dreams are not trumped by the singular focus of life defined by intimacy with God, nothing will truly fulfill us.

“He designed us for Himself, and until we are fully His, we will feel off balance, uncentered, empty, and aimless,” (26) writes Misty. “By beholding Him, we become like Him, therefore fulfilling our primary life purpose.”

If you’re feeling stressed out, inferior, and anxious I encourage you to take a breath, look to the heavens, and know that you are upheld by Christ. Jesus loves you. He delights in you. He calls you beautiful (Song of Songs 1:15). Your life is Christ. Your every breath comes from Him. Rest and be assured that you are loved and blessed and well kept.




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