My heart pounded faster than I knew it could. I was sweating through all 3 layers of clothing. Great. Now I had to do laundry on top of everything else.
Anxiety had the better of me. Again.
At least this time I had a real reason to be anxious. This time I wasn’t worrying about what shoes I might wear 8 months from now or where my non-existent children might one day attend school.
This time was legitimate and no amount of yoga breathing techniques or herbal remedies were about to stop my mind and body from racing. I was on the verge of passing out.
I was about to talk on the phone with a friend of mine I had not spoken to in 8 months. We had been estranged from one another, both unsure if we would ever speak again, and I had no idea what to expect.
Do I say hello? How do I say hello? Do I ask how he’s doing? Am I allowed to ask that? Do I burst into tears and say how much I’ve missed him and love him? Or do I play it cool and remain slightly aloof so I don’t scare him away? Will he sound angry or hurt? If he does, do I respond to that?
In my head I played through approximately 537 different ways to pick up the phone but it didn’t make a difference. When I saw his name pop up on my phone calling me, all I had thought through ceased to exist and in its place was only terror and anxiety.
“Hi.” I managed to squeak out, half under my breath. Still so unsure of myself.
Then I heard his voice.
All he said was hi in response. But it was his voice that said it. The same, familiar voice I’ve known for 5 and a half years. Call it cheesy, but the second I heard the voice I knew, my anxiety fled. I was safe. I knew this person. This was my friend. I had nothing to fear.
I went into this conversation having to confess some pretty horrific things I had done, unsure of what his response might be.
I left the conversation knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that this friend loved me and cared about me. And that wasn’t changing no matter what I did, have done, or will do.
I am totally secure in his love and care for me.
I am at rest.
My soul is at peace.
As I’ve reflected on this situation in my life, I started to recognize the parallel to God as my Father.
Most of my anxiety has been due to the fact that I am so afraid to approach my Father and be still in His presence and hear His truth, that I simply keep myself busy so He doesn’t have an opportunity to say anything. Then I get anxious because I won’t listen to His voice of truth.
I fear Him not in the reverent, respect kind of way, but in the terror sense of the word.
What if God finally said He’s done with me after everything I’ve done? What if I finally pushed Him too far or hurt Him too deeply? What if He doesn’t want to be good to me? What if He doesn’t take me back?
As a girl who has had an earthly father abandon her after she stopped behaving the way he wanted her to, these fears fit into the only thing I know to be true of fathers. And it makes me anxious to approach God.
Then I thought about this friend. He’s only a human, not God of the universe.
I hurt him. Deeply.
He loves me. Fully.
I heard my friend’s familiar voice and my anxieties fled. My fears about the future conversation no longer existed. He didn’t spend the time in our conversation condemning me, rather he took the time to let me know how much he loves me, despite everything I’ve done.
The Lord used this conversation with my friend not only to reconcile two of His children, but also to remind me how He sees me. If I can rest securely in the love of a mere human, how much more can I in a God who loves perfectly?
There is not one thing I could ever do that would make my Father stop loving me. I am beloved. I am the object of His delight. Period. There is nothing I can do to earn it. So when I “mess up” it’s OK. And there is nothing I can do about it. That identity can never be taken away. In that confidence I can approach my Father, who is good and loves me, confess all that I have done, and hear that familiar voice once again.
YOU ARE MY BELOVED.
That is the voice of my Father, and in its presence all my anxieties flee. It is familiar and loving and true. Fear cannot remain in its presence. There is no condemnation. I am safe in my Father’s arms.
I am totally secure in His love and care for me.
I am at rest.
At last my soul is at peace.
I am beloved.
-A Graceful Follower of Christ