Being anxious about being anxious.

Everyone deals with it to some degree. For some it's fleeting, for others it's paralyzing. I know that it comes in all shapes and sizes, but it's a common human experience. It touches all of us. I'm talking about worry and anxiety.

Worry has been a weight that I have carried with me for a long time. It started out when I was a perfectionist child, needing things done just-so, fretting over details. In my adult life now, it shows up in new ways. I am a dad now (7 weeks in!), so it's par-for-the-course to wake up at odd hours of the night to check to make sure my daughter is still breathing. Irrational, I know! But it's an instinct (and a worry) that is sewn into the fabric of every parent, from what I've gathered.

I'll give you another example. My wife and I and our newborn baby, Eliza, just moved. Almost two weeks ago, we packed up our apartment in one neighborhood and moved to a row-home in South Baltimore. (Cue the Jeffersons theme music.) After the U-Haul was unloaded and the dust settled, Sara realized she couldn't find her wallet. But we knew it had to be somewhere buried in a box or tucked into a bag, so we didn't stress too badly.

We began to unpack, ever on the lookout for Sara's wallet (containing her driver's license, credit card, debit card, and a slew of other important bits of info). As the days passed and the boxes dwindled, the anxiety ensued. Keeping a close eye on our accounts for fraudulent charges just in case, we were still convinced the wallet was somewhere in our home. A week passed with no luck. We decided to give it another day or two of searching before resorting to the process of canceling cards, heading to the MVA, and replacing a perfectly good wallet. Without much hope and at our wits' end, I cried out in prayer to God. Lord, I know this is so trivial. It's silly that I'm even bothering you with this, but I know you meant it when you told us to cast all our burdens on you.Nothing's too small, right? Well - here is our burden for today. Sara's wallet is missing. It's going to suck to have to replace it, so will you help us find it? I believe that you care for us, even in these small trivial things! Lord, guide our hands and help us find what we are looking for.

Have you ever been there? Sounded like that? I felt so foolish asking God for help with my first-world problems when 132 innocent children were just murdered in Pakistan. Our situation is small potatoes. But here is what I have to remind myself: God is big. He covers over all sins and hears every prayer. He can simultaneously meet my needs as well as those of a mother and father grieving for their child. He loves specifically. We should not hesitate to ask our Father for anything, big or small, weighty or trivial. He gives good things to those who love Him! While I will always carry my worry and anxiety with me, I can manage it by reminding myself of God's true love and care for me, my family, friends, and even those I do not yet know. In scripture, God teaches:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
— Matthew 6:25-27

So, about that wallet. I prayed for help, trying my hardest to believe God would listen and, with compassion, grant common grace to our situation. But I knew my prayer was imperfect, tainted by my skepticism and disbelief in God's ability and desire to deliver. A small part of me doubted that God cared about this tiny, insignificant inconvenience in our life. And why would he answer a prayer that wasn't even offered in full belief and hope of an answer? Surely He'd just ignore my little plea.

 But God answered my ramshackle prayer.

We dropped by our old apartment today to collect mail not yet forwarded to our new address. In with the pile of junk mail and Christmas cards was a package.


And in that package was my wife's wallet. Everything accounted for, nothing out of place. Some kind soul in Baltimore City found her wallet, no doubt on the street, dropped in the flurry of moving activities. And they turned it in at the post office, who then mailed it back to us, free of charge. That's not at all what we would expect from our city. But I'm learning that when God has His hand in something, my expectations go out the window. He hears us and he delivers. This is our most recent Christmas miracle.

So, let me state this plainly. God is for you. He loves you. He has given His Son's life for you. If He has already handled your spiritual and eternal needs, won't He then care for your physical needs? His love is unlike any other in this world. It transforms hearts and changes lives. Jesus will make you new if you ask Him to dwell within you. Your worry and anxiety will fall away like sand through your hands when you see the great love that your Father has for you. He is sovereign and reigns over everything in this world. I hope you hear and believe that right now. Lord, change our hearts. Give us over to your gospel and your grace. Let us believe in you and your son Jesus with full hearts and open hands, ready to follow you wherever you may lead.