Tuesday, January 12, 2021

She Laughs

So, it's been a weird year again so far, huh?

I mean, I kind of expected a lot of people to be unhappy about the election results.  Didn't expect them to turn out en masse to demonstrate that, but last year taught us that demonstrations, peaceful or not, get a lot of attention, so I should have seen that coming.

I didn't expect Big Tech to start literally censoring those they disagree with.  But "cancel culture" has presaged that, so it's not a big surprise either.  

My blogs and website are hosted by Google-owned Blogger.  Might they pull the plug on them at some point because of my religious beliefs?  Could be.  I would be sad.  And angry.  Might not be surprised, though, by that point.  Shutting someone up online is popular these days.  Then again, I'm a pretty small fish, so who knows.

I've been battling a lot of anxiousness the last week or two.  Haven't been writing much as a result, because my creative juices have been at a low ebb.  When current events begin to severely damage my calm, that does happen.  I've spent a lot of time in prayer, reading the Bible, and thinking.

This morning, I decided I was done losing sleep and calm over this.  

It's one thing to know that the world is not ever going to love Christians, and another to face encroaching persecution.  Mentally, I know the world does't love Christ and doesn't love his followers.  Spiritually, I know that Got will work all things for the best of those who love him, and that he says "the best" doesn't equal "an easy life," but rather "a home in heaven."

But it's hard to focus on God's promises when you're afraid.  I keep coming back to that image of Peter walking on the water just fine as long as he focuses on Jesus, but as soon as he looks at the scary world around him, fear pushes its way to the forefront and he starts to sink.  But remember how that story ends?  Peter doesn't think, "Oh, crap, I am sinking, guess I'll drown."  He cries out to Jesus for help.  Jesus instantly helps.

I've done a lot of crying out to the Lord for help.  For mental and emotional calm.  This morning, I searched my heart and mind to figure out exactly what is bothering me the most about the recent events.  And I realized that it comes down to two of the things that I have struggled with all my life: change and uncertainty about what happens next.  Lack of a plan.  Lack of control.

I hate change.  I get things the way I like them, and I want them to stay that way even if change would make things better.  I like having a plan.  Even if the plan has to get revised, I like having it.  Plans make me feel secure.  I like being the one to make the plan, especially, because I want control.  Control makes me feel safe.

Hey, guess what?  I have never been in control of my life.  Ever.  I can delude myself that I have been, and I've done a great job of that.  But none of us is promised tomorrow.  None of us is promised the next minute.  God says he knows the plans that HE HAS for us.  Not the plans we have for ourselves.  Not the plans we want to make.  Not the plans we've already made and are really looking forward to.  His plans.

And once I faced that, once I prayed to God and said, "Lord, take my fear of change and my enthusiasm for control, and replace them with trust in you," you know what happened?

I smiled.  And then, I laughed.

And part of Proverbs 31:25 came into my mind:

She laughs without fear of the future.

And I realized, this was it!  This was the sinful source of my fear and doubt and anxiety and anguish.  Me holding onto my desire to control them and freaking out because I can't control what's happening. And once I repented of that, there was room for more of God's peace that passes all understanding.

Christ's words in John 16:33 has been on my mind and heart a lot these last couple weeks, so I'll leave you with them:

"In the world, you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world."

(HAVE overcome.  Past tense.  Done; finished; accomplished.  The end.)

35 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post about what's going on in the world. I know I've had many of the same feelings, and your post spoke to my heart. I'm so thankful that I have a strong daughter who helps me many times when I'm in need of it.

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    1. Thanks, Mom! I owe a lot to you and Dad for teaching me to memorize Scripture and take everything to the Lord in prayer <3

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  2. So encouraging! Thank you for sharing. <3

    I feel like the book of Acts should be required reading for every believer these days. It's challenging, convicting, inspiring, encouraging, and entertaining all in one. Especially right now.

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    1. Eva, I'm glad it encouraged you! That was my hope :-)

      That's a good idea! I may jump over to Acts from Ecclesiastes.

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  3. I needed this, I've been drowning in anxiety but also praying a lot.
    Thanks for the encouragement. <3

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    1. Skye, you're welcome, then! I can well believe your anxiety has ramped up over recent events, even though you aren't living in the US!

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  4. Good post.

    I deal with my anxiety about 'what is happening' by ignoring as much of it as possible. My reasoning is I cannot do anything about it, so I may as well not drench myself in it. I can stay informed, but I can also... just work on my books. And watch movies, and read novels, and have a good time. It won't fix the world, but it isn't mine to fix. I can do my part. The rest, I have to trust to God.

    Censoring Christian views has been on my mind lately. I do wonder how long it is before YouTube starts deleting Christian YouTubers, and various blogging sites start un-hosting anyone with "moral opinions." If that happens, it will be sad. But not entirely unexpected. And there will be push-back, and other opportunities arise. All we can do is pray and keep the peace.

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    1. Charity, I do that most of the time too. My husband filters the news for me, and lets me know when there's something going on I need to know about. I've largely dropped off Facebook because of all the partisan hollering that goes on there. That doesn't work when stuff is so prominent that people talk about it on Bookstagram or the blogs I read, though. But it does help a lot.

      Christian YouTube channels already don't show up in searches a lot of time, both in YouTube and Google. Anything anti-abortion gets harder and harder to find.

      Prayer is such a powerful weapon, and can bring peace in so many ways.

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    2. It really feels like... politics are shoved down your throat no matter where you go. It's seeping into everything, and most websites, and I'm not a huge fan of it, so I tune it out as much as I can. I think politics is the new religion for a lot of people and they will fight to protect it and over-focus on it as a result. But... the only comfort in this life is found in God.

      Well, that's a shame. I hope they don't wind up censoring The Chosen, the crowd-funded Jesus Project. It's a true blessing in these times.

      BTW, I don't know if James Heriot is your jam, but PBS just started showing their new series based on his wonderful books, All Creatures Great and Small... and I can already tell it's going to be a peaceful, sweet, virtuous balm in my life for the next 6 weeks. I think you can stream the first episode on Masterpiece Theatre's website or through their TV app.

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    3. Charity, yes. And right now, it IS a big deal, because stuff is happening that is affecting our lives. But I'm very sick of it. You're absolutely right -- politics IS a religion for a lot of people now, which is so sad and getting scary.

      I just ordered season 1 of The Chosen on DVD because I haven't seen it yet.

      I love James Herriot's books a lot, so I've been wondering if the new show was any good. Glad to hear it is! I'll see if I can watch the first ep online. Thanks!

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    4. Aww, I hope The Chosen is a blessing for you. It was really good for us to watch it around Easter last year, when the pandemic was really kicking into high gear. It made us all feel... safe, like it was going to be all right.

      The series is different from the books in the sense that there is no voice-over, so there's no replacing James' narrative voice as in the novels. But... the show is charming, the characters are memorable and comical, and I really enjoyed the first episode. I have PBS Passport, and I guess I could binge them all, but I kind of don't want to. It's fun waiting for new episodes...

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    5. Charity, that sounds like a good time to watch it! Perhaps I'll save it for then.

      Maybe it's good that they didn't try to replicate James Herriot's voice, unless they just used his actual words? Hoping to try it out this week. So much new TV to watch right now, since Wandavision just bowed too.

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    6. I went ahead and watched them all and I really loved it. It's down to earth, charming, sweet, funny, and weepy. The episodes are longer than WandaVision, too. (Those are 25 minute ones, I think?) So, hope you enjoy it.

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    7. Charity, I will definitely seek them ou!

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  5. This is so beautiful, Rachel. That has to be one of my favorite Bible verses. :)

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    1. Thanks, Megan! It's become a favorite of mine too, and is dearer to me than ever now.

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  6. I've been having a lot of emotional burn out lately, too. I've been taking more time to spend with God which is a blessing. Thank you for sharing your hopeful thoughts. <3

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    1. MC, I'm glad they helped you! Spending more time in the Word and in prayer is the best way to combat the burn-out.

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  7. Thanks for sharing your post; glad you've found some peace. :) I have lots of thoughts re: social media, and I do think we should care about the influence that is "big tech."

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    1. Rissi, I think anyone who thinks that "big tech" is going to just stop pushing their weight around now is in for a rude shock. I keep reminding myself that the internet is not the real world, and that helps too.

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! No matter what happens God is in Control! Once we realize and accept that we CAN "laugh without fear of the future"!

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  9. I love this post! I've been very anxious about all that's happening, but praying definitely helps. And I love that Bible verse. So encouraging.

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    1. Thank you, McKayla! Anxiety is understandable, and I'm glad you've found prayer and Scripture to help you too.

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    2. I think music can help people a lot too. May I ask what kind of music do you like the best? I like country music the best but not the really loud kind. I like TOBY KEITH, VINCE GILL, RICKY VAN SHELTON (he's retired), JOHN BERRY, and T. GRAHAM BROWN to name a few. Also TRISHA YEARWOOD, PATTY LOVELESS and MARTINA MCBRIDE. Some of the deceased singers I like are CONWAY TWITTY, GEORGE JONES and a woman who recently died-K.T. OSLIN. She is known for 80s LADIES. She was one of a kind. They say music can be a healer. By the way, Vince Gill had a song called GO REST HIGH ON THAT MOUNTAIN and T. GRAHAM BROWN had a song called WINE INTO WATER. Ricky Van Shelton had a song called KEEP IT BETWEEN THE LINES. All three of these songs had spiritual themes. CLASSIC TV FAN. P.S. I remember that you really like BOBBY DARIN.

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    3. Classic TV fan, yes, music can help soothe and center you. I'm not a big fan of country music, but my kids and I have started really liking Caroline Jones, especially her song "Rise." But Bobby Darin remains more my style.

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  10. I've decided to cut down my social media, blogging, anything to do with the news to Saturday only by using website blockers and app blockers. And possibly the CDC since I tend to check that obsessively when I feel I have to fact check everything. Unfortunately I work at a newspaper office and I'm trying to figure out how to move on from that. Other jobs I worked at I still heard tons of politics. I mean people there is a reason that those are one of the "taboo" topics traditionally, its so unprofessional and crazymaking! No one is going to be convinced by twitter shallow snark and jargon which the only level most people in real life and on social media can talk, it only drives people crazy.

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    1. Livia Rachelle, that seems wise. I can imagine that working at a newspaper would make it hard to avoid news, though!

      As Charity said above, it seems like politics is now a religion for a lot of people. It's annoying how much proselytizing they try to do.

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  11. I think we're all facing a lot of anxiety right now, even if we're anxious for different reasons -- and turning off the voices of our friends, family, churches, political parties, news anchors, and media sources so that we can flee to the foot of God and pray for peace and guidance is one of the best things we can do, sometimes. Glad you've been finding comfort!

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    1. Olivia, yes -- I think we've all been anxious for almost a year now, and so each new thing that assaults us just hurts even more than it would have if we hadn't been getting punched for so long.

      I actually read this really good article about that very experience, which I found helpful/validating.

      And yes, fleeing to God is the best response at all times. Especially now.

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  12. This was a very relatable post. I don't even live in the USA but I still feel a lot of the intention even in Australia. There's been a lot to take in the past few months and weeks, and it's so true; we need not fear the future, because God is still in control.

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    1. *but I still feel a lot of the tension

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    2. Thank you, Gabby. It's been a lot to deal with, all over the world, for sure! We have to just keep clinging to God and trusting him to hold us.

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  13. Great post, Hamelette! This is what we all need to focus on right now! Thank you for reminding us!

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