One thing we often fail to associate with anxiety is how dang loud it is. Different than the loudness of the washing machine as it rumbles in the middle of the night when you forget to wash your kids field trip shirt. Or the barking of the dogs that wakes you up out of a profound deep sleep. (Although these are two of the most annoying noises I can think of). I’m talking about the endless chatter that takes place inside those of us who worry. Who over think. Who crowd everything that belongs in present out with endless troublesome chatter about the past and future. Those of us with anxiety.
As I read Zephaniah today, pondering this internal banter and looking for answers about how to turn down the volume, I came across this verse…
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
It’s a verse I am familiar with. One that makes me smile often. But I thought of it differently today…in particular the part where it says he will quiet you with his love.
Because when I look at my own anxiety – it often takes different forms and I experience it in different ways – but at the center of it all swirls a few nagging questions – Am I loved? Am I good enough? Will people see my vulnerabilities/failures/mistakes and decide they don’t want or need me?
So I look for reassurance. Or more of something. One more person to tell me I did a great job. One more accomplishment. One more great session. One more like on Facebook. One more spin on the achievement merry go round. Maybe this last turn won’t leave me dizzy and instead will allow me to finally hand down the verdict that I am indeed “okay”. But it never happens. The cup may temporarily fill, but it quickly drains and begs for more.
But Jesus…He wants to do this quiet thing. He wants to still me with His love.
Why? Maybe He knows I’m not perfect…even when I drown myself in internal expectations that say I have to be. Maybe He wants me to rest in being known rather than running after something I have to earn. Maybe that’s why salvation and unconditional love are a free gift? He meant them to be enjoyed in the still and quiet moments rather than constantly sought after by fallible souls surrounded with flesh.
And so this Sunday rolls over me like Sunday’s often do. Getting ready for the week where I will spend much of my time tending to an internal back and forth. Did you do enough today? Did you make too many mistakes? Will people love you? What will they think? Judging action after action and phrase after phrase. Trying to surmise if I will prove myself worthy of love or affection. But this Sunday I am more cognizant of the fact that I have a choice. The remote control is inside of me and if I choose to attend to God’s voice who says I am already enough, I might be a little less exhausted. I might find peace. And so might you.