Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I Got This.

I tucked two Xanax inside a tiny zipper pouch and stuck it in my purse. I couldn't take the whole bottle because, well, they weren't mine. I just happen to know someone who graciously (and illegally) agreed to help me ease my flight anxiety. Just before boarding the plane to San Diego, I ducked inside a bathroom at Midway Airport to stifle the panic. I pulled the coin pouch from my purse but as I dumped the pills into my hand, somehow both of them hit the floor. The wet, dirty, public bathroom floor.

I turned around but the space behind me was empty. I wasn't surprised. I've been known to be rather clumsy and it's quite possible that I'm just that much of a klutz. Even though there was no one around, I wasn't desperate enough to retrieve the pills from the floor. I turned to leave the restroom, but instead of melting down into an all-out panic attack, I laughed a little as I pictured God's message in that moment:

Seriously, Lisa? Just get on the plane. Trust me. I got this.

It really is a silly fear. I felt silly packing Xanax to begin with. I felt silly Googling "the odds of dying in a plane crash" the day before my flight. And I felt silly adding "would have to fly" to my list of reasons not to go to the wedding.

It's ok. He's got this.

I returned to my seat at the gate and offered up my fear. The flight to San Diego was smooth and easy, and I was proud of myself for "letting it go and letting God," as they say. I knew He would come through for me, and He did.

I had a blast at the wedding and enjoyed a much-needed break from the demands of full-time motherhood. The bride has been one of my closest friends since middle school, and I couldn't imagine having been anywhere else on her wedding day. Her husband is from Malaysia, and I found so much beauty in God's ability to unite two people who were born and raised over 14,000 miles apart.

When I witness such amazing examples of His work, I feel silly for not trusting Him with my silly fears. Totally absorbed in the happiness of the day, I looked out at the ocean and breathed in deep gratitude, awe, and joy.

He's got this. He's got all of this.

The following evening, I sat at Gate 1 at the San Diego airport. My thoughts didn't even wander toward the now-empty zipper pouch in my purse. I boarded the plane without any fear.

He's got this.

An hour into the nearly four hour flight, the air got bumpy. In my heightened sensitivity, every little jolt felt like a 10,000 foot dive. I tightened my seat belt and gripped the arm rest. Just minutes after lighting the "fasten seat belt" sign, the crew announced that they would also be taking their seats and that call buttons should only be pressed in the case of a medical emergency.

Almost instantly, my trust and awe dissolved into worry and anger.

Really, God? I thought You had this.

Isn't that the way it works for most of us? It's easy to be thankful for joyful moments. It's easy to have faith when things are smooth. It's easy to feel blessed when life is good. The real tests of faith come in difficult moments, when things are hard, and when life is challenging.

On the flight home, I was acutely aware of the difference in my attitude on a smooth flight compared to a bumpy one. It looked a lot like the difference in my attitude on an easy day compared to a difficult one.

Sometimes I feel guilty in my weak moments because too often I hear that worry and anxiety imply a lack of faith or a lack of trust in God's plan. But I don't think it's the worry and fear themselves that are a cause for guilt. It's our response to that worry. It's whether we choose to wallow in fearful anger or to humbly accept God's curve balls and to find strength in our suffering to turn toward Him rather than away.

Choosing the latter, I clicked the button on my Kindle and selected The Bible from my reading list. Among the first passages I read was:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 

It's definitely harder to keep our eyes toward God in the midst of life's turbulence. Uncertainty, adversity, worry, and fear give rise to doubts about His plan and the intentions behind it. But if we can find a way to listen, He will find a way to say...

Trust me. I got this.

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