Uncertain, Unsure, Unreal God.
"Anxiety comes from having a God that's too small and might not be that good."
Its something we're all acquainted with, something that's hits us like a train from time to time and something that can be as light as butterflies in the stomach before a job interview. It can be as crippling as not being able to get out of bed because you keep running every scenario in your head about all the things that could harm your children. Having no children I can't quite connect with the latter, but I can connect with the light and debilitating sensations that anxiety brings to us as humans. "what if..." "how do I..." "what do I do if..." We all create things in our heads for one reason or another, rational or otherwise, legitimate or not. But if theres anything I've begun to grasp in my personal struggle with anxiety its that its a symptom of a view that has God being too small and weak and us being way too powerful.
Personally, I don't worry about money. Ive never really stressed about money cuz for some reason I just understand that The Lord is going to provide my needs. He's good enough towards me to keep me from starving, from being without shelter (for long anyway) and even if i'm out on the streets with nothing I'm protected, safe, and am going to be provided for. And not just provided for but provided according to His riches in glory. God goes with me into the streets. And into the streets I go as his son. He goes with me couch surfing. He goes with me apartment hunting, and house hunting. He goes with me into the job market because he has control over it and gives me favor because I'm his son. He's big enough and good enough to keep me from being hurt, to keep me safe. He won't let me die.
That being said I think everyone has that thing that they connect with that they don't stress over. Money, kids, relationships, decisions, material things, investments, time management, work, business, whatever it is God has given us a special grace to trust him with the things that matter to us in one way or another.
And then there's the thing....that one thing. That one thing that, right now, is a weight. Its a constant struggle to give up, to let go of, to keep it in our heads that God is still in control. That one thing that has been under our control (or at least its seemed that way) for a long time and its just become apparent that it needs to be surrendered. Or maybe its been a struggle to trust God with it for a long time. For me It's making decisions. Recently its been shown to me that I have trouble seeing who Jesus is in the beginning, middle and end of major decisions. I struggle so much with making decisions because in my head every decision is life or death. Every decision is the decision between a good future and destruction, between becoming better or becoming worse, between happiness and satisfaction or despair and disappointment. And recently I've grown to understand why that is. My God became too small for my world and my world became too big for me. So one of two things needed to happen. Either God gets bigger or I get crushed under the weight of my own self created future, fears, and downfalls. And since God is always bigger He will never let me be crushed. This is the control that God has that I hadn't seen before. God is in control (Spoiler alert: I'm gonna be saying this a lot because its the answer).
We all need to know just how much control God has. I know that for me I become most anxious when I feel out of control of something. The hamster wheel starts turning when I see something and the enemy whispers in my ear "if you don't get that under control, your life is going to fall apart." And I start to stress about how I'm going to control this behavior, that thought, that tendency etc. But that lie says one thing and no matter the circumstance or the issue it comes down to one bigger lie that isn't expressly heard: "God isn't in control of this. God isn't good and is going to let you go if you don't get a hold of this. God won't control this and is expecting you to have it together". Control. Anxiety is a symptom of an attempt to control something bigger than us that we can't, aren't powerful enough to, or can't will ourselves to. In the words of Ron Carpenter "anxiety is a down payment on something you will never have". The truth is that God is truly in control, but not only that, he's gone ahead of us into the situation we're trying to control and already has the map, compass and steps mapped. Our only part is to step into it knowing that he has our back and has taken every precaution to set us up for success. Holy Spirit can't be our guide if he hasn't been where he's guiding us. Sometimes we think we have so much power, that God doesn't have power over this or that area, or won't do good for us, leading to perfectionism and control issues out of fear, low self esteem for not meeting the expectations in our own heads and being stuck in ruts of self defeating thoughts and behaviors.
HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD?
This is a question we all need to ask ourselves. When we begin to stress about anything, or nothing, its a sign of a couple things: the need to control, uncertainty, unsureness, and a small weak God who doesn't care enough or isn't powerful enough to use our decision, our circumstance, or our mistakes and failures to bring us even higher and to our ultimate purpose. We throw around verses like romans 8:28 "for we know that he causes all things to work together for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose". But I want to take a second and say that the only way we can truly believe that is if we know who Jesus is. How big is your God? Is he big enough to be there, to be trustworthy, and be working good in your miscarriage? In your decision to move out of state? Did he see this coming and did God go ahead of you and made every precaution, preparation, and predetermination that would keep you safe? If he allows something to come upon you then he has every step, every issue, every emotion you'd have, every question you'd ask, every turn or decision you'd make in the midst of it all planned and accounted for. He's a big boy and isn't hurt by your frustration, isn't taken aback by your questions. He actually is trustworthy.
1 Big God Moment of the Week
I want to tell you a story of a girl I met. Caitlin and I met at an audition in sunriver oregon. We both had decided to respond to the Facebook ad that popped up in our feed and shared a table for filling out forms. As we started talking we realized we had made a friend and stuck close because we were both in a new place and we realized God had set that up for our comfort so we wouldn't be so nervous in front of the judges. But there was more. She began to tell me her story and as she spoke, a powerful testimony of the love of Jesus emerged. She told me how she loved helping raise her previous boyfriends children and how she missed them and desired children of her own but had miscarried twice due to her size and health. What do you say when someone drops something so real and close in your lap? I kept listening, having no idea that such a painful thing could have been behind such a gentle soul. She went on to tell about how she was livid with God after that. Absolutely angry. "It was the most painful experience of my life. But looking back and coming through it I realize why he let it happen. I wanted to be a mother so bad but the person I was with and the relationships I had been in would've been complete disasters, so God was like 'I know you're going to be mad at me for awhile but just trust me this is what's best'" What a wonderful heart and way to look at things. And a counter intuitive way to look at tragedy in any other mindset accept with Jesus. Choosing to see that God was saving her from a pattern of destruction instead of hurting her by taking her baby. And she looks at her new relationship with her boyfriend Aaron with hope and excitement instead of dread over what might happen. He loves us enough to give us hope. I was very blessed to meet her that day because it gave me new insight into something I had lost touch with. "God is big. God is good. God will not hurt me in order to help me." How much could we be at rest if we understood that God isn't weak, isn't a child abuser, isn't human, but is good and strong and mighty to save?
God Controls the Outcome and the Future (The Big God and the Good God)
What we journey through is the daily struggle to give up trying to control our future, to ensure our happiness and to keep our choices right. "If I don't make the right choices i'll get hurt" is a painful and crippling mindset that a lot of us deal with on a daily basis. But this is where our vision of God needs to get a little bigger. God isn't standing on the sidelines just passively watching you go through life, waiting for you to reach the edge of the water and yank on your chain to pull you back. He's intimately involved in your daily activities, he cares about you. But we think that if we don't make the right choices, if we don't cover every base, if we don't have a backup plan then we'll be left naked and alone in the dark. To reiterate, this brings rise to perfectionism and religiousness. But the God that's good enough to cover every base for you, hem you in under lock and key, and give you ultimate protection from all that would destroy you is a God that silences fear with love and goodness. When we learn that God is way more good, way more loving, and way more for us than we have imagined thus far, it silences anxiety.
With the Call Comes the Anointing (The Good God)
With the call, with the choice, and with the circumstance always comes God's provision, anointing and special grace to accomplish the task. Our biggest struggle is trusting Him that He knows best. In our physical lives maybe we've encountered people who hurt us, who put human error on love and abused our trust, shamed us for not knowing the answers, or we made a decision to control a certain aspect of our lives like a rape victim vowing to "never be vulnerable again". Those circumstances and happenings leave us vying for control in a world that we can have very little control in. And that leaves us gasping for breath and walking in circles. But God promises that when he calls us, opens us up, brings something to the table, that its never from a place of pain, accusation or hurt. Its always to reveal to us that attempting to control things that are beyond our control, and fear of pain will ultimately drive us mad or drive us to our knees. God gave gideon the words, the plans, and the moves to become the mighty warrior he was. God even called him mighty warrior when he was hiding in a winepress from his enemies. But when we try and control the outcome, try and figure it out, try and bring about our own future its a weight that's too great for us. Only God is big enough to send you where you are supposed to go.
The Need to Control is a Fallen Reflection of a Godly Characteristic in Us.
We were created in the image of God. He made us like him: creative, fun loving, responsible, loving, feeling, thinking. But there are other aspects that we don't think of. God is in control of everything. Therefore he has to be in control of everything otherwise he ceases to be God. When we become the gods of our own worlds stresses and cares burden us because we're not strong enough to control the whole entirety of existence. Only God can be in and maintain that control, but its something we can fall into because we're created in the image of God and fallen in a sinful world. So the next time you're struggling with fear, remember that you're not God and you're not powerful enough to control the outcome, God is big enough and good enough to not let you get hurt, and he's going to give you the best because he loves you enough to do that. He's not human that he would give sucky gifts or leave you alone. He's not so weak to be hogtied by your decisions or circumstances. He's in control. And knowing Him brings peace because then you know who you are.
John, who lived in the lifestyle for 30 years and returned to Christ full force, and Brandon, a 21 year old straight man also in love with the Lord Jesus. A team of two brought together by God to act as one. One gay one straight both in loving relationship with Christ.