Last week I left my baby girl, Mea, in the car. I was rushing from school to practice and my schedule was jam packed. I turned off the engine, tossed my keys in my purse, shut the door, and was annoyed that my big kids weren’t hustling. I had one foot inside the supermarket when I turned around to see my nine-year-old son carrying my baby girl. I gasped. Had it not been for his attentiveness, Mea would be hot and screaming in the car while I was inside buying chips and milk. I was that mom. The one too overwhelmed, stressed out, and busy to see my kids. I was that mom too focused on my list, schedule, and what other people would think of me if I were late. Fear was driving me, not love.
I’ve spent most of my life with an undercurrent of anxiety. What do people think? How can I get people to like me? Fear is a feeling I am very much familiar with. I am a people reader. I read their body language, eye movement, and smirks. When I meet a stranger, I try to figure them out before they speak. I don’t just try to know them, I feel them. I’ve lived by my sixth sense of reading people my entire life. In fact, I’ve become dependent upon it. You see, if I can read your needs, desires, and expectations, I can try to meet them. I can be the hero.
This anxious need to be liked or “have it all together” in essence is idolatry. It’s a false belief that I can be like God, becoming everything for everyone. This anxious need to be all things, in all situations, to all people drives me like an alcoholic to whiskey. I am addicted to being liked. I play the part or become the person I think people want me to be in hopes that they will love me in return.
Recently, a dear friend graciously sent me her old Apple watch. Her name is Tiffany and she’s a mom to five kids, just like me. She is courageous, lives from her gut, and is lovely, kind and unapologetic about who she is. I had the option of changing out the band to get one that was more my style, but I didn’t want too. I wanted Tiffany’s band. I wanted the band that she wrapped around her wrist every morning. Somehow, I thought it would help me channel her awesomeness (although I realize a watch can’t do that), and it was soothing to think that she was with me on this march of motherhood.
This idea of putting on something is a powerful image. Beyond a watch, I do believe God is always inviting me to put on Christ. I don’t have to put on a prettier version of myself, a mask, or an “I’ve got it all under control” attitude. I simply need to put on Christ.
Today, the temptation to perform for others will be strong. At every turn you will want to fix your mess so no one will see your mistakes. Anxiety will drive you to hurry and hide. It will tempt you to be controlling and to be controlled. It will whisper lies of failure. Instead of running from your anxiety, today, let it be your gift. Don’t push it down or away, but befriend your fear. Let it be close. Know it. Understand it. Let it be what ushers you to Jesus. Let it become what moves you to pray.
Take off your need to please or be perfect. Take off your desire for attention, praise, and affirmation. Take off the false layers you have relied on to feel secure. Take it all off, lay it down, release it. Instead, take on Christ.
Take on His compassion and care. Take on His adoration of you. May you find your greatest comfort in knowing that you are seen by Christ. He is the great reader of people, knowing the inner hunger and deepest longings of the soul. Today, put on God’s love like sleeves of new skin: strong, resilient, gracious, selfless, vulnerable, and good.
Rest in the assurance that Christ is wholly surrounding you. He goes before you, behind you, and beneath you. You not only put Christ on, but He puts you on. He carries you, like the cross, to the very end. In suffering and in want. In hope and in shame. He props you up and endures all of life’s struggles beside you.
Today, put on His love. Don’t allow fear to be your motivation. Let His love, and love alone, be what moves you.Instead of running from your anxiety, today, let it be your gift. Let it be what ushers you to Jesus. Let it become what moves you to pray. Click To Tweet