Three Prescriptions for Worry

April 27, 2011 | 45 comments

Three days after a Resurrection, and already I quake.

Have I so quickly forgotten the promise? Do I not recall the sound of the rolling stone, grinding out praise to release my Jesus from a dark vault? Do I not remember the cross and sacrifice?

Only three days.

I think about the Israelites, who passed through a parted sea, with Pharaoh breathing down their necks. Three days later, the rescued ones were grumbling.

I shake my head. I am one of them.  I am among the stumbling grumblers in the Desert of Shur.

This quaking has a name: worry.

My heart has been ripped open with worry. And all I can do is groan prayer. I pull a wordless S.O.S. up from the soul. I think it sounds like this: “God help us.”



PRESCRIPTION ONE: PRAYER

And here, in this groaning, I answer my own questions. No, I have not forgotten the cross or the tomb. I need the reassurance of both Good Friday and of Easter morning more than ever. I need the prescription for worry.

And I find one prescription here: in the Spirit work of prayer that starts deep, and finishes at the throne of very God.

The Bible tells me that sometimes, the groaning prayers are the very best cure of all.

“… The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” – Romans 8:26

PRESCRIPTION TWO: COMMUNITY

I walk along asphalt, glazed by rain. I wear my worry: a single tear slides down my cheek. I weave through parked cars — through spring rain — toward the classroom where I teach. I cradle the cell phone between my ear and shoulder.

I tell the friend on the phone about the worry; she helps me beat it back. And right there, rain on my back, I know that a second way to evict worry from the mind is to ask a friend to link arms with you, to remind you that daylight is coming.

By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”
– Ecclesiastes 9:12 (The Message)

PRESCRIPTION THREE: WORSHIP

“I’ve been singing away the worry,” I tell my friend on the phone. “I won’t stop singing His name.” I punch the air — the rain — with a fist.

Until there’s a break in the clouds, I’m going to keep singing, I tell her. And even then, I won’t stop.

Her voice reassures. She says it’s all good, because singing His songs helps us take captive our thoughts, making them obedient to Christ — even when the rain keeps falling.

“It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. … We use our powerful God-tools …, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5 (The Message)

If you are like me — with one foot stuck in Good Friday darkness, sick with worry — let’s race for the cross-shaped cure: prayer, community, worship.

Here’s the good news: The Doctor is in.  I know, because I just finished talking with Him.

Sharing with Ann today …

by | April 27, 2011 | 45 comments

45 Comments

  1. Sandra Heska King

    Linking arms and singing with you, my sweet friend.

    I contemplated the cross on Saturday. Just for you. You’ve seen some of the photos before. The one photo–the little one–was cropped from a storm-tossed backyard, in what was left of our pool deck. Right below it and upside down lies our grandgirl’s playhouse.

    http://sandraheskaking.com/2011/04/saturday-snaps-contemplating-the-cross/

    The cross is in the storms. And it makes the bitter sweet.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yay! Friends have come by! This was my first post on my blog, since I moved over to WordPress last night… Whew. I’m not lost in cyberspace. You found me. 🙂

      Sandy — Your cross photos are simply divine. I want to take my shoes off every time I land on SandraHeskaKing.com.

      Reply
        • dukeslee

          Oh my word. This is so fun. I can actually have a CONVERSATION over here at Getting Down With Jesus with you all!

          At Blogger, I always felt that I just sort of spoke words into the air, invited people in through the door, and they talked back in the comment box, but I never had a good way to reply. So, I felt like we were talking *at* each other. Now, I feel like we’re talking *with* one another. Yay, WordPress! Yay, Peter Pollock!

          Reply
      • PeterP

        I told you that they’d keep coming and that you wouldn’t lose all of your RSS subscribers….

        I’m glad you chose to trust me on that 🙂

        Reply
  2. Nancy

    Sometimes my heart cry is Peter’s simple prayer when he began to sink into the waves, “Lord, save me!” And, yes, I think singing is such a powerful weapon against worry (and its own kind of prayer, yes?) I love the story of King Jehoshaphat appointing singers and musicians to go before his army–and as they began to sing and praise, God set an ambush for their enemies. Powerful stuff, that praise to God!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Nancy,

      Beautiful reminder of King Jehoshaphat (say that out loud 10 times!) … Sometimes, when I can’t think what to say or pray, I just sing my prayers.

      Glad you found your way here, Nancy. This was my first post on WordPress. Did you have any trouble commenting or anything?

      Reply
      • Nancy

        No trouble at all–In fact, I didn’t even notice you’d made the switch. You’ve got mad techno wizardry skills!

        Reply
        • dukeslee

          I have practically ZERO techno wizardly skills. This is the work of the incomparable Peter Pollock.

          Reply
          • PeterP

            Hey, your techno wizardry skills are pretty great… it’s about WHO you know, not WHAT you know 🙂

  3. Lyla Lindquist

    We’ll always find you. If we don’t, we’ll come looking.

    And we’ll keep helping you beat it back.

    Love you.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I thank God for you, Lyla. You know why. Thanks for being there, even when you can’t be right here.

      Reply
  4. Julie

    Jennifer,

    Oh how I know about how this worry steals our present joy. Sometimes all we have to say is “Jesus, I need your peace”. Love how you mentioned the songs…..I do that too when things get overwhelming.

    Praying for a hedge of peace to circle you and your family.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Julie,

      Your words mean so much to me today. So simple, this prayer: “Jesus, I need your peace.”

      Shalom to you, my friend.

      Reply
  5. Angie

    I am praying and singing with you. I think it can be expected right after the Resurrection when our faith is at its highest, to be tested through fear and worry by Satan, to try to get a hold on us and make us forget the miracle of the Easter season. Praying for you with fervor.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Angie, for your prayers and for singing with me. xoxo

      Reply
  6. Christina

    I have felt the same way. The prescription is right in front of me, yet I so often forget or don’t lift my hands to take use of it. Thanks for the reminder, such a great post!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      So true, Christina. It is right there. RIGHT there! Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
    • dukeslee

      Ah yes … I love it, Elaine! Peace to you, sister. Hope you’re feeling well.

      Reply
  7. Duane Scott

    Oh, oh oh!

    Look at you.

    And me.

    I’m commenting on a wordpress site. 🙂

    -DS

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thank you for your encouragement, Duane. I really don’t think I would have attempted this without you pressing me a bit.

      We’re still working a few of the bugs out. I say “we” as if I have anything to do with working the bugs out. 🙂 It’s all Peter Pollock. All of it. What a gem of a web guy!

      Reply
      • PeterP

        Saying ‘we’ like that is known as the ‘royal we’ in England.

        The Queen almost almost refers to herself as ‘we’, meaning herself, the monarchy and anyone nearby who she wants to order around!

        Maybe you’re secretly royalty…..

        Reply
    • PeterP

      It’s so much of a better experience than blogger, isn’t it?!

      Reply
      • dukeslee

        You are a rock star, Peter Pollock! Thanks for putting up with me. You make me look good.

        Er, I mean, “us.” You make us look good. (Trying to make proper use of the “royal we,” which I use all the time with my children, by the way.)

        Reply
  8. Beth E.

    I’ve had my fair share of Good Friday darkness “muck” on my own shoes, lately…both shoes, if I’m being truthful. I do fairly well during the day, for I can push it all aside as I go about my day. However, when evening comes – and the darkness that goes with it – it is then that I need to put put 2 Corinthians 10:5 into action. What a great verse to remember. Thank you so much for this post…a message I definitely needed to hear this day.

    Hugs,
    Beth

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks Beth. You know, those verses from 2 Cor 10:5 hit me in a whole new way when reading them in the Message yesterday. So grateful that God’s Word can always fall fresh on our ears.

      Reply
  9. Linda

    What a lovely, comfortable place this is Jennifer!
    I am with you. There was a dark time in my life when I was just consumed with worry and fear (for very good reason), and I just didn’t know how to pray. I felt the Spirit whisper, “Just praise.” It is amazing what it does for the heart – to be reminded of who He is.
    I will join my heart with yours in prayer.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      “Just praise.” Yes, that’s it, Linda.

      As my friend Deidra @ JumpingTandem says, “I wanna get my praise on.”

      xoxo

      Reply
  10. Cheryl Smith

    Perfect prescriptions! I love how you used your FB notes to engage community in your time of need. And such an outpouring of love and support! 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi Cheryl … Thank you for praying for my Mom. As you suspected, that’s the source of my “worry” here. We’ve been overwhelmed by the love and support and prayer being poured out for her over on the FB note. And we can feel God’s perfect peace pushing out the worry. Your prayers are a part of that. Grateful for you, friend. …

      Reply
  11. Missie

    Good news…the Doctor is in. I totally need to remember that! Thank you!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Indeed, the Doctor is in. However, I too often try to self-diagnose, rather than visiting the Great Physician. 🙂

      Reply
  12. Deidra

    It’s this simple song that keeps me from the edge of the cliff:

    Jesus loves me, this I know.
    For the bible tells me so.
    Little ones to Him belong.
    We are weak, but He is strong…

    Singing and praying right along with you.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Deidra ~ I love that. We don’t need to complicate things with our worship, do we? The simplest of songs are perhaps the best.

      Almost every morning, I sing from my Grandmother’s hymnal. I don’t always know the tune, but I sing-pray the words.

      Reply
  13. Karen

    This 3 in 1 prescription is good great for whatever ails us…and your closing declaration…makes me shout, “GLORY!”

    Reply
  14. Tay

    Wow…this is so powerful!!! Recently, these are the worries in my life: a car accident, a friend moving, family members sick.

    I just need to treat my worries with these three prescriptions! 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Tay … That’s some big stuff. Thankfully, we belong to a God who’s even bigger. Praying for His “bigness” to be very real to you today.

      Reply
  15. LeAnn Williams

    This is my first time to read your posts and I really enjoyed your thoughts today. I liked the way you used prescriptions fo those things we need to include in our life each day.
    I have much to ponder on and I thank you for your thoughts.
    Blessings to you!
    Perhaps check out my site: Living Waters @
    http://lgwilliams.blogspot.com/

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hi LeAnn! Thanks for stopping by. It’s a pleasure to “meet” you. (Extends hand for handshake.)

      I appreciate your words here, and I’ll be over to check out Living Waters soon. Blessings!

      Reply
  16. bina

    Oh Jennifer…I needed this post SO much.

    Thank you!!

    Reply
  17. Dawn @ Dawnings

    I often find myself to be an Israelite and a Pharisee both.

    I love your winning strategy. It works every time we employ it.

    From a fellow pilgrim who often leaks worry onto my cheeks.

    Reply
  18. Jennifer@Adam's Rib

    Can I tell you that it took me years to learn #3–worship. I still falter, but with children who love to sing, I’ve experienced worship leading me away from worry, depression, and a whole slew of other woe is me thoughts. To sing in your sorry, in your worry–I have to think that worship is more fragrant to God than the worship in times of ease.

    Reply
  19. Megan Willome

    If you have to sing until it stops raining, then I guess I’ll have to sing until it starts. Which at this point, will probably be September. The front page story in this week’s paper was a farmer plowing under his field because between the drought and the fuel prices, he know he can’t bring in a crop.

    Reply

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