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  • Katie Smith

Anxiety Tool

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

A christian husband leaves his wife and daughters for another life that he "deserves." A child goes to youth group every week, but she struggles with her gender identity, the gender she was "supposed" to have. A christian couple raises a son together who grows to be a murderer because he "knows" who deserves death. A pastor slanders another pastor on social media in the name of "condemning sin."

These are just a few of the updates I received from friends this past week.

Yet all these professed Christians have same Lord, who said, "I did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it." Save it He did, but more than that, He served it well. He led through service. Despite being spat upon, smacked, and slandered, He continued to love and serve through suffering and dying.

My personal manuscript was recently taken on as a publishing project, and while this is both humbling and exciting, the point of the book is not to become an author, but to be a tool God uses to draw people to perfect peace in the midst of a broken and chaotic world.

Just like my writings on Carefully Careless, I'd love to help others lead lives that are peaceful in the midst of chaos, something I am all too familiar with myself. There is little we can control in life, and there is little we fully understand, but there are many, many simple choices that we control every day in order to escape the trappings of anxiety and fear.

One of those tools I discuss in the book, Antidote to Anxiety: a road to fearless faith, is the tool of service. When we are seeking to serve others well, there isn't time to think about our own frets or fears. Unfortunately, our culture seeks to serve itself and echoes that we should do the same. We "deserve" to fight for our "rights." However, our western culture doesn't grasp the concept of "rightlessness."

There was a syrophoenician woman begging for healing even after Jesus tells her no, because she doesn't deserve such a healing due to her lineage. Still, she asserts that even "dogs eat crumbs fallen off the table." New York pastor, author, and theologian, Tim Keller, explains "rightlessness" this way: "This is rightless assertiveness, something we know little about. [This woman] is not saying, 'Lord, give me what I deserve on the basis of my goodness.' She’s saying, 'Give me what I don’t deserve on the basis of your goodness—and I need it now.'”

Keller further explains that this woman doesn't take offensive to Jesus' initial denial, nor does she disrespect His authority. Rather, she boldly and respectfully wrestles with Him on the basis of His perfect goodness and grace. He knows how to serve us, even though none of us deserves eternal life.

We may need to wrestle with God like that woman did, or like Jacob or Joseph did when life is not "fair." But we should wrestle with our "wrongness" first.

Many people want to "serve" or help, but time and treasures for the things of this world take us away from serving others. Another one of my favorite pastors, Carlos Sibley, put it this way "we let the cares of the world crowd out our concern for others." We may call ourselves Christians, especially at Easter time, but there is an enemy fighting against us, and we are in a battle with self and serving. If we don't commit to serve others, we'll end up serving ourselves in selfish frustration.

Perfect selflessness does not exist in this life, but that doesn't mean we should stop "taking up our cross” and pursuing the attempt. We should strive to be led by the Spirit and give up our time, our schedule, and our plan, in order to truly find joy in serving; only then does our life look like joy rather than begrudging frustration or self-righteous angst. If a person has never met Jesus though, this feat is impossible, and he/she will only end up serving him/herself and showing everyone around how to do the same. Love requires sacrifice, but God's love required the ultimate sacrifice, which in turn gives us life abundantly.

-Carefully Careless Tool

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