Doubt and the Clouds of Doom

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:4-8

Doubt is destructive. It makes a person unstable and indecisive. It can lock you into a cycle of depression and feelings of inability. Doubt is anti-faith. Just like it’s ugly cousin anxiety, doubt can keep you chained up and numb to the good things you have been blessed with. 

On a recent trip to the “big city” (everything is big compared to Cloudcroft) my sinful tendency to doubt was thrown right in my face. The transmission on our truck began to act up and lights on the dash began flashing. Immediately my mind went to the worst possible scenarios. To my mind, there was no way the situation was going to work out well. What had been a fine day quickly became grumpiness and gloom. 

Indecisiveness is deadly. A few weeks back a rabbit darted in the road in front of us, made it across our lane, and changed its mind halfway through the other. It turned just in time to catch our rear dual. If that bunny had just committed to its choice to cross the road, rather than doubting its chances, we would not have been checking the dual for bunny that afternoon. 

We can all find ourselves like that bunny. If you find yourself running around indecisive and wishy-washy, you might want to ask yourself if you are doubting God’s Providence. 

God will not leave us lacking in anything, if we ask in faith. He won’t give us all of our wants but He promises to provide His child with all of their needs. Doubting this promise can lead us to stop asking Him for our needs altogether. And when we stop asking, we tend to go adrift. 

Don’t be a dead bunny, kill the doubt in your life before it kills you. 

The Adventure….Doesn’t Begin

Today was supposed to mark the beginning of our adventure to New Mexico. Of course, thanks to a snafu by the car dealer, our title has not been sent from VA to NM. So we are stuck in a holding pattern for the foreseeable future.

Which is fine.

This is fine
How I really feel

We are way behind on packing and cleaning, and it gives me time to do my new favorite pastime: driving Uber.

For a total of four nights now, I’ve driven around town and picked up people from all walks of life. Some are chatty, some are eerily quiet, most are somewhere in between. Some are drunk, some are just trying to get to or from work. I feel a bit like I am playing GTA in real life, picking up random people in random places and dropping them off in other random places, then watching the money counter scroll upwards. For an extrovert like me, this has been a pretty cool job.

I’m glad to have a little job to do, it distracts from the craziness of trying to get this show on the road. As if I didn’t have enough anxiety already, add a deadline and a really long drive and I’m getting crazy not being on the road. I made it to Arizona in three days last year. If it comes down to it, I can probably make NM in two…

I’ll keep you posted.

Anxiety: The Contentment Killer

Self-imposed (Acrylic on paper) 2016

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV) 

Anxiety sucks. Thanks (but no thanks) to anxiety, most of the normally joy inducing events in my life have been reduced to numbness or paralyzing worry. Every bit of good news is given a caveat by my brain. Not much really makes me happy or excited. 

I don’t share this part of me much. I call it my douche-bag brain. It’s the part of my brain that whispers “I want to die” first thing in the morning. It’s the part of my brain that refuses to enjoy experiences because it tells me there are others who may not be enjoying the same things. It’s the part of my brain that won’t accept good news because it assumes that something horrible is going to happen. There is no such thing as good news, there’s always a catch. 

Very rarely do I ever exhibit outward signs of this anxiety. I’ve perfected my poker face and cool demeanor. But while my outside is calm, my inside is racing through every possible contingency and assuming 95% of them are doomed to some variety of failure. 

Now, for my chosen career this can be somewhat helpful. Having a good situational awareness is key to safe firefighting. Having the ability to process large amounts of data and creating contingencies for many outcomes is great to ensure everyone gets out alive. But in everyday living this pattern of thinking can be very exhausting and thoroughly fry one’s brain. 

Unfortunately (fortunately?) for me my brain has developed tactics for dealing with this issue of burnout. I go numb. I no longer get get excited for anything. I no longer get torn up by bad news. Every bit of information is taken in with the same bit of “meh”. Food, drink, and even sex is not as enjoyable since even the physical data gets a filter. 

This year I have resolved to be more content. But that contentment won’t come if I am anxious. Contentment is not numbness or limp acceptance of one’s circumstances. Contentment is a peaceful understanding that one’s circumstances are exactly where one is Providentially supposed to be. Contentment is joy (not happiness happiness necessarily, they are two different things) in all circumstances good and bad. 

Numbness is not joy. If I am to be content I must fight my brain for control of my responses. I must learn to respond to data and not merely react. I must learn to take every errant thought captive and submit it to intense scrutiny and correction. I must train my brain to accept physical pleasures as good gifts of God. I must learn to get excited again about good news and truly mourn for the bad. 

Now, if my brain would not add “stop being anxious” to the list of things to be anxious about, I probably would be able to get rid of it. For now, it’s just going to be prayer and supplication. So far that has seemed to work out for me. God does provide. The more I trust Him, the more He has provided. 

Anxiety sucks, but the more I live, the more I’m proved how wrong it is. DB brain may be a loudmouth jerk, but he’s also a liar . I know that all will work out. I know that eventually, despite what my anxiety says, life does tend to find a way to proceed without too much complete failure. Every day is a test of my will to kill this. I intend to win.