“Fear arises when we imagine everything depends on us.” Elisabeth Elliot
This quote has been haunting me lately. Whenever I notice anxiety nagging my heart and mind this quote has convicted me. Why?
I imagine almost everything depends on me…
The safety, health, and happiness of my children.
The “success” of my work in ministry.
The contentment and well-being of my husband.
If the women I disciple know God’s love more deeply.
People’s perceptions of me.
And the list goes on.
A concept I love to share is the difference between abstract and core beliefs. Abstractly, I know the Lord made the earth and everything in it. I know the sun rises and sets at his decree. Abstractly, I know I’m not in control of anything or anyone. But in my core – where I feel and function in my everyday life, I’m anxious. I clench my jaw. I imagine that all the things and people I care about depend on me.
What am I doing about this conviction? Nothing. I think the best way to cooperate with the Lord’s desire to free us from fear, anger, discontentment, and the like – is to first pay attention to how prevalent they really are. Why? Because if I don’t wait, pray, and listen I’ll default to solving things. And striving to make my fear go away is just another way of imagining that everything depends on me. Ironic, isn’t it?
As I wait however, I’m also inviting the Lord into that space. I’m asking Him to help me trust more deeply what I believe about Him abstractly. I’m asking Him to show me His protection, beauty, majesty and love. As I’m praying and pondering, I’m finding I’m focusing more on the One whom everything actually depends on. And I have a feeling that simply thinking more about Jesus is the best remedy to imagining everything depends on us in the first place.