word of the year: safe
Ask me where the exits are, in any given room, and I can tell you.
I can tell you the quickest way out of a place, the steps I would take if danger was between me and my kids, how I’d get off the highway if a vehicle came careening at me, where the first-aid kit is and what steps I’d take in case of [insert injury here]. I am not gloomy to be around, but I have got the worst case scenario on a ticker tape in my brain. I’m your girl in a crisis.
I am a six on the enneagram. I’m a great troubleshooter, I’m calm in an emergency, I can foresee problems with your plan, I am committed and trustworthy. But I’m also plagued with self-doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, and am chronically suspicious. At my worst, I’m defiant, fearful, and reactive. At my best, I’m courageous and can champion others and myself to do good and hard things.
Being a six is to be a walking (but charming!) contradiction. I’m a study in opposites. As a six, my primary fear is to be without safety and security, lacking the support and guidance I feel I need to move through life. Left unchecked, I will go through my days trying to build a safe environment, rather than deal with my emotional insecurities in the presence of Jesus.
As a Christian, I can tell you the whole slew of verses you will remind me of, when you tell me to “not be anxious about anything” and “not to worry about tomorrow”. I KNOW WHAT THEY SAY, you non-fearful types. I also know that because of my unique makeup, making a choice to “not worry” is definitively harder for me than it is for others. I have practiced all the methods and worked to memorize the verses and prayers, because I’d love to not feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop in any given circumstance. I’d love to be like “I’m not sure where the exit is - let’s go party!”
I’m beginning to embrace the idea that I don’t have to somehow conquer my worry or fear and force myself to think or feel differently. Since my “thinker” and my “feeler” are often merely responding to various external stimuli, I really don’t have to expend my energy micromanaging their responses. What I have to do is make a choice for faith, make a choice to believe God, even if my worrier doesn’t quit worrying.
My word for 2019 is safe.
Not because I think I can talk myself into being safe or that I can pursue and secure an existence free from harm or hurt. But because I need to practice using my “chooser” and exercising belief that I dwell in the unshakeable kingdom of God.
Artist and blogger Mary Dean wrote recently:
Because I'm a news scroller, I know lots of ways that people and kids die. Then there's global warming and the threat of nuclear war. I've gardened enough to know that my family would not survive some post-apocalyptic nightmare world if we were forced to feed ourselves off the random vegetable I coax out of the dirt.
Jesus doesn't tell me not to worry because it's cute and He's naive. He doesn't pipe in with pious sayings as we pat him on the head and say, "That's nice, Jesus."
No. He's laid out a way for us to build our lives on the rock of His teaching (Matthew 8:24-27). Peace is possible in a walking, working, growing relationship with Him--the one who hold all things together (Colossians 1:17).
This hit me right in the thinker.
Jesus isn’t suggesting that I not worry because He is naive or unaware of the world I live in. He is telling me I do not have to worry because I am safe in Him.
Safety, then, becomes about more than avoiding physical harm or emotional grief. Safety becomes about pursuing the things of God, walking in the way of peace, cultivating a mind that chooses to dwell on the sufficiency of Christ IN ALL THINGS — even if “all things” turns into my worst fears.
One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes is about the difficulty of trusting God in the midst of heartache.
The Welcoming Prayer, a practice often attributed to Fr Thomas Keating, includes a line of prayer about “letting go of my agenda for security and safety”, choosing instead to rest in the abundance I have, because of Christ. This is my intention for 2019 — for being safe. Choosing to let go of my agenda, my desire to manipulate and guard and control, in pursuit of my own security. Because positionally I dwell in the unshakeable kingdom of God, I want to welcome whatever emotion of fear or anxiousness as it arises, knowing that I am secure in the family of God.