I don’t know about you, but I struggle a great deal with anxiety. It has been a part of my life for a very long time.
One way anxiety often shows up in my life is in thoughts and anticipation of future moments. It may be a meeting I’ve been asked to lead, a project deadline I’m trying to hit, a coffee date I have scheduled with a friend, or a simple list of tasks I need to complete the following day.
No matter the future moment, large or small, anxiety begins to creep in and connect itself to my mind and body. Often without realizing it, I start shaking my leg. My shoulders tense, and my neck sets. Sometimes I start picking at my fingernails or chewing them. Often, I stop what I’m in the middle of doing and stare off into space, mulling over the future moment and imagining how it could unfold.
Do you ever experience this?
This morning, three future moments held me captive.
As each of them paraded themselves before my mind, my heart began racing and I grew short of breath. I wanted to run and hide. I didn’t know how I would possibly meet the very high expectations I’d set for myself in my mind regarding each one. Already in my mind, it was a foregone conclusion that I’d fail.
But as I spent time with God this morning, I decided to start talking with him about these future moments and my fears.
And in the midst of that conversation, almost as soon as it began, an amazing thing happened.
I realized God is already present in those moments.
When I step into that room, God is already there. When I participate in that discussion, God is there among us. When those decisions get made, God is there. When I tackle that project that’s due in a couple days, God will be there with me as I complete it each step of the way. When I juggle various commitments on my schedule the next few weeks, God has already seen them all.
As I realized this, a peaceful calm swept over me.
I could envision God in that room. I could see him presiding over that discussion and those decisions. I could see him sitting next to me as I completed that project. I could see him companioning with me as I live through these next few weeks.
He is there.
There’s something immensely comforting about that. Comforting, as well as relieving.
Are there future moments you’re struggling with right now? Have you noticed the way these future moments affect your physiological reactions in the world?
Today, as you notice those future moments and the concerns they raise inside you, I encourage you stop for a moment and pay them some attention. Hold that future moment in your mind, and then imagine God in that future moment with you. Imagine him getting there ahead of you, in fact, and holding it all in hand, aware of all that will transpire and able to hold it for you and with you.
What is it like for you to trust God’s presence in those future moments?