Monday, April 04, 2005

I’m not in any particular mood to write today. I’m consumed with job worry, money worry. I worry waaay too much but I’ve found that there’s often a good reason for it. (And, my cleaning lady is here and I’m feeling weird sitting here while she wipes down my kitchen counters.)

When I was a kid my family owned a few albums by Dallas Holm (remember him?). He had this one song that said something like ‘I’ve never seen His seed begging for bread.’ This phrase gave me comfort of a false sort. Yay, I thought. I’m His seed and since that is so, I won’t have to worry about material stuff. I’m always going to be ok. Now, being an adult, I know that’s utter crap. Like non-seeds, if I manage my money poorly, I am going to have a sucky life. So currently I’m in this panic spiral of student loan payments, taxes, bills, rent, expenses, obligations, upcoming travel…it’s overwhelming me – even though it’s only been ONE week I’ve been unemployed.

The words from the Bible that ask us to cast our care on Him sound good, don’t they? But it seems really petty to me: Dear Jesus, I have $1600 in debt. Uh, I’m worried about that. Help me land a really good job that’ll allow me to pay all that stuff off so I’ll be less worried? Wouldja do that for me? Oh, yeah, and help those folk who don’t have a home in Indonesia, while you’re at it, too. I suppose if I was living a purpose driven life or something like that I wouldn’t care that asking God for financial assistance is lame. Maybe. All those PDLs seem awfully satisfied and worry-free while I am constantly lost in the tall grass.

And asking for my worry to be taken away won’t help me either; the problem (debt) will still be there. Is prayer supposed to work like a holy dose of valium? Numb me, Lord, so I won’t see how much of a financial hole I’m in and I won’t mind it so much.

If so, I have half a tab of valium left over from a dental scrip with my name on it…


jesus chick said...

what's a PDL?

ding said...



Xpatriated Texan said...

Something that sounds good, but really doesn't give you any help is to point out that behavioral psychologists believe that worrying is simply an attempt to control things beyond your ability to control.

Valium, I would also point out, is only a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Even if you valium your way out (note how I just invented the verb: Valium) of this mess, there's another one waiting.

All this goes to say that I haven't figured out how to stop worrying either. The best I can do is to keep busy working on the things that I know makes a difference and maybe get so tired I sleep good that night.

Good luck.


ding said...

that's totally correct. i veer wildly between worry and complete nonchalance. at this moment, i'm just edging out of nonchalance (i had a good afternoon) and stepping into worry again.

luckily it's just before bed. i'll read a book, say a quick word of prayer and perhaps dream of something really great. like, world peace or something.

jesus chick said...

it's uncanny how the words to those old songs come to mind when you need them most. it's not easy to be in the midst of upheaval wondering how the next bill is going to be paid. been there. the way i look at it, everything i have, car, dishes, bed, money, books - they're all on loan from jesus. it's his car, not mine and his money, not mine. so, having used them all responsibly, and reached the end of the cash, i can "boldly come before the throne of grace and make my requests known to god". it may sound trite but i don't mean it to. i sincerely trust god to provide for me. and i'm assuming you were in a bit of a funk when you asserted that god's promise of care is "utter crap". i don't profess to know what to do with all the orphans, homeless and hungry. jesus did say that the poor we would always have among us. i can only help one person at a time. but one thing i know for sure - satan is alive and well and will beat you senseless with lies; he's got your number, he know's what makes you tick - i.e. oh sure god's seed doesn't go begging bread, what about the homeless guy on michigan avenue, where's god for him?
i've only read about 1/2 of the PDL so i don't think that makes me a true PDLer, does it? do i sound like one?
p.s. if you get lost in the tall grass. . . stay out of the tall grass.

ding said...

you know, i never liked dallas holme when i was a kid. the 2nd chapter of acts was pretty cool, though.

when i was a kid, i heard those lyrics straighforwardly - i'm a christian so nothing bad is going to happen to me.

*that's* the idea that's crap. as an adult i realize bad things happen to everyone. so i'm anxious about things right now. my worry is a real thing - even as i know it'll pass. not that there aren't days when i wish God had a personal 'in' with the department of education, you know?

but i think asking God to find a way to get rid of my debt is petty. it's treating him like he's my personal atm. i often find average christianity's prayers so trite anyway: help me find a husband, let me get this job, gimme gimme gimme.

so right now i feel more comfortable with the 'whatever' prayer. 'whatever, God. i clearly have no idea what i'm doing. this is what i'd like to happen, but whatever. it's not my universe, is it?'

does it dissipate the worry? it helps. it recognizes my limits and puts perspective around my situation. it keeps me grounded. but i still worry. it's human to be anxious and to feel tied in knots. and i don't think anxiety comes from satan. i think depression, anxiety, worry - all these are real. not badges of an unspiritual life.

ding said...

and yes, while jesus said the poor will always be with us, the bible also says it's our duty to care for them.

jesus chick said...

i've done a lot of whatever prayers. but do you really think that praying about a husband or a job is trite? these things impact our lives, and consequently other lives, in huge way. think of the impact you could have on society if you landed the job mentioned earlier, working on the sweet spot of women, racism, reproductive and economic empowerment. i think god is totally into what happens in your life and wants to put you where you'll be fulfilled AND able to make a difference for him. but you won't know what that is if you think it's too trite to pray about.

ding said...

i read an interview about a writer who wrote christian date books. she told a story of a single woman who knew that if she was on a deserted island and prayed for a man, God would send her one.

the writer said, honey, if i were you i'd pray for a boat.

i think praying for things like a husband, job, car are trite. no, the word 'trite' is inaccurate. i think praying for material things or stuff that's not necessarily life-threatening smacks of self-interest.

i'm no longer in the tall grass today so i can talk about this rationally; we pray for the wrong things, in my opinion. we pray for the *things* instead of praying for the ability to deal with what's in front of us - or not in front of us - His will be done.

the ideal ding would pray for patience, strength and humility while she's looking for work and trying to make a new future work for her; she'd also pray that her goal was right and true - and if it wasn't meant to be, then hope that another way would be provided.

(it's a more articulate version of the 'whatever prayer.')

Wasp Jerky said...

"i don't profess to know what to do with all the orphans, homeless and hungry."

You could start by feeding them.

"what about the homeless guy on michigan avenue, where's god for him?"

Actually, he is Jesus for you. And if you buy him a sandwich and bottle of orange juice at Walgreens, then maybe he'll see Jesus in you.

jesus chick said...

kevin - thanks for your encouragement. the next sentence said "i can only help one person at a time". i got that one from mother teresa. and, actually, i am trying to feed the hungry by working with others to start a food shelf in my community. i'm also involved in an effort to get a program underway called Love INC (love In the Name of Christ), providing assistance, financially and otherwise to those in need. let me assure you that i am doing my level best to meet the needs of others. i'd give away half of all i own if not for my husband assuring me that we really do need a kitchen table. seeing jesus in each person in need is what prompts me in the first place. that, and knowing what he's done for me.

Wasp Jerky said...

jesus chick,

Yeah, I agree. One person at a time is all anyone can do. I guess my point is to just start somewhere--dive in. It seems like an overwhelming thing to try to feed the whole world. Better to start somewhere, anywhere, and go from there. Best of luck with the things you're working at.

Wasp Jerky said...

"One person at a time is all anyone can do."

Um, that wasn't meant to sound like a sexual innuendo.

ding said...

our church here just sold our air rights over a portion of our propery for a sizeable amount of money. the sale has been a key part of our ability to kick off a major community renewal project here in the city (as well as build more classrooms and renovate one of our chapels - there are 5000 of us).

it took years to get to this point; years of fundraising, planning, building relationships with the city. and now our neighbors, the condo owners across the street, are trying to block our development because they don't want the neighborhood to be congested or their views blocked.

would that they had your same feelings, jesus chick.

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