during the last conversation we shared, my pastor/counselor informed me that i am a tensionist. it was clear that he could read the gaudy display of confusion that was written all over my face because with all the patience in the world, he pulled out a small dry erase board and began drawing for me a diagram that better explained what it means to be a tensionist. when it comes to certain areas of life i am either all or nothing. i had to laugh when he pointed this out to me for my thoughts immediately went to a time when my mom tagged this exact characteristic on me. it was about 4 years ago and i was preparing to leave on a missions trip to malaysia. she was, as most mothers would be, fearful to watch me take off. so she hugged me goodbye and turned to the man i was going with and as she hugged him she said something like, "keep an eye out for her, she likes to dive off the deep end." to where the man i was traveling with so wittingly responded, "i'll hold her back by her pig tails". they both knew of my tensionistic tendencies long before i even realized them myself.
holding now a slightly deeper understanding to the quirky ways in which i operate i have grown to pause and stare face to face at the voices of each end of the spectrum that scream and demand my attention. these voices burst their way to the forefront of my attention and immediately begin smothering every ounce of rationality. prior to learning that about the level of extremes i would give in to these voices and take matters into my own hands in desperate attempt for control. but now, now something gracious has shifted in the way i respond to the tempting songs of the false self and this alternative perspective is far more beautiful than the previously donned default of fear.
i think the sermon on the mount is one of the most beautiful teachings ever told. god has held me in matthew 6 for weeks and weeks. with each passing day he unfolds just a little more of the radiance that is contained within this passage. when god speaks, things come into existence. in this simultaneously humbling and incomprehensible scripture jesus says:
"therefore i tell you..."
now, when jesus says "i tell you" you can be certain that he will do what he says. so with that not quite fully grasped understanding i continue reading;
"do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. is not life more important that food and the body more important than clothes? look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly father feeds them. are you now much more valuable than they? who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life."
so much of my life has been spent worrying and stressing, literally losing hair and finding new zits on my face that seem to unearth themselves just to say, "ha ha! sucka! stress out enough yet?" but when i read this sermon that jesus gave i am invited to rest. i am beckoned to trust his provision rather than my own aimless stabs at it. and i am allured into giving him the control ropes to my life so that i can ease up on the choking bit of fear that strangles me.
today i received a gift, a gesture of love. it was an anonymous gift that someone had given to our junior high director to pass along to me that produced total curiosity and unnerving gratitude within. the offering extended to me was a white envelope that had my name written on the front of it. i waited until everyone had left the office before i opened the envelope and what i found inside was a simple yellow post-it note that had the words "jesus loves you. never forget it." scribbled in black permanent marker. underneath the note was a bountiful financial gift. i wept... and remembered...
"therefore i tell you, do not worry about your life."