Snap and Pray
Call it cycling, ruminating, rehashing--there are all sorts of terms that essentially describe the same thing. Fear goes and comes around. Like a dog that chases its own tail, I can cycle on anxiety. Time spent worrying about what could be always takes my focus off Jesus' power and providence. When I get caught in an anxiety whirlwind, I am my own worst enemy.
So, like I suggest to many of the kids I work with, I'm wearing a snap band. Materially, it's a ponytail holder or rubber band. To me, however, it's a reminder to snap out of my ruminating--by pulling it back and letting it fly-- and pray. There are three snaps and a little rhyme I use to help turn my attention and energy to Christ in trying times. The snap and pray pattern goes like this:
SNAP #1: Turn to: When on the merry go round of anxious thoughts and fears, snap the band and turn your attention Christ in prayer. In Isaiah 45:22, God's call is clear; "Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other." Psalm 121 calls us to seek God and remember His sovereignty, "I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." We can turn to Him or we can turn in on ourselves. It is our choice.
SNAP #2: Pray through: Pray through immediate concerns, future fears, or long-term dilemmas. Snap and bring your specific cares to God quickly, as soon as they arise. Whether the fear attacks concern health, finances, employment, or general uncertainty, surrender them fully to your Heavenly Father. Imagining the altar before God's throne, opening my hands, lifting my burden onto that throne (either in my mind or using physical gestures), then turning and walking away helps me. It is a method of "casting cares upon the Lord, because He cares for you," (1 Peter 5:7) that reminds me I am giving my anxious thoughts to an Almighty God. I am not just giving them up--I am giving them over to my Omnipotent Savior who can do more than I can ask or imagine. That is wisdom.
SNAP #3: Go do the next thing: Peter's admonition in 1 Peter 4: 12-13 inspires me on days like these, "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed." There is a beautiful opportunity here if I take my focus off fear, be the Church, and act on my faith. Snapping and doing the next thing means finding creative ways to care for others, be Jesus' hands and feet, take my perspective off myself and answer my Savior's call. He will lead me on the paths of righteousness here, and it will involve loving Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, and loving my neighbor as myself. I have to let go in order to get going.
Turn to, pray through, and go do the next thing. This simple pattern and a rubber band reminds us to snap and pray, surrendering our fears in these trying times. Our Omnipotent Father's power and presence gives us all we need to truly trust Him. Now we have to snap to it.