March 22, 2012
Dear Stressmonger Residing Within Me:
You have had quite an influence on me over the years and have become to me so many things.
You have been a plastic, insulated jacket I put on in summer. I tell myself that your style is flattering and that the air around me should be this hot anyway. I remind myself that everyone else is wearing one in these conditions so there must be a good reason why. We as humans are known for how logical and wise we are in groups.
You have been a brainwashed choice I default to. A hardwiring in my soul that trips switches in my brain. I have brazenly yelled, "Release the powerful adrenaline chemicals, dear Stressmonger!" No matter if their constant presence destroys me. If it weren't for you, I might have found some peace and rest when I needed it most... which is a nice idea until I imagine everyone calling me an irresponsible hippy and offering me their own plastic jackets out of courtesy as I walk down the street.
You have made me believe that if I don't hold you high, feel your sway, I will shame my people. Create a sensation. Stand out.
Because of you, I have chosen not to listen to Jesus, who tells me not to fear, not to worry, not to strive. I apparently have not been ready to trade you for such lofty commands...
Why? Because I haven't been sure what I would I do without you, Stressmonger. Who would spend the lengths of time mulling over my treasured irrational fears, rehearsing and reliving them in my head? Who is capable but you of handling these things so willingly? I suppose this is why I hold you in such reverence.
But for how often I bow before you, I must confess you have given very little back.
Actually, nothing has been given back.
Actually, you take from me all the time. You shorten my life. You wreak havoc on my physical body and splinter my soul into whimpering pieces, stealing all the strength I might have used to revolt against you. You exist where there is dark unknown and pride to protect. You exist where I must have control or I will surely die. You are my own private masochism. And no one can help me because I see your plastic pressure jackets on every person around me.
Except for a few Christ followers I know...
Just a few.
Yes, I remember now. They are so impervious. They brim over with stillness. I'm addicted to their presence. They don't even strike me as "irresponsible hippys." They pay their bills and work regular jobs and they give of everything they have and somehow there's always more to give. I never feel like I'm taking up their time when I'm with them. The air around them is redolent of grace. It's funny how I am a Christian too, but have not understood what these people have... that maybe Jesus meant what He said with all that "fear not" business.
Stressmonger, is it possible that you've been lying to me? That I can choose against your tyranny? Is it possible to shed your choking heat for clean trust. Because that's what this is about, isn't it. You live off my self-trust. You live off my pride. But He, Jesus, says these are things I can spend. Things I can trade. The pride and the self trust are the price.
And compared to what I'm starting to see of you, trading my pride and control for the peace that exists where you AREN'T is not seeming so crazy anymore.
Ah! But it's so radical. I feel like an extremist. Like an hesitant revolutionary. I will surely lose all my friends and my job. I will then become homeless and no one will believe that I am better off without you. They will shake their heads and cover me (bless their hearts) with their own plastic jackets as I lie sleeping in the street.
I have told this to my Jesus and to my Christian friends, Stressmonger, and they tell me it isn't so. That I will be so glad to let you go. I would not be able to hope that I could safely get away from you, except I have seen it so clearly in the eyes of people who have let Jesus own and protect them. It's so radical but it's so true.
I'm writing you to finally say this: I'm convinced we were never meant for each other. Please take all your baggage and leave my soul. I'm sorry, but Someone better has come along. Someone outside of me. Someone with grace and freedom in His intentions. He is the opposite of you.
I probably should have broken up with you before things got out of hand and you were controlling every single part of my life, but Jesus reassures me that it's not too late. He isn't afraid of the extent of your damage to me. And frankly, He's just better company. I'm sure you understand.
Cheers, my sad, controlling friend. I expect you will try to seep in, someway, somehow, but know you will have my relentless and jealous Savior to handle if you do.
And now, I will know it too.