Oh what agony and anxiety we would all be spared if only we knew they were going to win!
I watched parts of England’s game with David last Tuesday. I’m not really a football fan but it was big deal for beloved so I kept him company as best I could.
He paced up and down the room. He sat with his head in his hands. He shouted at the television. He all but hid behind the sofa, in fact when it went to extra time he actually did go and hide his ‘cave’ upstairs and played patience on his computer because it was ‘all too much and I can’t bear to watch’.
This is all COMPLETELY normal behaviour for any serious fan!
Watching David, (with slight concern for his blood pressure) I had an internal conversation with God/myself.
“What would it make it possible for me to sit calmly and not be anxious through this game?”
“Knowing the outcome… obviously! If I already knew the result and knew that England would win, I could be completely calm throughout the whole game!”
“Okay, so let’s agree that England will win”
“Okay, let’s agree on that!”
Having settled the matter (in my mind anyway), I was able to watch completely calmly. Yes, even when Columbia scored!
So when I shouted up the stairs “it’s gone to penalties” and heard David’s groan of impending doom and disaster, I just smiled to myself. Why? Because I knew they were going to win.
David came down and paced the floor, throwing himself on and behind sofas as each penalty was taken. He was as sure as sure that yet again it would be a post match scenario of “so close and yet so far… If only… Penalties, England’s nemesis”.
And I was as sure as sure that we would be celebrating, so I was simply waiting for it.
Okay, so maybe this might have just been a simple thought/faith experiment but given that the match was a pretty intense experience I have mulled it over and think that it offers a lot of life application.
What do I know? What do I deep down rely on being true? And can these truths therefore keep me calm and non-anxious even when it looks like “it’s all going horribly wrong”
This is what I know
- That God is good, is gracious and compassionate and ‘ loving to all he has made’ (Psalm 145:8,9)
- That God is present: promising to walk alongside me through all of life’s experiences, whether those are green pastures or shadowy valleys of death (Psalm 23)
- That God is wiser and bigger than I am
- That whatever the future holds for me, for you, for the world, that future is held in God’s hands. And I personally believe that God is big enough to ultimately have his loving way with all of us, that in the end Love will win.
Those are big, massive, huge existential beliefs. But they are relevant to this day’s challenges and stresses. They can act as the quiet pool of calm below the often troubled and conflicted surface of our lives.
Can I hold onto those things that I know (that I am loved and precious child of God) in the face of all the fears and circumstances that would seem to say otherwise?
If I can, then I can save myself a whole heap of anxiety.
It’s just like knowing the final score.