I once worked a job where we began all staff meetings with a Peace/Chaos scale. My good friend JD Walt coined the idea and it was very fruitful. Each of shared on a scale of 1-10 how much peace AND chaos we had in our lives. His theory was something called "the shalom zone" in which each individual perfectly balanced the peace and chaos in his or her life. Since we were all in seminary and working a fast paced job, it all made sense.
For me, I've found I need a certain amount of chaos to really perform well. It keeps me motivated and thinking creatively. The unraveling point comes to a disastrous end when I have been getting energy off the chaos side for too long. I think each of us know the feeling.
Over the summer I have been preaching through Matthew 5-7, more commonly known as "The Sermon on the Mount". It has been a fruitful time of both preparation and worship. I've found an interesting thread to the whole sermon I hope to share at a later date. But for now, lets keep thinking about peace and chaos.
The larger section of my passage this week is Matthew 6:19-34. The passage gives several directions to go, but I have chosen to really let two verses segments drive the sermon.
Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 6:27
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 6:31-33
How do we let anxiety drive our life?
What do our projections of anxiety do to others?
When I reflect on these passages I remember the peace/chaos scale. The abolishment of anxiety is not the focus of these verses, but what we as humans living in relationship with Christ choose to do with anxiety. The call to follow Jesus is an individual one, but the response and ongoing sanctification of the believer brings us into a community linked in worship and mission. In this new community the support systems for a new way of life are found. Anxiety drives us to fuller reliance on God. Life in my friend's "shalom zone" is a current projection of a future eschaological awareness!
To go back to the question regarding projection, what if the way we publically handle our anxiety, through acknowledgement and holiness, becomes the thing helping others to come to Christ? It's not that we have anxiety...but how we handle it.
The words of Paul in Philippians 4:6 close us the best.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.