~~Just a few years ago we had my son’s bathroom remodeled and as is the course with those things, there are decisions we’d probably make differently given the opportunity for a do-over. I was checking the bathroom status before my son came home for Christmas break and pulled back the shower curtain to discover one of those decisions staring at me in all its glory. Mold. The drywall at the edge of the shower was soggy wet and starting to mold. We already have a handy-man list a mile long with no man handy. This will have to go on the list. Sigh.
This morning I was awake too early, and lying there convincing myself to go back to sleep, I began to think of that mold. How it crept up there while no one was watching. How, even now, it was probably growing back behind that wall, creeping, creeping into a lung-choking mass that will inevitably cause the house to be condemned, after which we will lose our investment and every earthly blessing, leaving us homeless or living in our son’s basement while his nagging wife thinks of ways to get rid of us… I did eventually fall asleep, but fitfully.
This morning I had to laugh at myself. Although this is my way and it isn’t really funny, my mind works exactly like that imagined mold. I mean really, the moldy spot was about an inch and a quarter at most. I scraped it off and taped the shower curtain closed until we can deal with it. Problem solved right? Right. Except. Except for the creep. The creep of my mind which hops from one infinitesimal “problem” to world destruction.
Are you a worrier? Has anyone just told you flat out that worry is a sin? I don’t actually think of myself as a worrier, but I suppose it’s self-evident that I am one. Not to the degree of some. Some people make an art of worry. They have mastered the skill, and practice it ad nauseum, as if they have complete mind-control over everything in the universe and by just imagining the worst, they can somehow save the planet and everyone on it. OK. Maybe I’m a bit like that. But I’m quiet about it. Most people who know me would not call me a worrier. If they heard what my head often sounds like they would think I’m pathological. What I really think is that it’s easier to create fiction from fact than it is to surrender control. Here’s what God says:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. You are looking at things as they are outwardly. (2 Corinthians 10:3-7a)
Worry is a great tool for our enemy. He keeps us so wrapped around the axel that we can’t see which way is up for imaging what might happen if we take our eyes off the imaginary balls we’re juggling. I mean, the world depends on us! Stop for just a second in reading this and let your worry creep in… See how easy it is suddenly to lose sight of God? Our prayers become superstitious mantras that we repeat until we’ve made them idols. Our faith becomes self-focused and independent of its object. We have, in one lazy moment of unchecked thought-creep, unseated the Lord from His throne. And this is what our enemy wants. This is the way he wages war against us.
I can’t search the scripture for a problem with mold (although it occurs to me that there’s a portion of Leviticus maybe that might be helpful…) but I can trace the roots of my fear as revealed by where my thoughts ended up. Because fear is the root of worry. You know this, right? That’s why it’s a sin. Fear is the enemy of faith. It is its contradiction. It’s like thumbing your nose at God. So, what’s at the root of my worry about that mold? Security. And where have I placed my security – where have I built my fortress? In my home and my earthly provisions. Wrong. Answer. That thought needs to be taken captive and made obedient to what Christ says about it. Otherwise the enemy is going to eat my lunch over it!
Do you know how many times “I AM” appears in the bible? 719 times. 508 times in the Old Testament, 211 in the New. I’m pretty sure there’s a place where God has said, “I AM your provision.” No one in history needed to know that more than Abraham did when we see him in Genesis 22 where he first names God, Jehovah Jireh… the Lord Will Provide.
And then there are Jesus’ own words, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:26-27)
These are my truths. This is how I will take my thoughts captive. When I let the creep of worry take me from mold to the destruction of life as we know it, with these I will draw my mind and my heart back to the One who provides all things, in whom I trust. Your truths will be different if you’re brave enough to get to the root of your worry and find the words that stop the creep. As for me, I will take those creeping thoughts captive and make them obedient to the words of Truth, and like bleach (or a putty knife) to mold, I will wage war with an effective weapon! Take that!