When I don’t have enough information I start to worry. Case in point. After the birth of our daughter Jen started getting pounding headaches every day, and we couldn’t figure out why. Nothing seemed to ease the pain and nobody could tell us what was really wrong. I started to get worried. What if something was seriously wrong with her? What if she had a brain tumor or something? Did she have some rare form of cancer? I needed more info. So I started doing research on the Internet, hoping to figure out what was causing the splitting headaches. But I couldn’t find anything clear. I just wanted to know what was causing the problem. Then I could plan appropriately. Then I would be back in control.
In his book Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest, Ed Welch says:
Anxiety asks for more information so it can be prepared for the coming apocalypse. It also asks for more information so it can manage the world apart from God.
Sick. That describes me to the letter. I want as much information as possible so that I can plan appropriately and control every facet of my life. I want to know all possible illnesses that my daughter Charis could contract so that I can then take the appropriate defensive measures. I want to know exactly how much my income and expenses are going to be for the next month so that I can make the appropriate budget. I want to know every detail of what’s going to happen at the church meeting that I’m leading tomorrow night. Why? So that nothing gets out of my control. None of these things is inherently wrong. Wanting to control my life apart from God is.
The truth is, I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but God does. And God promises a tomorrow that’s both under his control and full of grace. I try to gather enough information so that I don’t have to trust in and rely on God. God calls me to rest in him, knowing that I’ll experience his grace tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after.
Are you an information hoarder? It’s not wrong to gather info, but if you find yourself driven by anxiety, stop and take a deeper look. Are you trusting in yourself and your ability to plan, or in your sovereign, loving Father? Let me close with these words, again by Ed Welch:
There is no sense devising future scenarios now because God will do more than you anticipate. When you understand God’s plan to give future grace, you have access to what is arguably God’s most potent salvo against worry and fear.
By the way, the headaches went away.