Rick and I own a small publishing business. Recently, I spoke with a new author who was quite anxious about receiving a large number of books on a particular date because he was hosting a book release party. Totally understandable. Our printer typically delivers an order much quicker than their allotted time and we have worked with them for years. However, this year during the Christmas season a few of our orders took much longer than we anticipated because of high demand.
Taking on anxiety
As I spoke to the author over the phone, I could almost feel his anxiety transferring to me. I began to feel and operate with anxiety as I considered several options in handling the order. Hoping for assurance, I called the printer, but was told that some of the orders might still be a bit slower than normal. I stopped, not sure of which way would be best.
Approaching Rick, I laid out the entire situation. I wanted his advice on what he would do. Should I suggest to the author to move the date for his release party to a later week? Should I suggest expediting the shipment? I didn’t want to let this author down.
Rick said he thought the order would be fine, but to do what I thought best. He suggested that I pray about it and go from there. I thanked him for his advice, but what I really wanted was to feel his peace about it. How could he be so calm when there was the potential of this person’s release party being ruined? His calm perspective didn’t make sense to me under the possibility of such grave circumstances.
Making a decision with anxiety
Later that day, we went to the grocery store, and as we were shopping, I suddenly had the realization that my decision concerning this author’s order was being driven by anxiety. What if the worst happened? What if I let this author down? I kept “checking with anxiety” to tell me the truth about the situation. No great decision is made out of anxiety. I told Rick that regardless of the outcome, I did not want the way I handled this situation to be rooted in anxiety.
Father, what do you say?
I went to my heavenly Father and asked Him, “Father, what do you say?” As I asked this question, I noticed that a feeling of peace was in me. I checked it, “Am I really experiencing peace or just clearing my mind for the moment?” The peace stayed with me. “Now what do I do?” I asked. No answer came. I thought about rushing the order. Nothing. I thought about calling the author to warn him to change his date. Nothing. I got no direction, but recognized the peace. So I decided to just stay with the peace and do nothing.
I waited and trusted it would work out okay. I trusted that my Father would direct me if I needed to do something specific. Every day I checked the author’s order on the printer’s website. “In Production” it would read. I would begin to think about what I could do if the books weren’t ready in time, but I didn’t plan anything. I just went with the peace I was experiencing. No anxiety.
Waiting in peace
Then, nine days before the author’s party, I saw his order had shipped. I was ecstatic!! The books were on their way in plenty of time for his release party. Not only that, but I had spent the majority of time waiting in peace and security rather than anxiety and fear. A much better way to spend my time.
Tune into the Father’s heart
As we live in this world, it is so easy to take on the ways of the world, to become afraid or anxious or worried. When we feel these types of emotions, rather than letting ourselves get carried away by them, we can instead stop and turn to our Father, and remember Him. Ask Him what He says. His thoughts have more weight than the natural world system. His words are truth. We learn to tune into His thoughts and ways.
So next time you are tempted to worry or be anxious about something, go to your Father, the One who loves you and wants the best for you and ask Him, “Father, what do you say?” And go with that.