The Alarmist

The Alarmist

Maybe you know her; maybe she’s your mother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, or next-door neighbor.

OR maybe she’s the face looking back at you in the mirror each morning. You know– the woman who is an alarmist about EVER.Y.THING? She finds a tiny spot on her arm and she’s sure it’s skin cancer—probably the advanced stage kind. She notices her teen has been sleeping more and keeping his door shut, so she books him an appointment with the psychologist, calling him depressed and suicidal. A few unexpected bills take their toll on the checkbook and she starts Googling “How to File for Bankruptcy.”
Well, maybe you don’t know an alarmist such as I’ve described, but I live with one.

It’s me. I’m her. The alarmist dwells within me.

Oh, I’ve tried over the last two decades or so — tried to rid myself of her. But she just won’t go…not totally. And these last few weeks (or months) have provided a perfect storm for the resident alarmist in me. See, the problem is, we alarmists get alarmed because life throws the unplanned hardship at us and we don’t know quite what to do with it and we desperately want it to go away. And after 2, 4, or 186 times of unplanned hardships showing up on life’s doorstep, instead of getting less alarmed, we can actually begin to become hyper-sensitive to these unwanted circumstances. Looking over my shoulder, expecting hardships to come, but desperately hoping they won’t, I can live in a low-grade level of fear at all times. Expecting “the bad” to the point that I even suspect “the good” as bad in disguise becomes my new normal. I can’t even enjoy the less stressful, blissful moments of life because I’m waiting for the hammer to fall.  Enter Psalm 131:

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.”

Years ago, I was introduced to some wonderful teaching on this Psalm and it has remained with me. It is my “go to” verse when I feel my heart climbing to alarm mode. Reading this passage again and again, I realize that pride, not meekness, is what germinates fear. Filling my mind with thoughts of: “What if?” “How will…?” “I can’t do…” as I try to look into my own future, is what is meant by “occupying myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.” Lifting my heart up and raising my eyes too high results in worry, not assurance. Like a nosy child trying to peer over the privacy fence into his neighbor’s yard to see what’s going on, I think I try to peer into the days ahead of me, foreseeing the bad that awaits there so I can prepare myself.

This is not God’s way. This is not the way of trust and faith.

Rather, I should be putting my hope in God, who is ALWAYS the same, no matter my circumstances. Hoping in good circumstances results in a nervous, guessing-game-style of life. “What if I fail?” God will be there to help me walk through it. “What if I have to…?” God will be there, giving me strength to do it. “What if my worst fear turns to reality?” God will be my greater reality. He will love me in it. He will help me in it. He will never leave. His love never fails.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (I Cor. 13:7-8)

Alarm is a normal response to unexpected, unwanted situations in life. Chemically speaking, our bodies produce adrenaline to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to our hearts, enabling them to respond to danger quickly. But if over time, I condition myself to respond to every stressful situation with equal amounts of fervor, when does my body rest? I need God’s help, calming and quieting my soul, in order to change.

Jesus faced:

  • betrayal
  • arrest
  • torture
  • abuse both physical and verbal
  •  death in the most shameful fashion.

He knows about alarm. He conquered it. He can conquer it for me. I can say with the Psalmist, “O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.”

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Kristin Bunting About Kristin Bunting

Kristin wishes you could pull up a chair, enjoy a cup of coffee, and talk with her about how amazing Jesus is. For 33 years she has walked with her Savior, and each year is a new adventure in learning how He is always "Enough" for her, no matter what the circumstance. Kristin is wife to one loving small-church pastor, and never ceases to be amazed at the 3 daughters God has given them to raise. Her one-day dream is to write a book for women, chronicling her walk with Jesus and encouraging them to never quit pursuing the God who loves them.

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