Swatting imaginary bees

Published 10:52 pm Friday, May 30, 2014

By Chris Surber

I like people watching. I learn more from just observing people than almost any other source. My wife and I were recently waiting at the stoplight at the corner of Main Street and Constance as we make our way to downtown Suffolk. We were chatting about this thing and that when I spotted a woman in the car next to us waving her arms and slapping the air like she was on fire!

We turned and watched her personal chaos for a few seconds before my wife said, “She’s swatting at that bee, but it’s on the outside of her window.” After we stopped laughing, we quickly repented of our having found so much humor in her imaginary plight, and continue on our way.

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Later that day, as I recalled that scene with a chuckle to myself, it occurred to me that we are often swatting imaginary bees. I think it’s probably safe to say that today more people live with anxiety than ever before. Certainly more people live with diagnosed anxiety than ever before.

Anxiety is easy to diagnose and difficult to cure. You know it when you have it. Your mind runs in circles while your heart beats rapidly as if in an invisible race. Sometimes our life circumstances are so overwhelming, anxiety is nearly unavoidable.

In those cases, our surest plan is to trust God and endure the trial. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT) God will bring us through those times and give us peace as we travel those roads commensurate with our level of seeking Him and trusting Him.

A person may also need to seek medical assistance for anxiety when traveling a part of your journey where circumstances exceed your ability to manage your responses to them. There is nothing unspiritual about utilizing medication for anxiety or depression or related conditions. If there is, then stop saying God called anybody to be a doctor or a psychologist.

But, if we are honest, we would likely admit that most of the time our anxiety is not rooted in real life overwhelming trials. It is most often rooted more in our imagination than in reality; more in our anxious perception than in truth. We swat at “what if” bees that can’t possibly get through the glass of the windows of our lives.

We swat at “maybe” bees that usually just fly on by without any thought of stinging us. We flail and we fight against imaginary enemies. We complain about rainstorms that usually never come our way. I like the way Alice Caldwell Rice put it: “It ain’t no use putting up your umbrella till it rains.”

Make sure the bee is actually in your car before you start flailing. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)

Chris Surber is pastor of Cypress Chapel Christian Church in Suffolk. Visit his website at www.chrissurber.com.