What’s the Answer to Anxiety?

There are birds at the feeders, chickadees.

They flit nervous.

I watch the light in the trees, the way it falls across the walls.

Across the calendar and to-do lists and I try to remember to breathe.

John Calvin and I remember the year we were four.

The year I was four, my sister was crushed under the wheels of a truck in our driveway. That’s my first memory, the day Aimee was killed.

Fear’s have formed me.








John Calvin’s mother died the year he was four.

Scholar and historian, William J Bouwsma describes Calvin as, “a singularly anxious man.”

Calvin buried all three babies born to he and his wife.

He said he found in the Psalms, “all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.” The man understood fear.

Clouds have skirted in heavy from the west. The walls in the kitchen have fallen grey and silent.

Joshua’s playing it quietly, up and down the piano this morning, the Music Box Dancer.

A friend laid out in great detail this weekend how the economy is about to implode. Chronic illness flares. Teenagers ask big questions. I keep smoothing out calendar pages, pushing things back. How do you remember how to dance?

What is the answer to anxiety? Joshua’s playing so sure, the house lilting, tilting with happiness.

That’s what Calvin wrote,

The stability of the world depends on the rejoicing in God’s works…. If on earth, such praise of God does not come to pass… then the whole order of nature will be thrown into confusion…”

Our worlds reel unless we rejoice. A song of thanks steadies everything.

The answer to anxiety is the adoration of Christ.

My Bible lays open beside my gratitude journal.

There are piano lessons today and already a little brother’s in tears, word bruised by a big brother, and sisters are arguing loud over who’s turn it is to make the bed and I’ve snapped exasperated, ugly, at a whining middle kid who doesn’t want to stomp through snow and cold to get eggs from the hen house. Anxiety can wear anger’s mask. Fear of failing, of falling, of falling behind, it can make us fierce. Life can be messy before nine in the morning.

Joshua’s tripping on notes. The thermometer out on the tree, it’s mercury is sluggish and heavy. Hard frost lines windows. How to breathe and dance?

“We are cold when it comes to rejoicing in God!” wrote Calvin. “Hence, we need to exercise ourselves in it and employ all our senses in it – our feet, our hands, our arms and all the rest – that they all might serve in the worship of God and so magnify Him.”

When exasperation mounts, exercise our song, employ all our senses.

I use my hand, pick up the pen, employ the senses to the see and magnify God in that gratitude journal.

~ #3009 The spruce in wind.
~ # 3010 Comforting worn kids early.
~ #3011 Joshua playing the Music Box dancer.
~ # 3012 Ps 131 words: “Surely I have composed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child on his mother”
~ # 3013 Citrus scent of grapefruit on the breakfast table in January.
~ #3014 Chickadees fluffed in the wind.

I’m warmed. Joshua’s practicing the chorus. Exercise. Employ. Exalt.

The answer to anxiety is always to exalt Christ.

The chickadees scuttle at the feeder and fly, warmth on the wing. I watch from the window. A child presses into me and the window, and we have time. There is wonder. Everything absorbs into thanksgiving.

Calvin said that, “If we compare a hawk with the residue of the whole world, it is nothing.

The chickadees, they are flying to the south.

And yet.

That’s what Calvin said,

“And yet if so small a portion of God’s work ought to ravish us and amaze us, what ought all his works do when we come to the full numbering of them?”

Did Calvin number too?Come to the full numbering, the 1000, the endless numbering of the infinite grace of God? My pen’s on the counter.

Joshua’s playing perfect joy now, the Music Box Dancer finding all the right notes, exercising exaltation.

And I don’t think anyone saw me in the kitchen.

How I spun around this morning, exercising “feet and hands and arms and all the rest”, smiling happiness anyways.

These moments dancing brave and unafraid.





the book button

Will you take The JOY DARE — and Count 1000 Gifts in 2012?

Thank-you is a word that can change you, your world — the whole world! Will you share the joy?

onethousandgifts-januaryportrait{Download to print here}

{P.S.: Some were wondering where/how to chronicle their #1000gifts in 2012? Any way that works best for you:

in a private journal, with the free app, on your blog and join us in linking up here on the blog every Monday, on the free Year of Graces calendar, or on facebook or twitter (#1000gifts). I’ll be sharing thanks to God each day, Lord willing, on my personal facebook page and on the One Thousand Gifts facebook page — the community there is profoundly encouraging. You are more than welcome to join us! And yes, we will post a new Joy Dare Calendar here on the blog, the first of every month, Lord willing — you can use the Joy Dare Calendar for each month — or not at all.

The point is? Just count any 3 gifts a day — to count 1000 gifts in a year. That’s all. Any way that works for you! Just count your blessings!

And yes — we’ll be updating the blog with more information about the draw for the Nikond90 camera for those who complete the dare and count 1000 gifts in 2012! Open our eyes, Lord, Open our eyes! The Whole Earth is fully of Your Glory! }


Free Printables : 3 Ways to Find Joy this week

1. A Year of Graces {A Free 12 Month Gratitude Calendar} Click to print here
Picnik collagePicnik collage


2. Count all His Gifts Wherever You Are: {One Thousand Gifts Free App}:

Click here for the free #1000gifts app : The gift of joy for a friend? Print this card about the free app for a friend Picnik collage

3. 1 Paper = 1 Week of Joy
Tuck 1 sheet of paper in a pocket & jot down 7 gifts for 7 days:
(perfect booklet to cultivate the habit of the joy hunt for kids)

(folding instructions for booklet here)

Picnik collage


Will you join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts?

Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.

Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!