Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Certain Default

Computers function most efficiently when a trustworthy operating system has been designed and downloaded.  When a need arises or a problem presents itself, the computer knows what path to take to find the answer or solve the difficulty.  The computer functions best when it already knows what to do.

But when I do not specify a designated mode of operation, the computer automatically focuses on another option, one that is adopted by necessity and my neglect to tell it what to do.  That automatic behavior is called a default.  It is a failure to fulfill an obligation because no choice has been made.

When moments of despair arise in the middle of my day or awaken me at 4 a.m., my mind often reverts to a panic mode.  "Time to worry!" my heart shouts when faced with suddenness and extremes.  Have I gone there so often that I think that is the only option?  Is fear my default?

In this past year of many changes and choices, I have learned that panic prevails if I am not already prepared with an option.  When overwhelmed, my default is to panic... unless I change my settings.

Let Scripture become your default.  Listen and let God speak to you from His Word.  Allow the power of Scripture not to talk you down or help you to cope, but to strengthen and heal.

Do not be afraid of sudden panic,
or the storm of the wicked,
                  when it comes;
for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot
            from being caught.

                     Proverbs 3. 25-26

When the LORD is your default,
    worry becomes only a reminder
                                 to pray.
And surges of panic are transformed
          into an awareness
          to follow God into the situation.

The other night I awoke in deep waters of anxiety.  But before the waves overcame me, Scripture verses came to mind and kept my head above the surface until I could touch bottom again.  I recited verses not so much to deliver me from, or to get me through, but to sustain me despite what was swirling around me. Memorized scripture is an internal floatation device, a learned behavior, and the foundation for a new operating mode.  Do this, not that.

But I call upon God,
and the LORD will save me.

                     Psalm 55. 16

God tells me, "Don't panic; you know how to swim."

And so, instead of flailing about in a place too deep to touch bottom, I float on an ocean of verses and pray my way through.  God's Word heals and strengthens and reminds me of the reality of His Presence.  "You are NOT alone."  

One specified setting leads to another.  Instead of going from panic to fear, the Scrpture I embrace leads me to pray for others.  When I am listening, God places people on my heart to pray for, sometimes even those I haven't thought about in years, sometimes those I don't even personally know, people on my path or those I have seen in the news.

And maybe, just maybe, what woke me up was not a stirring to panic, not about me after all, but to pray specifically at that moment for someone in their time of need.

Change my default settings, LORD,
      to align my heart with Yours.

In peace I will both lie down
                    and sleep;
for You alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.

                       Psalm 4.8

Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives
     do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled,
neither let them be afraid.
                        John 14. 27

Come to Me,
all who labor and are heavy laden,
     and I will give you rest.

                        Matthew 11. 28

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