Worry, Autism, and God’s Big Plan

Some of you may know that by day I am a speech-language pathologist with a specialty in Autism, but to be perfectly honest, most days the kids I serve teach me much more than I think I teach them. Their perspectives, strengths, and needs bring a fresh look into a world that can become to automated, predictable, and loud.

anxiety-2019928_1920.jpgI’m also a woman who struggles with worry. Sure, it’s not a sin to have healthy concern, but ‘worry’ is that almost-obsessive fear or distractible nervousness that alters your thinking and behavior. Another word for worry might be anxiety.

The Bible has some great things to say about worry/anxiety and casting our cares on Christ, but really, how can we do that? Life has big problems! Kids get sick, money gets tight, safety isn’t promised, health isn’t secure. Isn’t there plenty to really worry about?

Beginning.pngMy kids with Autism have an expectation when they come to see me for therapy. They know that when they walk in the door of my therapy room they’ll see a dry-erase board with the schedule for their session. The beginning, middle, and end. The whole session is set up in a nice checklist of expectations because…not knowing what’s going to happen next is really scary for these kids. Schedules, plans, and expectations help keep their hearts/minds calm so they can learn. There are so many things they ‘can’t’ control, like the people and sounds around them, so knowing what to expect is important for their peace of mind and heart.

We’re the same way, you know?

God will give you strength... and best friends to remind you of it. And lend their strength too. Saranghae my dongsaengIt’s interesting how this very understanding should impact a Christian’s heart when he/she is tempted to worry. We all like control in some form or other. Managing a schedule or employees or kids or health. Sorting through where finances are going. Feeling like we have our futures planned out and our emotions amiably adjusted.

When unexpected things happen, it can send us into a ‘meltdown’ of uncertainty and fear.

Here’s the good news in the middle of the spin-cycle.

As Christians, we serve a God who is Alpha and Omega – beginning and end. The Creator of all time, space, and schedules. The Ultimate planner. The Keeper of our hearts, minds, and futures.

And though the Bible isn’t crystal clear on exactly what’s going to happen on which day, it IS clear on the beginning, middle, and end…well, there’s really not going to be a definitive end since we really DO get to live that happily-ever-after, but you get my point 😉

God has written this page into the story of our livesThe point is…

Life can get messy, scary, hard, and dark.

Plans may fall apart.

Expectations crumble.

And yet…God has written this page into the story of our lives knowing exactly what happens in the next sentence, on the next page, and in the next chapter.

The schedule is there and the Author lets us know He’s with us all the way.

Lessons From the Belly of a Whale – Part 3

Jonah’s story slows down when Jonah gets swallowed by the fish, and this doesn’t happen by accident.

Attention is drawn to Jonah here.

His prayer is notable.

He’s sinking, drowning – even the seaweed is wrapped around his head.

 And what happens? Jonah has an epiphany.

Jonah THOUGHT he wanted to be separated from God, but when the actual moment came – His death – He realized he didn’t want it.He also realized God wouldn’t leave him.

 Even though Jonah turned away from God, God wouldn’t turn away from Jonah. God cared so much about Jonah, that he sent a storm to push him into realization of who Jonah was – then a fish to help redeem him.

 Jonah begins to truly REALIZE who ‘he’ is in the presence of an Almighty God. A God who can control the oceans and even the fish at his command. A God who is infinitely more powerful than the vain idols of the sailors on the ship. Our pastor this Sunday said, “Distress will always show the impotence of your idol.”

 Now, if you know the end of this book, you’ll know that God isn’t finished working on Jonah yet. Just as he’s not finished working on US yet.

 We’re all Jonah’s. On a fluctuating journey between obedience and rebellion. God is continually rescuing us. Why? Because He loves us. We are THAT important to him.

 Now, I thought I’d be finished with Jonah today – but I think there is one more post waiting.

Four posts for the four chaptered book of Jonah.

Get ready to learn next time about how God cares about US and Them.