Written by Megan Albright.
Ever since I was about six years old, I have started every day with a cup of hot tea. My mom was the coffee drinker in our family, while my dad was the one sipping his Tetley tea each morning – a habit that both my sister and I adapted early on. Throughout four years of college, three years traveling with an evangelistic ministry team, two years of teaching and my three pregnancies, I have still faithfully brewed a cup each morning (sometimes at 6 a.m., other times, not until 10 a.m.). I’ve also gotten to the point now where I have to use my own teacup (an actual teacup, not a mug) and preferred brand of tea. Most of the people at my church recognize my blue willow cup and saucer sitting around on Sunday mornings. It’s a routine I’ve come to cling to no matter how crazy the schedule is or how tired I am. In some ways, I grasp at it more the crazier life gets.
Why is that?
No, it’s really not about a caffeine addiction. If it were simply that, I’d have much easier means to fulfilling the caffeine quota than lugging my cup and saucer, filtered water and favorite brew every where I go (e.g. Blue Willow just survived a 1,000 mile plane trip). I’m also not trying to make a statement or necessarily draw attention to it – it doesn’t matter whether people know or not. What I’ve started to realize about this and a few other routines in my life that I “insist on” is that deep down, I have a fear issue – a fear of not being in control.
For most of my life growing up, I never thought of myself as a fearful person. To a fault, I didn’t care at all what people thought of or said of me. I didn’t generally worry about things and rarely felt “stress” even during the craziest of college semesters. And looking back, I think that for the most part, that’s because I had a good handle on my life. I was smart enough to get the grades I wanted and efficient enough to make it all fit in. Sometimes I lost friendships because of not caring what people thought of me, but it didn’t bother me much since I’d rather be alone reading anyway. But then at age 24, I got married.
All of a sudden, my life was intertwined with another person’s life, a person that I loved so much I would die for him. That’s when the fears started. He’d leave on a short trip, and I’d be so panicked he’d be in a car accident or plane crash. One night I couldn’t get ahold of him for over four hours when he was supposed to be relaxing at a hotel, and I morphed into this sobbing, blubbering wreck about to call the local police department to start checking highways and ditches. He finally realized he’d left his phone in the car.
And then we started having kids. Some days I could hardly breathe, I’d be so scared a child would choke or get hit by a car or catch a horrible disease from some unknown person at the store (all of which are still possibilities at this point in life, I guess). I felt like I didn’t even know myself anymore – I was one of those moms who just worry about everything instead of the fearless person I used to be. Had I really changed that much simply by becoming a wife and mom?
Not really. I have always wanted to be in control of things in my life. The fears I have now, like flying on planes, tornadoes, dying of a brain-eating amoeba or losing my family in a car accident, all stem from things that I have no control over. This realization hit me one day, and I just sat there kind of stunned. I’ve been telling people for years that a genuine faith in Christ involves letting God be in charge of my life, not me. He is to be the King of my life and Lord of my heart – beautiful phrases that I quote to others but only let sink in when it works for me. However, simply realizing I had “control issues” didn’t exactly change things overnight. This had been a habit thirty years in the making.
God is, instead, using His Word to remind me of who He is – someone that I can trust – and what my life as a true Believer should look like (see Romans 12:9-21). The fears haven’t gone away. I don’t know if I’ll ever be “fearless” again. Instead, my fears are a daily reminder that I am not in control and must instead submit my anxieties and desire to be in control to the One who is sovereignly in charge. Instead of a burden now, my fears are a gift – from a kind God who loves me enough not to let me be in charge. I need this daily reminder just as much as I need my morning cup of tea.
And like my daily cup of tea, I need the regular consistency of time with this God – otherwise, how can I really trust him? And I need time in the Scriptures – otherwise, how I can remind myself of my true identity and to what I am called? The children’s song runs through my head now, “Read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.” It’s simple but true. And if I forget it, I’m sure my fears will come remind me. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
This article was published in the Summer 2017 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine. Megan Albright is married to Joel Albright, assistant pastor of First Baptist Church in Saint Francis, MN. They have two children, Brenden and Annie.
To contact Megan, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook.