Anxiety can kill a community. Urgency can lead to exponential growth. What's the difference between the two?
Imagine yourself in traffic. Anxiety's born of fear. Anxiety sometimes leads people to make rash decisions, like cutting off other drivers because they're late for a dinner date. Anxiety can also become insular. Sometimes people avoid decisions because they're afraid to make the situation worse. Of course, that in itself is making a decision, and if your car is headed toward debris from an accident, a lack of intervention won't change the direction you're headed. Anxiety can even lead to distraction. If you're worried about the last fight you had with a friend and your mind is anxiously elsewhere, you may not see the brake lights in front of you.
Urgency, however, is purposeful and focused. In traffic, urgency recognizes that the dangers of speed may prove detrimental to making that date on time because of the possible accident or ticket in the work zone. Urgency understands that self-centeredness, while understandable, is always unwise when surrounded by other autos driven by drivers with other goals. Being aware of them, and even communicating with them through lights and signals, leads to a better outcome for everyone on the road. Urgency also understands that, while you might rather be someplace else or are worried about someone not in the car, to take focus away from the road puts you at further risk for separation from that ultimate goal.
Both anxiety and urgency are responses to stress. Remember that stress, in itself, isn't a bad thing. Appropriate amounts of stress on your muscles help them grow. Certain amounts of stress on your mind help you learn. Yet, how we respond to stress often colors the way that we view stress. If we deal anxiously with the stress we experience, stress seems an enemy. If we respond to stress with urgency, however, stress becomes a catalyst for development.
What's vital, though, is actually responding to the stress. Complacency leads us to avoid stress altogether. When we pay no attention to the things that might stress us, we still suffer the consequences of their presence. We simply live in ignorance of those results until it's too late for our urgency to change the situation. If you see a truck swerve to avoid a deer and don't alter your course because you just believe everything will be alright, you'll still have an accident. Complacency is just as deadly as anxiety, but differently dangerous, because it feels safer for a while.
As you and your community face stresses, look for the opportunities for urgency. How can you best utilize your resources to positively affect the situation? Where do you see God working through the stress to bring wisdom and strength? Acknowledge the temptations of complacency and anxiety, and ask God to instead carry you to holy urgency. There may you find the surprising, transforming presence of God. Like the picture above, holy urgency from everyone can even make traffic beautiful.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.