There are three initials that arouse dread in the hearts of many Americans: I.R.S.
You can almost feel the pit of the stomach opening, preparing to swallow the rest of you or at least the next season of your life.
My Pop wasn't a huge fan and rightly so, mostly because he liked to put off paying "them". They were treated as the enemy and not a mostly silent, occasionally moody business partner.
Did you know (according to an article on aol.com) approximately 25% of our tax dollars go to our nation's defense? Health cares come in second. Then come things like retirement for government employees, assistance programs, education, job training, etc.
8ish% goes to interest on our debt.
I've discovered that sometimes, in His kindness, the Lord takes our hand and leads us into trying situations.
I learned Somewhere Awesome that one meaning for the word mammon is "that which you put your trust in". So, Jesus was saying, "You can't put your trust in God and in `that which you put your trust in'." Some versions italicize and use the word money instead of mammon. Today, the picture might be checking a bank balance instead of checking with Him. A Relevant article claims, "Christians are only giving at 2.5 percent per capita, while during the Great Depression they gave at a 3.3 percent rate."
Fear and anxiety aren't good gifts but they are co-flies with little g-god mammon. And we can all agree on what flies eat.
The Word says perfect love (really it is more mature love than perfect love) casts out all fear.
And so, as honorary fear-facers, Christine and I put our big kid gear on over our garanimals and made our way downtown to visit the taxpayer advocate Wednesday morning at none other than the Internal Revenue Service center. I know, brave, right?
While staying on hold for a couple hours (reportedly the current hotline queue wait-time) with multiple detailed questions sounded terribly inviting; I waited for like two minutes on the local advocate line which Google and I tracked, set a face-to-face appointment at the IRS tax-payer advocacy center right here in DSM: all-in, under three hundred seconds.
I think our first notice on this strange paper chase was like two years ago.
We made our way past security and Miss Christine had her thick and well-organized correspondance file and up we went. We waited maybe five minutes for our number to be called.
And we sat down across a desk from an incredibly polite mustached man who listened and asked clarifying questions. As he was double-checking his answers with his boss via email while we sat there, a very familiar Marley song came on in the background.
"Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right! "
Christine and I shared the Holy-Spirit-digs-Marley look as the song continued.
And our advocate gave us some very simple directions to clear up our couple of year tax situation and it was maybe 42 minutes start to finish to see the errors in our filings ways.
Our advocate told us the IRS has had like 17000 layoffs. That means an awful lot of tax work landed on 17000 fewer shoulders. I can have a lot of compassion if Im in the right frame of mind.
I've been dreading those little notices because they trigger something familiar from my youth: dread and uncertainty.
One call, one appointment about twenty mins from home: 42ish minutes there, print off a couple docs, sign, mail in and..scene.
But that's what fear can do: Steal your peace, over time. That's what imaginations, speculations and lofty things are like.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
The man tells of waking up in the middle of the night and waking his wife who says: what are you doing (as he was lacing his sneakers to go for a walk)?
And he said, "That guy thinks I'm a spiritual fruit loop."
And he went on and on about all these thoughts he had been having that were really bumming him out that he thought this well-known Bible teacher was thinking about his writing.
And his wife said, "That man never said those things! Those are imaginations, cast those things down right now in Jesus' name and come back to bed."
And he quickly realized she was right: but they had sounded so real. Those thoughts were so convincing: until he shared them with someone who could help him to really hear them.
I thought the IRS was a huge contributor to killing my dad. But they really weren't: his beliefs about the IRS are what contributed to his death. (Along with the Scotch, the Heinekens, the stress, the Merit Ultra light 100s and the broken heart from losing my mom.)
What are you giving permission to rip you off? To steal your peace or your perspective?
Marleys next line is:
"Rise up this mornin',
Smile with the risin' sun..."
Someone hilarious said it isn't like Jesus is wringing His hands, pacing the hallways of heaven all stressed about what's going to happen to me.
So, say a little prayer for the collection troops at Internal Revenue and let's get about our own internal re-venue.