After my post earlier this week, a blogging friend made an encouraging comment, that it sounded like I had been passing through all these exciting events lately “with flying colors”. I was flattered, but realized to accept her praise wouldn’t be entirely honest. In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot about things like anxiety, nerves, stress, and how often I’ve been facing them.
Let me provide an example: my little girl asked me, “Mommy, why did you just say ‘OK’?” I realized that I had been whispering “OK” half out loud, repeatedly, and that she had caught me doing so. I find myself doing this as a strange method of self-coaching when I’m feeling stressed about something. The day we took L to his speech competition, I did this a lot. It usually goes along with a nervous smile and the tightest trapezius muscles ever. While I was inwardly fretting about driving directions, lunches, and getting from A to B on time, my dear boy was searching the competition location’s grounds for good trees to climb. Now that’s wisdom from children!
This leaves me feeling very hypocritical! I talk a good talk about taking captive every thought, about bringing all our troubles to the Lord in prayer, about casting aside anxiety and resting in the peace of Christ…but am I living it these days? My mind has been worked up into a perfect storm of female hormones, human emotion, nervousness, control issues, stress, irritability, poor memory, and fatigue. What a mess!
I can’t in good faith post what I do for this blog, without giving mention to the true colors of my heart! I think of many of the psalms, written from “miry pits” and places of despair, loneliness, anger, fear…I’m not saying I’m feeling all of those things, but what I am saying, and taking comfort in, is that to be a Christian doesn’t mean having everything all together all the time or having all the answers. It also definitely does not mean having a trouble-free life; on the contrary, Jesus actually promises his followers that they/we will face many troubles in this world!
The big question is, where do I go from here? Upon acknowledging the state of things, what do I do?
Re-focus. When I get into a mental funk like this, I often find I’ve been “navel-gazing”. I make everything about me, which is totally backwards. When I re-focus my vision on God, the other things fade away and the things that have been bothering me either don’t matter as much or I have a renewed perspective with which to handle them. “Be Thou My Vision” is one of my favorite hymns, after all.
Rejuvenate. I got little A ready for a nap earlier than usual this morning and we both slept deeply for two hours! She has been struggling with some of the same things as me lately in a more three-year old kind of way, and I’m not sure if these are her unique issues or if she is mirroring what she sees in me. I can tell when my children need extra rest, and know that we both certainly benefitted from that nap today. Sleep is so restorative for my peace of mind, but I also am blessed by talking with family/friends, reading, writing, and exercising.
Remember. I take time to remember God’s love and faithfulness. Whenever we have to correct one of our children, we talk about what went wrong, make amends, but always end with a reminder of our constant love as parents. Letting God’s perfect and everlasting love wash over my heart refreshes me and fills me with everything I need for a godly life. This past Sunday at church, I almost wept in the first line of the first song–tears that would have released all that tension I’d been storing up, much to my own surprise! Praying isn’t just about telling God what we need, but also listening for his voice. I believe I get to hear what God would say to me, through reading of the Bible, songs of praise, testimonies of others, and in quiet moments when I am truly available in my heart.
I told a friend earlier this evening that I feel like I’ve been in a cycle that needs to break. Somehow I’ve been ending up right where I don’t want to be–having spoken sharply, gotten agitated over a trivial matter, driven away loved ones trying to help with my desire to be in control, or missed out on daily joys because I’m mentally distracted and worn out. I know God will pick me up as many times as I fall, but I’m also ready to run, not just stay upright!
“Jesus, here I am again. I can’t do any of this on my own. I have no desire to claim control or victory over anything on my own–I want to give you all the glory, because you alone can change hearts and minds. Thank you for laying down your life for me out of the best love ever known. May I live my life in gratitude and praise!”