08 April 2012

So Much More Than Heaven

Easter morning. Flowers blooming, birds chirping, the grass is green and even the air smells of new life. The red buds on the mountain tell us that what the winter tamped down is rising again. All of creation speaks of spring and the bursting forth of new life that cannot be conquered, regardless of the cold, dark death of winter.  It's as if the earth is telling The Story. He is painting a picture with life - with all that surrounds us.

This morning I am captured by the wonder of Cadbury mini-eggs with my coffee.  The crunch of the delicate shell, then sweet and creamy chocolate melting over your tongue and washed away with the hot delicious bitterness of dark roast with cream.  A simple pleasure that rouses the senses. Even this sensual indulgence can bring me to a point of worship. He gave me the ability to enjoy this treat and provided all of the makings. It is His, all of it is His and he shares it with me.

The talk of Easter is death and resurrection to new life. We no longer have to fear the end of this life because we know a price has been paid, the wrongs have been made right. We have the hope of heaven because of Jesus.  So much of what we focus on as believers is the end of our lives and where we will go when we die.  But it is about so.much.more.  Jesus also defeated the things that would cripple us and defeat us as we live these lives. Every day can be accomplished victoriously because of the cross.  Jesus died to defeat my anxious soul. This beautiful Easter morning, I will hold on to that for all that I am worth.

Thank you Jesus for Cadbury mini-eggs and the power to overcome my anxiety. 

07 April 2012

A Mile in the Moccasins of Not Trusting God Enough

One of the worst parts of having an anxiety disorder is being anxious about being anxious.

When I share openly how I'm feeling, I get the impression that my anxiety is looked at as a weakness.  I read a quote recently that said "Anxiety is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of having tried to remain strong for too long."  Yep. Try 40ish years.

Here is the hard-core truth: I do not want to be anxious. Telling me to take a  few deep breaths, take a walk, calm down, try yoga, give it to God, not to worry, yadda yadda yadda only increases the anxiousness that I am feeling - because now on top of the internal pressure, I am anxious about not performing to a standard that suits you.

Recently a friend asked me if I trusted God at all. The most honest answer to that question is, not really. I trust that He loves me, I trust that He cares about me. I trust that whatever happens, He will be there to help me pick up the pieces and ultimately use it all for my good. The trouble with all of this for me is that there is still a lot of hard shit and deep, muddy water sometimes to trudge through in the process.  God has allowed it in the past and He very well might allow it again.  That is where the fear lies - what will I have to go through to get where God wants to take me?  What else am I going to have to survive?

I love the way the Message puts this in Matthew 6:27

"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch?"

I am under no impression that my worry or anxiety is making any impact on reality, whatsoever. This past week there was a tornado nest forming itself around my oldest daughter where she lives thousands of miles away from me in Texas.  When I read that one was touching down in her town and she posted on Facebook that tornado sirens were going off and I couldn't get in touch with her by phone or text, the fears and thoughts were swirling as fast as those torrential winds.  Here's a little peek into the thought stream of a full-blown panic attack:
"Does she know to get out of the third floor? Is there anywhere to go? Why isn't Gary answering his phone? Did she even think to ask that when she moved in there? She's on foot because she doesn't have a car yet, so there's no way to get anywhere else. Why won't she answer her phone?  I hope she doesn't try to walk from her apartment building to the complex office once the tornado is there. Bathtub! They have a huge bathtub - she can get in that. Oh, she'll need to pull her mattress on top of her. I wonder if she has listened when I told her these things. Oh Jesus! Why isn't she answering her phone? GOD please keep her safe. (this was about all the prayer I could mutter) Where is Jacob? Oh Lord I hope he's not on a roof somewhere."
It just went on and on and on like this for a couple of hours. Even once I reached her by phone, the weather hadn't cleared yet.  I did not think at any point that I could stop the tornadoes, but I did worry my girl would be safe in a way that was crippling and paralyzing.  In contrast, my boss' son who is a college student in that neck of the woods of Texas received a text message from his parents asking if he was alright.

Sometimes well meaning people advise me to "trust God", not realizing it just makes me feel like more of a failure, like.I'm.failing.God.  He knows that I am dust. He knows my frailties and my weaknesses. He knows the capacity I have for trust, and if I am trusting enough.

There are a lot of things that have happened to bring me here. The truth of the matter is that nobody wants it to go away more than I do. I hate it that it has frustrated people that love me and that my friends don't know what to say or do. Sometimes the best medicine is a hug and hearing "it's going to be okay". Please know that I am trying. Short of taking a handy-dandy handful of pills that the doctor is more than willing to prescribe which will offer me a number of other side effects and drug reactions to put in place of the anxiety and numb me of every other feeling, pain or pleasure - I am doing absolutely everything I can to work on this day by day. I've re-instituted my yoga routine, I'm doing a Beth Moore study on Esther that illustrates God using the most adverse circumstances for someone's ultimate good (pay attention Julie!), I'm starting a self-help class that helps re-wire your brain so you learn to process stresses differently, I attended a recovery Bible study faithfully for 6 months even though I was the.only.regular attendee with my loving Sasquatch by my side and I have also been doing several other things that I won't mention for fear of how weird they might sound.  My body even betrays me, when I'm feeling calm mentally, suddenly my pulse will be soaring with a heart rate of 100+.

This is a process. Healing is a process.  The healing is emotional, mental and physical.  The damage didn't happen overnight and it isn't going to heal overnight. Be patient with me and and in so doing, help me learn to be patient with myself. I'm a work in progress.