I have had a series of very anxiety filled weeks. My body even began to respond to the stress and I became ill, with one thing after another. Some of the stress was self-induced, in that I had committed to more than I could bite off. But then as the commitments passed on, the anxiety did not. This was not a month void of quiet times or prayer through out the day. In fact I had just followed through in my dreaded 6:00a.m. commitment to wake up before my family to get that alone time for my heart. I do not have an answer for why my quiet times and prayer were not enough. It has reminded me of the psalms where the guys are asking things like Lord how long will you leave me here? My couch is flooded with tears all day long. That type stuff. Ditto button. It seemed that there was something deeper bound up in me. A distrust. A wavering. An underlying self-reliance. I have no idea. Just tense. Suuuper tense.
I felt the Lord brings two words to me recently.
One was that I needed to submit myself to my community in the body of Christ and have them intercede for me when I am in a place when I am feeling bound. The Lord asks us so carry one another’s burdens and in this way we fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). I often view my relationship with the Lord as “my” personal relationship. And this is true and also not true. I do have a relationship with him but I am part of the bride of Christ, and it is the Lord’s desire that we all become built up in him and attain fullness in Christ in that way (Eph 4:13). These are the exact type circumstances when I need to stop wrestling with my boot straps and experience what the body of Christ is meant to do for one another. I very often come to friends, my bible study, my community group aaaafter the fact. Like after the train wreck a few weeks later I come stumbling up telling them what happened, showing them my wounds and telling them that I eventually got out of it okay. Bizarre. Why do I not ask for help in the middle of my crisis?
A ridiculous desperate attempt for this as a mom of three who was doing a playdate with my sweet mommy friend, Mariah, mom of three was to pray over each other right before me and my crew left to go home. All six kiddos were doing flips on furniture in like three different rooms of the house with leotards and tutus flying and some of them being silly with chanting and clapping. I sat my rear right beside my friend's and with laughter we determined that we would pray until we were done, "come @#!*% or high water" as the saying goes. And I am pretty sure both of those came while we were praying, but hey I did the unusual thing of asking for prayer and the unusual thing of insisting we do it right then. And you know what? So glad we did. Loved that. I will keep pushing more for good time like that, even when all common sense is saying, hey maybe you should peel that five year old off the roof (of the play house, not to worry). :)
The other word came after I talked to my mom on the phone after a week or so of this. She said it reminded her of when I lived in
It’s hard to describe to others who find a plane flight so relaxing and fiction book worthy how I suffered from horrible tormenting mental images of myself dangling from the sky in my seat, as I bent over in Jason’s lap in sheer terror. I know that in some light this is the same root of anxiety that flares up in me when I have a rough week with my feet on the ground, running in a thousand directions. If you were to ask me what was really going on, I would say that I don’t trust man. And some man, or rather group of men, designed, built and pieced together this metal contraption. And add to that another team of men, who are very underpaid (I say this not to degrade but from insider info since someone in my family had this job) checking certain simple, but essential, mechanics of the plane last minute before it takes off like a rocket into the air. I am 100% certain that man is fallible. So how can I close my eyes for a doze or allow myself to get caught up in fiction fantasy when my LIFE is dangling in the sky, locked inside a heavy piece of machinery?
So. On to my word before I forget why I started writing this and cancel our family’s vacation to
I was very randomly reading Job. Can’t even remember why, and apparently that’s not why anyway, so it doesn’t matter. What matters is this verse:
Job 26:7 “He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; HE SUSPENDS THE
Okay so when I read that I LAUGHED outloud. That is seriously the BEST verse to give someone struggling with anxiety. Usually I would say verses like “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” would be the best verse. But for me…This. Is. It. I mean, it’s backwards in it’s encouragement because now part of me is panicked about the ground I stand on being suspended over the black endless nothingness that is the universe. Of course I would worry. I am bent to create all kinds of fears in my head. BUT it is also perfect. Because here I am in my everyday life with two feet on the dirt, trusting God with my life and my being and my ways. And simultaneously God himself is daily holding the earth up above the abyss of NOTHING. These two situations ARE the same! And in both situations I have a Sovereign Provider and Creator. As I mentioned in a recent blog, Matthew says that not one sparrow falls to the ground apart from the will of the Father. And then it says “Do not be afraid” because I am worth more than a sparrow.
I have no idea what is going on inside of me. Why this anxiety is persisting. I feel the Father telling me to "test the spirits" because I feel something evil compelling me to just lay down, duck out, give up and believe things that are utterly false about me, my family, and my circumstances. Obviously that is demonic. The other Voice I am compelled to listen to is telling me that Psalm 68 says that the Lord daily carries my burdens. He tells me that in Exodus 16 the Lord instructs the people to collect the manna that they will need for that day and John 6 tells me that my Daily Bread is another name for Jesus himself. He tells me that somehow I should rejoice in my suffering because he intends it to produce something...perseverence, character and hope. And that I will not be disappointed. I feel the Spirit prodding me. Compelling me towards leaning on the prayers of others, toward repenting more quickly than ever, toward purity of thought and deed, and BELIEF.
The same way I have to intentionally, with a determined and set mind have to trust God while I am flying at 30,000 feet I have to practice that same intentionality here on the ground. It's funny to say it that way b/c I never saw that anxiety in me on the ground like I do now, but that fear and tenseness I feel when I'm that high is what I've got going on here now. Yet the Lord says that in both places I am dangling, vulnerable, weak...and provided for. In both places my life is suspended in his hands and my feet dangle from the heights, but I have a place to put the trust in my heart. I have to believe that they are the same. And that there is a Creator who is suspending my life over all my days. I hang by his strength and He is the one that I am to hold fast to, because there's no sense in clutching so tightly these "arm rests" that I am gripping at my sides.
Lord give me more grace.