all the true things
Today I am choosing the true things, because my brain and body are all wiggetywack. Yes, a word. Maybe. I don't know. DO REAL WORDS REALLY MATTER RIGHT NOW?!
I am recovering from anxiety and depression. I've talked about this a little bit from time to time. I say "recovering" because God continues to reveal His sufficiency when I am anxious. The whole "sometimes He calms the storm, sometimes He calms His child" idea. I go long stretches with no symptoms, then perhaps a season of requiring so much attention and grace as my body responds anxiously to life transitions and changes. But let me explain what's going on these days. Because we have all the upheaval going on in our home and all the hope and waiting. And the combination of this, plus that whole BEING BOUND TO TIME thing is making for interesting days. Hard days. But faith days.
For years, my emotions have responded a particular way to crisis, frustration, anxiety, delay, fatigue...allthethings. My brain is so used to this response, that it starts to gear up (or maybe it amps up) by sending a swirling array of thoughts to the forefront. It's like wearing anxiety goggles, because when this happens, my vision is blurry and I can't hear very well. It's hard to shake out of the whirlwind of words and thoughts which, on a good day, are fairly nonstop. I am a thinker. This is a gift from God. But I am a thinker. And what God intended for good, the enemy will work to distort.
Something differently is happening this time, however, and it's taken some help and a step back to truly see the work of God in me. The whirlwind of thoughts is beginning to look distant...like not a part of me. When the thoughts begin to suggest that I may not be safe...that all this work is foolish...that God will inevitably let me down...that I don't want to do hard work...it is beginning to look like the bullcrap it is.
I know. Super profound.
My body and brain are so used to responding a certain way to conflict and difficulty, that they begin this response process...and a still, small voice in my mind has started whispering, Hey...you know that's not true. It's not condemning or angry-sounding. It's a gentle suggestion. And I hear it and my body is all BUT THIS IS HOW WE ALWAYS RESPOND TO CRISIS WE FREAK OUT AND THINK ALL THE THINGS.
And there, in the mind of Christ in me, the small voice responds, Yeah, but we don't have to anymore. Remember? Remember Whose we are? Remember the Life indwelling us? I think we have another option.
So, with a lot of help from very patient friends and a really tender husband, I am grasping for the other option: true thinking and faithful being.
Those thoughts swirl around up there and instead of thrashing around trying to solve them (which is my biggest deterrent to truth, y'all - trying to solve the thoughts with the power of my intellect *eyeroll but really*), I get to take a deep breath and let them wash over me like a wave.
True thinking is not letting those thoughts have the final say. They start to swell and I steady myself with what I know is real: God doesn't leave me. His plans are purposeful. God is kind. This isn't just a physical battle - this is spiritual. I have everything I need to respond to my circumstances. He is a good Father; He is not a tricky, manipulative one.
Faithful being is not letting those thoughts determine my choices. I have a lot of options available to me. I have availed myself of a variety of fruitless alternatives to faith in the past. But I believe that God has been carving out an endurance in me that compels me to draw from a deeper place. I don't have to draw from "cry and text all my friends in between bites of chocolate", when there is available to me, "Tell my soul who is boss and do the thing".
We all have a lot going on. Each of us has a list of completely valid reasons to just lay on the couch eating popcorn and watching Friends (not that I speak from experience, *ahem*) or have total meltdowns before breakfast (again). Sometimes we have to do the melting down and the tv-watching to get to the real part: Jesus is still enough.
Sometimes I do anxiety before I do faith, and I bet a lot of us are like that. It's okay for us to feel the feelings. But then we get to discard them and get on with the faithful thing, choosing to override what anxiety or fear offers us.
This will take practice.
I will keep needing my patient friends and my tender husband and I will probably keep messing it up and having those pre-breakfast meltdowns. But God is redeeming my emotions and I can get back up, wipe my tears, take a deep breath, and get on with true and faithful living.
Because Jesus is enough.