Anxiety. I never really struggled with it. And by never really struggled with, mean I have had it all my life and never known what to call it until recently.
Here's some pretty obvious signs:
Emergency Room for Stomach Ulcers (17-18 years old)
Grinding Teeth / Locked Jaw (13-17 years old, and occasionally now)
Physically Nauseous (now, and more often than normal for a non-pregnant woman)
Mental Exhaustion / Mid-Sentence Black Outs (now, more and more frequently)
Obsessive Analysis of Dumb Shit (now, especially at night)
Overeating in Times of Uncertainty (on and off for years)
Now, I am a woman who currently has a VERY heavy work load, and in some ways even heavier social life. One would think that a person of my busyness wouldn't have time to obsess over things that regular people don't even notice. But alas, myself and every other person with anxiety will tell you, we are all "hyper-feelers". Meaning we feel things so deeply and intensely that the tiniest fluctuation in a persons voice can have us obsessing for hours later on what it meant, if they like us, if something is wrong, etc. (So just imagine how we handle actual passive aggression, lol.)
Positive Side: We are gifted with discernment and are a pretty straight judge of character. We CHERISH the people in our lives who don't stir up that red flag in our hearts, and are really great gift givers (because we obsessively pay attention, lol).
Downside: We make ourselves sick analyzing situations, invest an unhealthy amount of ourselves into other peoples lives, miss out on joy by internalizing minor problems as major, and have a hard time drawing boundaries without feeling guilty.
I have a million things I want to say here to make you understand, get you to sympathize, and really SEE how heavy this thing is for me. In a sense, I'm tempted to "rally the troops" to my side of all conflicts...but I'm not going to. Instead I'll cut straight to the chase:
Recently, I've been feeling over-overwhelmed. You know, that feeling of I-can't-take-another-thing; and then five more things happen. People who really know me ask how I'm doing, and all I can muster in response is "I'm so, so tired..."
Simultaneously I'm the happiest I've ever been. Surrounded by good people, so in love and grateful for my marriage, living in a beautiful blessing of a life, and have absolutely no reason to complain!
Yet, I've been feeling beaten up by my mind.
Obsessive of my own faults. Replaying my part in situations from long ago, and saddened. Things I don't want to think about have been on the forefront of my mind, and I can't run away fast enough anymore. I can't seem to "take my thoughts captive", however hard I try. They catch me off guard, and even if I dismiss them right away, they've left their mark for me to obsessively try to fend off more thoughts about for the rest of the day.
Let me clarify too, that these thoughts are not confessional. I don't have some big secret that's bursting at the seems, or trying to claw its way to the light. They are just thoughts on the little things. The little wrongs. Real relationships with real people who I'm not able to fix things with anymore.
The reason I share this is because today, I received some encouragement that truly helped.
I bet I'm not the only one who deals with this, and if you're still reading this you could probably use a lightening of your load too.
The encouragement that came this morning was very simple, and very unexpected. It wasn't someone telling me that I'm right in a certain situation, or empowering me to remove toxic friendships from my life, or anything else of that sort.
It was a song. A worship song I've listened to many times and loved many years that surprised me when one of its lines burst from my lips in my kitchen.
Where it came from? Only God knows how He summoned me to speak it out when I wasn't even paying attention. Only He knew what kind of release it would give me to speak it out loud. I felt the soothing heaviness of peace bring me to my knees, in a world longing to sweep my mind every which way. Everything, including my racing mind, completely melted away; because it just wasn't as real as the presence of God.
I'm so thankful for that moment. I'm tearing up even now, just thanking God that He gives us what we don't deserve. Peace. Rest. Grace.
SOAK THAT IN.
Its so easy to breeze past a moment like this in a blog, and not let it saturate your soul with the power of its truth. But its for you too, friend.
All of your failures, all the things done by you and to you, they all disappear when Jesus speaks over us. We are not our own anymore, we are His...and delightfully so. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Speak that line out, wherever you are, right now:
"As You speak, a hundred billion failures disappear."
I am so happy that Paul was in JAIL (where I'm sure he was feeling anxious, betrayed, and stressed) when he wrote:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
I had a much needed taste of peace today, and I'm praying for you to share in it. Nobody should be carrying such heavy loads. Nobody should be kept up all night, unable to turn their thoughts off and truly recharge.
We all need a good rest, and I'm finding mine in God's grace today. If you're needing some too and want someone to pray with you, I happily volunteer! Email me, and we will make it happen. :) firstname.lastname@example.org