I have talked about how anxiety was a major issue in my life until this last month or two…well, I’ve been on the recovery road for about 4 months now. As in all things that become a pattern in our lives, once we break that pattern it takes a while for the habit part of it to lessen and go away.
Anxiety has a pattern. For me, I would see something that looks like too big of a challenge, or be an impossible task, or something that I don’t want to do, eventhough it’s probably just fine, and there you have it, anxiety.
I was always finding things that made me anxious, things I couldn’t control. I would be nervous about the possiblility of having an accident, so I didn’t want to drive (but I did) then I would be anxious while driving. I would think about not wanting to drive back home because I was terrified of the weather conditions, or what have you.
There are so many instances where I was living in fear. Fear begets anxiety/worry. Fear of the unknown, not being able to control other people.. what will people think?….There were many areas that I was letting fear and anxiety CONTROL ME.
As I was letting those things go and as I was recognizing the physical feeling of becoming anxious, I would pray about it and send fear “into the pit” (let it go)and instead embrace the gifts from God that he gives us, such as peace, confidence and joy and release them into my life. The transformation I have seen has been encouraging. I have seen myself calm down in ways I had no idea that I had been anxious in.
Then, there was getting ready for a trip to Jamaica, where I found myself all wound up about the trip. Would we get it all done? Was everything ready for me to be gone from the kids for over a week? Would we crash? What would my family do if that happened? Would we get through customs? Would we make it around those crazy Jamaican highways? So many ways to be anxious. I started practicing a prayer I’ve recited recently that has healed me in my nervous ways and then peace started overtaking me. I was calm. I also told myself, in each situation we found ourselves in, that would normally make me obsess about it, that worrying about it wouldn’t stop it from happening anyways. So there, calm down, silly!
Suddenly, we were in Jamaica, and they (the Jamaicans) told me there were no more worries, Mon! I believed them and felt peace. I believed God had us in his hands and the trip went so incredibly smooth.
I had another opportunity to panic while snorkelling in the Caribbean Sea. Since my brother died of drowning when I was five, I’ve had a terrible fear of suffocating in water. I have dreamed fearful dreams of my kids drowning in water. It’s nasty stuff. So when I actually had to put my face in the big ol’ sea and start breathing (with a snorkel), it felt completely unnatural and the fear threatened to invade. I said to myself, people do this ALL the time…look at them, they are. I must be able to do this without panicking. After a few false starts I started trusting myself, that my breathing would continue and that I could DO IT! Down I went again. And I did it!!! I did it!!
It may not seem brave to you or anything of significance, but getting through that sensation of not being able to do it and then doing it became a source of strength. God gave me the healing I needed to bring more healing. but snorkeling in a big ol’ sea and around barracuda, coral, sea urchins and other “terrifying” things… it was COOL! So cool! I got to swim for an hour eventually around a coral reef and hold a puffer fish, a sea cucumber (nasty) and hold a creepy crawly starfish (so incredible). I got to touch a hermit crab (large one) who lived in a conch shell. I was able to see a giant crab and saw barracuda swimming beside me. I think I held a puffer fish too or another puffy spiky thing (I can’t remember). I did these things because I decided fear wasn’t going to rule my life, Jesus is. Woo hoo!
Then on the way back to Canada, we had some turbulence, where I may have previously obsessed about how terrible it would be if we crashed, but then kept on reading my book.
I have many areas of potential fear, worry or obsessing about what COULD happen and what WILL happen. I pray I can face them head on and look at what GOD CAN DO instead. HE is making me a new creature. He knows my days, he knows what I will face, and I don’t need to worry because even if hard times come, I know the guy who is in REAL control. That would be the One who made the Universe.
Seriously, this vacation was all about some transformation in my life. It wasn’t all about getting a break from the intensity of our lives, no it was to become more ready in ways I hadn’t really considered being areas of needed change.
It was a fun way to do it though. Thank you Jesus!