Last week I wrote this long message about the R.E.S.T. that I was able to get and how it was soothing to my soul. Yet this past Saturday, a whole five days later, I was in panic mode as I frantically wondered how I was going to get everything accomplished that needed to be done.
As I mentioned somewhere along the line, I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) so routines and structure are essential to me. And as this week approached, I felt anxiety begin to overwhelm me as it became obvious that my routine would be thrown out of whack in the very near future. I’m a planner. I plan my life down to the minute and I was preparing to enter into a situation that was completely out of my control, something that would throw plans out of the window- I was watching my niece and nephews for five days as my sister went on a business trip. I love them all but I really had to weigh internally what I loved more, them or my routine… and seeing as though I am just coming down from an anxiety attack, I don’t think I quite have that answer yet.
Let me start off by saying that I am not a mother (but I’m a pretty okay auntie) and I have to commend those who are mothers, especially single mothers. As I watch my sisters and sistah friends juggle they own wants and needs versus the needs of parenthood, I can’t help but realize that they are truly anointed by God. Call me selfish or spoiled if you must, but I literally have anxiety and panic attacks (labored breathing, blurred vision, uncontrollable shaking, etc.) when my life does not flow according to the schedule that I have laid out. So when I knew that the day was coming to be with my niece and nephews, all I could think was, “what about my bowel movements?”
Seriously, I am probably way too honest.
Stress and anxiety cause me so much physical pain and ceased bowel movements are just the biggest and most common reaction. I have anxiety attacks when I know that I will be staying away from home because I begin to think about all of the bags of stuff that I must carry in order to survive one day outside of my home. Even right now, I had to carry a suitcase, a large shopping bag, two lunch bags, my Chromebook bag, and my church bag just to stay down the street from my home… and I have to go home daily for food and clothes for the next day. Being a gluten-free vegan with a lot of allergies means that I carry a LOT of things when I travel… and the stress of packing always causes me anxiety.
Ha! And I’m the same person who wants to go on a mission trip to some remote part of the world to preach the Gospel. How, Sway???
But I digress…
In the days leading up to today my mind conveniently forgot all of the words of last week’s #MondayMessage as I sat in anxiety worried about how I would be able to meet the demands of my routine and life, while also caring for three teenagers and my spastic colon.
How do parents do this???
As I sat in my worry (because no matter how I try to cute-sy the word, it was worry), I did something that I had never done in The Dark Place… I reached out to others and asked them to pray for me. I did just as James 5:14 instructs and reached out to my circle asking them to take me and my worries before the Lord. Then when I asked, I also turned myself over to God and stopped worrying about it all.
I stopped worrying about how I would be able to meet three important and fixed deadlines.
I stopped worrying about how my colon would react to me being away from home.
I stopped worrying about how I felt about a detoured schedule.
I stopped worrying and started praying.
Funny thing is, as I started praying to God, I found more things that I needed to pray about. When I started talking to God about one thing, His Holy Spirit revealed other areas that needed my immediate prayers. And once praying for others, my “necessities” paled in comparison.
Beloved, I’m honestly not sure where I intended for this message to go originally but right now, here we are. We are at the place where I realize that I live in a constant tug of war with my anxiety disorder (oh yeah, I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder in 2016, though I no longer take medicine for that or anything else) and a desired sense of normalcy. We are at the place where I know my God is very much real, but so are my physical pains and emotions. We are at the place where I seek to help others draw closer to God by being [overly] transparent, while trying not to hurt or offend those that I love most. We are at the point where I have grown tired of my routine and schedule but feel so bound to them at the same time.
We are here at the divine crossroads of flesh versus faith.
What will win? What is the cost of the win? What must die so that the victor can live?
Michelle, in her humanity, does not have an immediate answer. But in light of Jesus Who fought and won every battle that I could ever enter, I know that faith must win out.
Yes, I know Jesus, and yet sometimes, I still know conflict.
I realized that KNOWING Him is not enough… I must live in Him.. and that means dying to self/flesh.
Title, website, ministry, and poised packaged product aside- I struggle.
Today I do not have an overly inspirational message, I simply have an honest message:
I struggle, too.
The thing is, Christ never promised that this life would be easy, He just promised that He would always be with us. So today I am choosing to walk with Him, but in order to do that, I have to lay aside my worries, stress, and struggles.
…because, after all, I can’t carry my cross and my problems at the same time.
Pray with me, friends…