I had a completely different #MondayMessage planned for today. I was supposed to talk about my vision for my 30s versus my reality… but then yesterday happened and God changed things up. So, let’s rewind to yesterday…
My best friend, Amy, and I talk every single day. We have been inseparable since we met 25 years ago and, despite our geographical distance from one another, we grow closer every single day. So imagine my surprise when I called her for our weekly church recap and she didn’t answer. Her missing the first call wasn’t surprising, but when I realized that she hadn’t responded to any text messages (we are on several group chats), I began to worry. By about 6pm I was officially worried and I reached out to her mother. Surely mama had spoken to Amy and could quench my rising anxiety.
Sorry, Chelle; I haven’t spoken to her since Thursday.
No, mama, that’s the wrong response! By now my heart was racing and my mind was going faster than that. I was fully worried and nothing short of hearing Amy’s voice was going to make me better. You see, I’m from Baldamore (Baltimore). Home of The Wire, Homicide: Life on the Street, and unfathomable crimes. My cousin was murdered in her own home earlier this year, my high school classmate stepped outside one night to grab something from his car and was killed (albeit a few years ago), and another classmate was car jacked… all in Baltimore. When my loved ones don’t answer, my mind goes to the worst possible scenario and stays there until I hear their voice. Granted, Amy does not currently live in Baltimore… oh no, she lives in Detroit… the only place with a worse reputation than Baltimore…
With all of that running through my mind, I chatted with another sistah-friend who worked hard to keep my off of the situation at hand. She let me tell jokes and didn’t complain as I complained about having to do my hair. She listened intently and, I am sure, offered up many prayers on both my and Amy’s behalf. She waited patiently as I waited frantically and she never flinched not one bit.
When Amy finally called me back around 930pm after having fallen asleep (FOR SIX HOURS!), my sistah-friend rejoiced with me. She expressed her joy in knowing that Amy was well and then asked me one simple question:
Where was your faith?
Did she not know that I had just overcome a mini heart attack and that I had half a mind to drive out to Detroit to kick Amy for making me worry so much? Why would she ask me about my faith?
Truth is, I don’t know where my faith had run off to but it definitely wasn’t present in those passing hours. My thoughts grew increasingly negative as I sat in proverbial silence waiting to hear from Amy. I thought the worst and I didn’t know how to turn my brain off. My sistah-friend was right; I had replaced faith with unnecessary fear and that fear was giving birth to disturbing anxiety.
Where was my faith?
Beloved, as I sit and reflect on how I went from 0 to 1000 so quickly, my heart recalls Matthew 6:25-34. While Jesus was making a comparison to something totally different, He was telling us that worry and anxiety have no place in the lives of Believers. By choosing to walk in fear or anxiety, we are saying that we do not trust God or the plans that He has for our lives.
I am not perfect.
I spent this weekend on both sides of the anxiety coin and all that I can share from my experience is that it sucks. There is nothing worse than feeling like you are not in control of your own life, feeling like no matter how hard you try, something else is driving this car of life and you cannot stop it. There is nothing worse than everything being OK one minute and then falling to pieces the next, leaving you to put back together stuff that you didn’t break. That truly sucks and I saw that this weekend. Personally, I am still navigating life on the other side of this GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) diagnosis and I am moving through with no medication- legal or otherwise- and no alcohol. Some days are better than others and on some days I stronger than others… but some days I do ask myself:
Where is your faith?
One day last week I had a dream that my heart can’t forget. A woman was talking to me and she had some mustard seeds in her hand. She isolated one and said to me, “you have to have faith this size.” That’s it, no extra words or explanation, just that I needed to have faith the size of a mustard seed. Yes Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 17:20 so I knew what the phrase meant in general, but I didn’t know what that woman in the dream meant… until last night.