Certain text messages make my stomach leap into my mouth. Not in a good feeling new girl kind of way, but more like a Mom yelling your full legal name with counting kind of way. Sometimes one sentence can change your life.
I’ve been proud of myself lately. It feels like a new chapters being written. I don’t really know how to convey what it is. So, this is my processing. Ok, and my favorite part is how nothing is truly different in my life. I don’t have a new girl, I don’t have a new friend, I don’t have a new thing, but life feels a little new and good again. I’ve been waking up wanting to make my bed and see what the day has in store. I’ve been enjoying people more, and I can’t put my finger on any one thing.
Maybe you’re like me and you can pin point specific words or sentences that have changed your whole life’s direction. In fifth grade I was told by a classmate how I was a “heavy breather”. So, I stopped. In fourth grade I had a friend tell me, “you walk like a duck”. So, I stopped. In high school I was told I was “funny”. And so, I kept it up. I cared a lot about what other people thought of me. I still do. A lot.
Anxiety is cruel. It takes you by the throat, entangles you with it’s monstrous arms, and leaves you short of breath. It’s like a cuddly anaconda waiting to strike you down with fear and trembling. It has a great way of leaving you completely guilty and self absorbed. It comes in silently, sometimes you don’t know where it came from. It can be in the form of too much coffee, uncertainty, or control. And most of my anxiety comes from me.
Part of what I have been learning, or these new feelings come from a few short sentences. All from different people. Maybe they can help.
“Are you in this for others, or for you? Do you pray more for yourself or others?”
“Faith is…Just keep going”
“You have what it takes”
Several times this summer I have been shown what Jesus looks like. It was walking around camp with a friend, and this friend stopped and cared deeply for everyone they knew that they passed by. I watched friends care, give, and enjoy one another. I was given, and watched people give intentionally thought through gifts. I watched friends call each other out, forgive one another, and be better people for it. I was able to see friends serve, love, and pray. I saw people truly enjoy others, even the people hard to love or enjoy. I watched friends play guitar while others listened as if they were playing the greatest song they have ever heard. I have been able to see Jesus in distinct and clear ways.
So this is what I know. To get rid of anxiety, quit focusing on yourself. To stop anxious thoughts, pray for others. Anxiety comes from many things, but I believe mine to come from self absorption. To be relieved of stress, just keep going. Remember the truth, and have faith. Do something for others. To stop dwelling on the future, believe and truly know it will all work out. We need to continue to know God believes you have what it takes. Say that to yourself. You truly have what it takes. We are not meant to gain full life for selfish reasons. Full life only comes from giving yours away. Right? So, breath. It is all going to work.
May we be known as people focused on others. May we be known by how we pause and care about the people in front of us. May we see interruptions as kingdom moments, and not disruptions. Can we be people who are stress free and full of faith? Usually my train derails when I am too self focused. Let us right our wrongs, and re focus. again.