Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:6-8
Late Thursday night, early Friday morning I was awake – it was about 3am and I was wide awake. I felt sick, my heart was heavy and yet fluttery, and my mind was racing. I had this overwhelming feeling that something was wrong, a sense of dread.
I should have been sleeping like a baby. I’m on holidays for two weeks, we have no big plans – just a couple of weeks of hanging around our home (read haven) relaxing, recuperating.
I quickly racked my brain for the cause of the sleep disturbance and it became clear. It’s the second or third time that my boy has gone to spend the extra night a fortnight at his other home. It was a decision that I made that I didn’t want to. It was permission I gave when I didn’t want to. And there I was. Regretting it again, this time at 3am. Why did I do it? Because I think it is the right thing to do. He has, every couple of years, increased his time at his other family’s home. This time though hit me pretty hard. I’m still trying to work out why. Maybe, up until now, in the back of my mind I’ve still felt as though I’m in control of things when it comes to my life and my boy. Notice the possessive pronoun my there! Hmm not great, right?
Maybe it is just that he’s getting older, he’s growing up and now more than ever I’m hoping that I’ve helped to plant some good seeds in his heart and mind. Notice the use of hoping rather than praying.
Either way I couldn’t get back to sleep. Nagging thoughts of something’s wrong… you shouldn’t have been cranky at him over that little thing as he left.. what if you never see him again now…
Yes it’s a mind running wild in the middle of the night. Mine has the propensity, predisposition to do that. It’s not good. My lovely husband woke up too, maybe it was my sighing, my turning from side to side, but he woke up, he talked me down a little and prayed with me – very good to have him there.
I’m starting to realise that perhaps I have an issue with anxiety. I have had in the past and obviously there are times with this complex life we live that it rears its head. I think that I’ve always thought it was fear but just tonight I’ve come face to face with the fact that perhaps it is the cousin of fear that I deal with, anxiety.
Anxiety is described as:
a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
“he felt a surge of anxiety”
synonyms: worry, concern, apprehension, apprehensiveness, consternation, uneasiness, unease, fearfulness, fear, disquiet, disquietude, perturbation, fretfulness, agitation, angst, nervousness, nerves, edginess, tension, tenseness, stress, misgiving, trepidation, foreboding, suspense
Tonight, discontent with the viewing options for the evening, we, via Apple TV, watched a podcast from Max Lucado on the topic of anxiety. What a wise choice there, made by that man of mine. I will add here that I was quietly, passively, resistant to the idea. I think that it is the sinful nature that still exists within. The love of holding on to these things that I know shackle me. The low grade constant anxiety that runs in me, sometimes is correct. Maybe I have a little bit of a love of saying “See! I knew something was going to go wrong, I was right! ” Though in reality I’m not so sure the joy of being right about one in 1000 worries makes the 999 others worth the time, energy or toll on my wellbeing. I’m not certain that it even makes the one worthwhile.
Max Lucado describes anxiety as being something that divides the mind.
Anxious for nothing, is a 12 week series and I believe that it has the cure I’m looking for.
You can catch it on Vimeo (here) iTunes (here), even on the church website (here) It is focussed on the passage in Philippians 4. Look it up, if you are always feeling, as I am, that something is about to go wrong – it might be worth your while checking in.
Now I know that the life we live in our household is complex. When I have seen counsellors in the past and they too, very quickly, acknowledge that we have a very complex, dynamic situation operating. We have children who come and go, we have different numbers of children each weekend, we have several days a fortnight with all three of them, other days with two, other days with one and a couple with none of them, we are definitely a household in a permanent state of flux. It is complex it is difficult to keep up sometimes, they are all changing, they are all growing up, they come back different each week, they leave different at the end of each week. We are around for half of their time they’re around for half of ours and it is hard for us all to keep up with each other. It is hard to make plans when you know members of the family are going to miss out. It is hard to postpone things all the time so that one or two don’t miss out. It’s hard then not to over schedule when we all are together, it becomes overwhelming because you’re trying so desperately to include everyone. It’s an almost impossible balancing act. And I’ll be honest I do envy people who have the ability to commit to weekend activities who can sign up for fortnightly “anythings”.
This life for me is one in which I am often feeling as though something might be about to go wrong. Sometimes that is based on past experience, and sometimes it is realised, but others it is not. One of the causes of anxiety is a life of constant change. Max Lucado in this first podcast outlined some of the statistics relating to anxiety and people in our time/era. One of the comments he made was our world has seen more change in the last 30 years than in the previous 300. I’m 39 I guess that means my life has mostly been about keeping up with change.
But guess what, I don’t think that this lifestyle provides me with the loop hole that allows me to be in the running for the Mrs. Anxiety crown this year. Or the inspiration for the new Anxiety Girl.
Philippians 4 applies to me. In fact it applies to me and my type more than I had ever imagined. It applies to our kids too. My friend, it applies to you and it applies to many in your circle of friends too. In a life that is in a constant state of flux what we need is a stabiliser and I believe that this passage is the one that provides it. I believe that my Saviour is the one who will provide it. I believe my friends that now is the time for me, for us to really engage with the promise that is contained therein.
It’s time for me and you to take it on board at a heart level rather than the surface reading I’ve been doing for years. Time to stop underlining it in all of my Bibles and time to start writing it on my heart and in my mind.
I’m going to give it a go.