Have you ever wondered when life got so heavy? I realized recently that I had begun to wake up most mornings with heaviness in my heart. There was a dread and Anxiety that followed me into the day. At times that heaviness lifted, but other times it pressed upon me until I could hardly function.
I was anxious about many things, most of them real concerns, but my fear had taken over where trust once had resided. I became aware of the increasing lack of margin in my life and it was as if my nerves were raw and on the surface.
Because I felt like my circumstances were so outside of my control, I started to try to regulate and manipulate my surroundings. I felt that if I could get all my ducks in a row, I would be able to control the nagging anxiety that I felt. This flawed thinking led me to rely on what I call Circumstantial Peace. When everything lined up the way that I wanted it to, then I could experience the peace that I longed for.
Well, you know where this is going right? First of all, it is extremely rare for everything to line up the way I want it to all the time. So, I was constantly setting myself up for disappointment and more anxiety.
I looked up some synonyms of anxiety. I found myself in many of these words.
I looked at those words and a fight rose up in my heart. I never, ever would have wanted those words to define me.
I picked up rocks of the people pleasing nature. Maybe I picked them up because I wanted significance or friendship, or maybe just out of the desire to be helpful.
I picked up rocks of expectations; sometimes my own expectations of who I felt that I should be or maybe the expectations of others. Other times I lugged around the expectation rocks of how my loved ones should live or the choices they made.
Then I picked up those rocks of things that I should let go, but had emotional ties to and didn’t want to go through the difficult process of letting them go.
I threw in rocks of perceived security. If I could just get a big chunk of money to pay all the debt, bills and sock away something for retirement.
These rocks were weighing me down and causing fear to grow inside me exponentially. When I could no longer carry the rocks in my arms, I grabbed the biggest wheelbarrow I could find and started loading it up with more rocks. I was weary and craving rest. This rest wasn’t something that was going to be solved by taking a vacation or a long nap. My soul needed rest.
How did I get here after God had victoriously picked me up and carried me through the darkest, hardest days of my life? How did I get to this place?
Now these were words that instantly drew me in. After all, my life’s moto is Victorious Heart! I knew that God did not design me to live this way. Weighed down, anxious and lacking margin.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
This sound mind is not something I can conjure up on my own power. This is not some rose-colored glasses theology. God gives me power, love and a sound mind! This is in the midst of my troubles.
I am not denying that there are stressful situations. There are sick children, bills to pay, loss and grief in this world. We don’t just simply wish that away or fix it in our own power.
I can either let these circumstances of life consume me, which doesn’t do any good anyway or I can choose to give them to the Lord. I can choose to trust him with all these burdens. Really trust.
I am so thankful that the Lord is patient with me. He doesn’t throw his hands up in the air and say “Haven’t I already taught you this stuff?” Why don’t you ever just retain anything?! He gently teaches me by giving me reminders of how he wants me to live. He wants me to live free.
2 Corinthians 3:17(NIV)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is
He didn’t design me to carry all the rocks that I’ve taken on as my own personal responsibility. He will give me strength to carry what he calls me to carry. He is faithful and always provides.
Sometimes it is just difficult to see clearly when you are worn out and overloaded. I’m excited to share what he is teaching me, yes some of it is review and he has taught me before.
First though, I am going to dump out this stinking wheelbarrow! That way I can see clearly what rocks I’ve been designed to carry.