This week I received some hard news.
It caught me off guard, but even in that moment I realized how gracious God was that I happened to be in my parked car, it was a Saturday when I didn’t have a lot of plans, and I was able to take in what was happening and hold it in that space with grace and love and a choice of joy.
Does anyone else find that they are more prayerful when something is happening to someone that they love? Yeah, me too. And I am working on changing that. That feels like I only speak to my parent when I need something from them and yet they love me relentlessly, graciously and without abandon on every other day whether or not I acknowledge them.
If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, I have probably mentioned that I struggle with anxiety. I struggle with fear, especially of bad things happening. And this news I got, it definitely felt like it was a bad thing. It is a bad thing.
But I realized in that moment that I was responding differently than I have been recently to negative news. I read the text, my eyes welled with tears. I read the words… “This is just life but we have the faith and grit to get through this so no worries!”. Half of me was astounded that someone who had received what could be classified as heart breaking, earth shattering news to some was being so insanely positive and optimistic. The other half of me was like, “YEAH!”.
Here’s what stands out to me about those words…
This is just life – I recently wrote an Instagram post about Brandon and I’s first year of marriage and how what I learned was that marriage isn’t what’s hard, life is what’s hard. Circumstances are what’s hard. These words were affirming to me, and they also threw the enemy to the ground in that moment because it’s like a shoulder shrug. The enemy wants negative news to wreck our world, our day, and our lives. But we have a choice. And this woman just shoulder shrugged that enemy right off.
WE have the faith and the grit to get through this– It’s collective and it’s definitive that there will be a getting through this. We don’t know what that will look like. We don’t know how that road is going to go, but there will be a victory and we know Whose victory it will be.
So no worries! – not today, satan. There ain’t room for that -ish and don’t you dare bring it around me. Philippians 4:6-7.
I think my reaction wasn’t my usual “the world is ending response” partially because of how this amazing woman presented the news to me, but also because I’ve been doing WORK on my anxiety, how to process things that happen to us, and rewiring my brain to get out those toxic thoughts and bring in positive ones. The one’s that repeatedly relay belief that God is who He says He is.
There’s three songs I have been listening to that talk about fear and believing that God is and forever will be victorious over our circumstances…
In the background of the first song, Bigger Than I Thought, you hear the words
“Find your freedom”
“Learning to Trust in You”
“About time I started learning to trust you, about time I started learning to rest in you.”
I don’t find it ironic that the words that aren’t actually included in the full lyrics online are the ones that stand out to me. I need to find my freedom from negative, captivating thoughts, I am learning what it means to REALLY trust God in all circumstances and in ALL things, and this does feel like a time when I am actually drawing a line in the sand and I am. It is about freaking time.
Here’s the deal…mental road blocks, anxiety, fear, and depression can feel like they are the hardest things to get over. I’ve read and listened to my fair share of people who threw up their hands one day and said, “God take this from me.” And they claim to have not struggled with it since. That they were completely free. But that has NEVER felt like me.
It’s felt like a million little surrenders.
A couple weeks ago, I brought that up to my counselor and I told her I was so frustrated because I feel like I have done that OVER and OVER and OVER again. I feel like I have drawn this line in the sand before and it works for a little while and then I’m right back where I started. Except instead of being afraid and optimistic, I turn into afraid and discouraged.
And you know what she told me? She said, “I think you are free but it’s probably just hard for you to see.” I think she’s right. I think I am free and the enemy probably just wants to keep me hidden to that realization because the truth is that God has done many little healings in my life. He has spoken to my directly, He has shown me things I didn’t see before, and He has churned my heart from feeling like I can’t see anything good ever to why not just believe that He has all this under control?
The truth is that people who have trauma stored in their brains from childhood, like me and many people I know, we THRIVE in distress and chaos. It’s like that is my muscle memory and I know what to do while I am there. Yet I also know that in that same place, that is where I am being destroyed the most…emotionally, mentally, physically even. I am learning what it looks like to THRIVE in not worrying and in choosing joy.
We get a lot more done thriving in that place than we do in distress.
The backwards part is that it doesn’t feel that way at first and so we will revert back to our freak outs and melt downs and panic attacks because it’s all we know. We just can’t beat ourselves up for going back there, because it will probably happen.
So friends, keep drawing your lines in the sand. Peel open your eyes to the millions of meaningful moments God has produced in your life. And like all the Hallmark Christmas movies are teaching me, you won’t see it if you don’t believe it. So BELIEVE it for yourself and keep going.
But don’t keep going alone.
Tell someone, find a counselor, seek out medical help. You need people to come through this.
Like my sweet husband says, “why are we only allowed to plan for the bad things that COULD happen? Why can’t be plan for all the good things that God WILL do?”