Have you ever felt like the walls were closing in on you? Or more accurately, the walls are closing in, the water is rising, familiar sounds seems so distant but there is chaos in your mind, and you are trapped without a way of escape. I didn’t receive any catastrophic news and nothing extreme occurred at this moment but all of a sudden, I couldn’t breathe.
I was suspended in a state of shock and huddled over the kitchen sink struggling to catch my breath. Why was I feeling like this? What triggered this attack? What was I doing wrong?
This was not a new feeling for me. It was an old familiar feeling from those hectic college days were I worked 8-10 hours a day and took 5 classes a semester. It was almost expected that during finals I would experience this a couple of times. But that is not my life now.
Now, I know Jesus and I find my peace in Him. Now, I have an amazing family, wonderful children, a community of friends that support me, and I have a stress free career. So why had this old familiar feeling returned?
Was it the little demands of every day life, demands of an aging parent, was I reading too much news? I always strive to give my best to all that I do. I believe if I am going to spend time doing something then I should give it my all. Was this belief attributing to my anxiety? Was I demanding too much of myself?
On this particular morning, I was awakened at 4am suddenly so I prayed and 45 minutes later I was back asleep. If I am honest, it’s been weeks since I’ve gotten a good night’s sleep.
“It is useless for you to work so hard
from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to His loved ones.”
Why was I having so much trouble sleeping? I wake up early to have quiet time before the family wakes up and I stay up late to do tasks that are better done after the children are asleep. This isn’t bad but it is useless as the scriptures says, yet I find myself doing this almost daily.
Anxiety should not happen to women of God, right? It seems like it’s almost something that we shouldn’t talk about it. I can hear it now, “Sister, are you praying?”, “Sister, just give it to God” and-on-and-on … but even women of God experience these emotions and it is not something that should be ignored or swept under the carpet.
“Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise Him again—
my Savior and my God!”
I was on my knees in prayer, in my bible reading, and listening to worship. My “christian” checklist looked good but that did not change my anxiety. I was missing something.
I asked and I pleaded with God to let this feeling pass quickly so that I could get to my list of other things I needed to do. Anxiety was not on the list and it was only hindering my productivity. I prayed, Lord! Help me please!
I did not hear from God and my anxiety did not immediately pass. With the help of my husband, I decided to leave the house for a few hours and spend some time alone in the quietness of my thoughts.
I decided to start my new book. Although, God appeared to be silent, it was in this moment that He profoundly spoke to me. The author writes,
“In many ways, I loved this life – loved my husband, adored my kids, was so thankful to be a writer. But its like I was pulling a little red wagon, and as I pulled it along, I filled it so full that I could hardly keep pulling. That red wagon was my life, and the weight of pulling it was destroying me.”
Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist
I could see the little red wagon of my life overflowing with these beautifully picked, heavy rocks that I am struggling to pull uphill.
I know I am not alone in this. As mothers, it seems so natural to worry. Sleepless nights are a given. Anxiety almost seems to be part of the territory but I do not want to let anxiety rule my life. I may not ever know what triggered my anxiety a couple of weeks ago but I do know that God can help me conquer any mountain ahead of me.
Are you suffering from anxiety? I believe that this book has arrived at the perfect time in my life. I believe we can grow and battle these anxious emotions with the help of God and each other. I cannot say that I have conquered my anxiety, but I am taking steps to remake my life from the inside out. I am allowing God to rebuild me so that I can be the wife, mother, sister, friend that God called me to be.
I pray that you will have the courage to do the same. We do not have to suffer in silence. Consider joining our September Online Book Club as we read and encourage one another.
“Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?”