Worry, Worry, Worry

July 24, 2017

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this here, but fairly recently, a friend of mine, who is an atheist/agnostic, depending on the day, called me out on something. She said, “Listen. You believe in this God who takes care of you. You believe in a God who created you and loved you. That should make a difference in your life.” She went on to explain that this was something she (and a to of people) didn’t have. She doesn’t believe there’s any higher power or anything past humans, and she thinks that if I believe that, my life should reflect it. I should have more hope than people without this.

She explained it better, but you get the idea. If I believe in a loving God, who I can even TALK to, why doesn’t this make a difference?

I need it to make a difference. Either I believe this or I don’t. If I do, then I should, well, not give up worry entirely, because I’m human, but I should have a basic confidence that God is with me. Who can be against me? What can “man” do to me? I shouldn’t be afraid of housing prices or illness or anything else, but have a “peace that transcends all understanding.”

I know that a lot of people who read this are not necessarily people of faith, but many of you are. Do you have any ways to remember this, really deep down? As someone very very prone to anxiety and depression, this is essential for me to not go down.


Fear

April 16, 2017

If there is one thing that would change my life for the better, it would be having less fear. That is an understatement. It wouldn’t just change my life, it would revolutionize it.

I am not afraid of snakes, spiders, or bridges. I’m only a little afraid of heights and commitment. I am, however, terrified that I will not be taken care of.

I have believed in God for my entire life. But I don’t trust God. I don’t believe that God cares about me or will care for me. This is, of course, a bit of an exaggeration. I believe in my head that God cares about me, but it’s never made it to my heart.

I want that to change. I really do. I don’t want to spend sleepless nights trying to figure out what I’m going to do about housing a year from now or if I’m going to be alone when I die. I don’t want to go through every worst-case scenario and everything I’m afraid of and try to figure out what I’ll do in every possible case.

I want to actually believe God. I want to trust God. I don’t understand, but I want to know that God cares for me, cares about me, and will take care of me. I don’t want to fear the future; I want to be excited for what God will bring me.

But how?


This Too Shall Pass

May 6, 2013

I’ve talked about my nightmares before and how that’s one of the things I consider to be a miracle.  Granted, I have no idea why God ever permitted such horrible nightmares, and I’m often very angry about that, but I’m also able to be glad for the healing (although I’d really really like an explanation!)

Today I was taking a nap, suffering from allergies and Benadryl and all that fun stuff so the nap wasn’t very restful but I was having a hard time waking up.  All of a sudden, mostly asleep, I had this strong sense that the depression was back and I’d feel like this forever.  This was a pretty common element of my nightmares before and I’d often wake up and not really recover from it all day.  Today, even still mostly asleep, I felt something telling me “This will pass, this too shall pass.”  In my dream.  And I woke up and I was OK.  Minor and miraculous at the same time.


Grace and Comfort

December 24, 2012

This last week has been incredibly difficult on a personal level (I haven’t even been able to think about events on a national level because I don’t have the bandwidth). After what I described in my last post, I made the very difficult decision to put my dog to sleep. She was a wonderful dog almost all of the time but with that tiny fraction of time that she wasn’t, she was dangerous. I contacted several dog professionals who I trust implicitly. They told me, with great sadness, that there wasn’t another responsible option.

I wanted a miracle to save my dog. I didn’t get that, but I got a different sort of miracle – I actually felt God with me. There were a number of details that could have been much worse and weren’t. There was not one person who judged me for making that decision. There was not one person who expressed anything other than compassion, love, and sadness for me. No one offered suggestions for what I could have done or should have done.

One nationally known dog trainer/behavioral specialist who bills way more per hour than I can afford and who met me and Rio once made herself available to me by phone and email all week. My dog trainer who loves Rio came with me and held Rio’s paw until the end when I couldn’t handle being in the same room. A friend came over immediately after the incident when I had to deal with the situation. My brother spent the night on my floor to be with me when I had to put Rio down. Other friends texted, called, came over, and helped me clean up her toys. I can’t imagine having to do this without these people – or without the comfort I experienced from God.

This month, besides the tragedy in Connecticut, I have had two friends file for divorce, one lose her mother in a fire, one lose her brother, and several more who are dealing with anniversaries of death. And there was enough grace and compassion for me when I lost my dog.

I’m still very sad. My sister was explaining to my 2 1/2 year old niece that we weren’t going to see Rio any more and she said, “But I DO want to see her.” I do too. But I am feeling the truth of God binding up the brokenhearted, even when it’s “only” being brokenhearted about a dog.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners”


Loneliness

December 13, 2012

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about loneliness. Not because I’ve been feeling particularly lonely right now – although singleness does keep staring me in the face during the holidays (you know your thinking is very off when you find yourself wondering if it wouldn’t have been better to be married and divorced by now because at least I’d have gotten to be married.) Instead, I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to be lonely in any situation. This should not be new to me – I’ve been very, very lonely in the middle of romantic relationships, in the middle of parties, in the middle of a college dorm, and in the midst of very good friends.

Maybe it is because of the holidays, but I know a lot of people who are very lonely right now. The friend whose mother recently died unexpectedly. The friend whose brother died years ago and each holiday season is a reminder that now she’s an only child. The friend whose husband left to date men. The friend whose husband left to date women. The several friends who have spouses who are very, very depressed or caught up in addictions and can’t be a real part of a partnership the way everyone would like. Other friends are single mothers and desperately lonely, including the one who thought that having a child would ensure that she never felt alone again.

It’s just hard to be human, and it’s hard to reconcile the reality of our lives with what we thought they’d be, who we thought we’d be with, what we thought we’d be doing, and everything else. Disappointment and loneliness and sorrow seem to feed into each other and are hard to separate.

I saw a woman crying while driving the other day. She was not sobbing, but just periodically wiping at the tears running down her face without stopping. She looked alone – everything about her looked utterly alone. I wanted to do something but we were in our cars and I don’t know what I would have done anyway. I just prayed for her, which was really all I could do.

I remember, at my most depressed, I felt so lonely that I really thought the loneliness was going to kill me. I cried in the car too. Sometimes sobbing uncontrollably and sometimes, like the woman I saw, just not able to stop the tears. I learned to drive while crying, not because I thought it was safe, but because I literally could not have gone on with my life if I hadn’t, because I really truly could not stop crying. I learned to cry through a lot of things – reading, working – because if I gave into the sadness and the loneliness and the black hole, I’d be in bed all day. Functioning while crying non-stop was still functioning.

I feel like Jesus should come into this somehow. I have believed – since I was very, very young, before anyone told me explicitly – that Jesus was taking care of me. I knew to pray when I was lonely and that I was never really truly alone. But I can’t tell people who are feeling alone that they need Jesus. It wasn’t enough for me, and maybe it should have been, but I don’t think so. I think it was something – I don’t think I would have survived the loneliness without knowing Jesus was there, but it certainly wasn’t happiness and light the way songs make it sound, with all I need is Jesus and you make me happy, and you’re all I need, and all these other lyrics that were written by people who have never felt SO. ABSOLUTELY. ALONE. in the world.

It is certainly good for me to remember that other people are lonely – people in all walks of life and all sorts of relationships – because then it’s harder to get into the “If I were just X, I’d be fine” mentality. But I don’t like it. I don’t want anyone to have to feel that bad and sometimes it seems like there’s just too much aloneness in the world.


Just For Today

August 29, 2012

I feel all right again and not even especially breakable.  I feel like a normal person again (haven’t had a lot of experience with that, but some) and like maybe my meds are working.  I don’t feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I also don’t feel like I have anything exciting to celebrate like many people do.  No babies, no new house bought, no impending marriage or new boyfriend, no husband with a promotion… sometimes Facebook is hard.  I wish more people were honest and would say what was hard in their life too because then I wouldn’t feel so far below the norm.  But I know that’s not how we humans work – that’s way too vulnerable.

I want to celebrate something but right now I’m going to stick with being OK and going to sleep.  It could be much, much worse.  And I’m going to try to remember to thank God for this.


Purple Flowers

May 8, 2012

I’ve made a decision.  It may not seem that dramatic, but it’s been coming for a while and I think it has the potential to change my life.  Here it is:

If I say I trust God to take care of me, I need to trust God to take care of me.

I know that sounds obvious and simplistic, but I’ve been so worried about so many things lately (work, money, future… I’ve even found myself not able to sleep at night because I don’t know who’s going to take care of my in my old age.  I’m 36.) and worry is contrary to what I say I believe: that God loves me and cares what happens to me.

I don’t understand, but I remember one time when it was as if I actually heard the voice of God.  About 8 years ago, during a time when I was not doing very well emotionally or spiritually, I found out that my landlord was selling the house I was living in and I had to move.  That doesn’t seem like that big of a deal now, but I was having some issues with insecurity and upheaval and it just felt like one more thing I couldn’t do. Even though this news wasn’t exactly earth-shaking, it felt like it was.

I talked to a number of people and shared how scared I was about the future and how much this one thing triggered me.  The one thing I heard over and over – from people who were Christians and those who weren’t – told me to ask God (or “the universe”) for exactly what I wanted.  For some reason, what came into my mind was that I really wanted a house with stairs, a yellow bedroom, and purple flowers out front.  I don’t know why those things were what came up, but I kept asking for them.

I felt pretty silly but then I found a house to rent.  It had stairs in the front and a few inside, beautiful purple Mexican sage out front, and the room that my roommates didn’t want was a lovely pale yellow.  It was so exactly what I was looking for that I still have a couple of friends who say “remember the purple flowers?” whenever I doubt.  I felt like God was looking me directly in the eyes, saying he loved me and would always take care of me.I know it could be a coincidence but it wasn’t.  I can’t explain how I know, but I do.

Again, I don’t understand.  Why would God provide what I was asking for in silly details of housing when he wasn’t healing my depression (and didn’t for over 6 more years)?  Why was God providing this and not other things that I was asking for: a husband, healing for someone I knew with cancer, the ability to sleep through the night (still don’t have any of those)?  Less importantly, why did I get to have this house for only 9 months before that landlord sold it? And, of course, why would God pay attention to these details when there are people without basic needs?

I don’t know.  I have no idea.  But I’m making a decision to trust.   It doesn’t come naturally to me (it would be an understatement to say I’m a worrier) but that seems to make it more important somehow.  A few years ago, I got a tattoo to remind me that God was always with me.  It’s a beautiful thing, to know that the presence of God is with me.  It’s time to live like it.