Why I’m Anxious and Thankful

Faith / Marriage Michelle Lindsey November 27, 2014

Why I'm Anxious and ThankfulSince today is Thanksgiving, and this is a marriage blog, I thought I would fuse those two topics, and talk about why I am thankful. Novel, I know. I also would like to thank a few people who happen to be rocks in my life, currently.

First of all, I know it can be challenging at times for my husband to have some of our private dynamics discussed with, oh . . . hundreds of thousands of people. But he has always been supportive of this for two reasons:

1. He wants to help others by reassuring them that they are not alone in this marriage endeavor.

2. He wants to bring God glory.

These also happen to be the two reasons I even write on this blog. So I appreciate his willingness to be open, and let our ugly, messy, side show a little. It takes a strong man to admit he makes mistakes. And it takes an even stronger man to let his wife write about them.

I have had a strange week, and sitting here typing almost feels like too much to accomplish right now, but I think it’s important to take a moment and tell him thanks for helping make this blog happen. Being married is hard work, staying married is even harder. But it’s worth it. And it gives me lots of material to draw from. (wink, wink.)

So, thank you, Mr. Lindsey. May we always look past our failures, through the chaos, and forward to where God is bringing us. 

Now, back to my strange week for a minute

As I have mentioned before, I struggle with anxiety. It’s never fun being the “lady with anxiety.” The reason it’s not fun, is that those who cannot relate, tend to view you as a little bit . . . crazy. For real. I can see it in their eyes, and I know what they are thinking. “She has lost it.” But as anyone with anxiety knows, it usually hits you in the most inopportune time, and without your permission. And you don’t want it. At all.

I don’t feel like I bring it on myself. And I am not trying to gain attention. On the contrary, I would please just like to blend in with the normal people around me. I don’t want to be hyperventilating in a grocery store while shopping for French fried Onions. (Like I was today.) Those blasted dried up onions that my husband insists on having. And what aisle are they even on, anyway?! I always need the clerk to lead me there, like some blind, desperate woman wanting to feed some addiction. Gasping for air, I throw seven in my cart, to cover the next three years so I don’t have to look for them again. I thank the clerk, who is looking at me like I might start violently swiping all of the French Fried Onions into my cart.

Anxiety has been hot on my heels lately

Off an on this week I have had this feeling like I am being squeezed in a vice. And like someone is pushing their thumb into my windpipe. When this happens, all sorts of fears start to swirl around my mind. Which in turn, makes the anxiety WORSE. It’s a roller coaster ride that zero people stand in line for. It takes everything I have to keep steady, so if anyone asks me a dumb question, or if kids start rolling around on the floor fighting, I usually say things I shouldn’t. Or I overreact. Or both.

But I have found out something to be true. God has placed people in my life to help me stumble through this dark, miserable place I sometimes find myself in. And that is why I am thankful for community. It is crucial, you guys! I encourage you to be a part of one. We weren’t meant to walk this earth alone. We need to help each other because this life is tough.

Family . . .

For one, I have my mom who realizes when I am breathing too shallow, and fashions a brown paper bag for me to breathe in. Magically, I stop feeling dizzy. She also looks up You Tube videos on breathing while you have anxiety, and she practices it with me and then makes me do it off and on all day.  I have my Dad, and Mother-in-law, who are world class good listeners. They even have encouraging words to add once I am done having my melt-down.

Friends . . .

I also have friends who are always there to help where they can. Some friends can totally relate and just hearing their stories help me to cope easier. It takes the anxiety down a few notches when you realize others are in the boat with you, rowing and rowing. And there are also the friends who can’t relate, but they still pray and listen. I appreciate those friends, and feel glad that they don’t have to struggle with anxiety. Because it’s evil.

Mentors . . .

I am also grateful for people wiser than me, who speak into my life. Our pastor, our counselor, and women who have been there and done that. Good theology helps. It reminds me that God is Good. That He has good intentions towards me so I don’t have to worry about what is coming round the bend. That he NEVER ditches me. I still worry, but it helps me not to quite as much. I remind myself that I serve a God who knows suffering. He died on a cross. That must have been downright terrifying, and more painful than I can fathom. So when I go to Him, whimpering, He knows exactly what I am feeling. I don’t serve some far off God, who can’t understand humanness. He walked it. He beat it. So He is the One I am following.

My kids . . .

And wow am I grateful for my kids. These poor guys have had to see me at my weakest. It’s hard to realize that I have have not been a grand example of a woman of faith. But what I will always say to them, is that when we are weak, He is strong. And the reason I need a Savior, is because I am pretty much a broken mess. I wish I was a more perfect example of a faith-filled mother. But I am not. And I am sure I have chipped away at their security because their mom was afraid too many times.

But God is big. And He is able to fill in all of the gaps and crevices and empty places in their lives. The places I couldn’t manage to prevent in the first place. The places I couldn’t seem to mend. I am not enough for them, only Jesus is enough. I am not the best things in their lives. Jesus is. So I get up each day, splash myself with a little grace, and start over again knowing full well that I am going to fail, but stepping forward anyway.

I don’t mean to sound trite. But I am grateful, and wanted to communicate that somehow on this day of Thanksgiving. Our circumstances can feel so overwhelming, but God is there, leading the way.

When two or three are gathered

I said in the beginning of this post that the people I mentioned were rocks in my life. More precisely, they remind me of little pebbles that glow at night. They are scattered all around me. When I am in the pitch black, I pick one up, and it helps me find my way. And God places them before me, so when I need help, they are there. It’s still dark and scary at times, but I have something to grip in my hand, a reminder that I am not really alone.

And my prayer is that I can also be the pebble for someone. That I can ease loneliness, and offer reassurance in case someone forgets the truth in the face of fear and doubt.

I hope you all have a meaningful Thanksgiving, and reflect on the little things in your lives that are actually gigantic blessings.