“This is so stupid! Why am I being so ridiculous. It’s just babysitting! Why am I being such a baby about it?”
And with those words, I was swiftly kicking anxiety and sleeplessness and stomach-knots as far away from myself as possible. “Go away! I don’t want you. Stop it.”
The anxiety attacks began pretty quickly after I had agreed to babysit my friends’ five children (along with my three). But I said I’d do it because I wanted my friends to be able to get away and have some much needed time alone together. Sure I’d babysit a baby and a toddler and all the rest. No big. I’m a mom.
But it was big, in my stomach and my mind and my heart, because my body was reacting in what I perceived to be stupid ways.
Stupid maybe, but unrelenting.
So finally I did the thing I should have done right away; I asked God what was going on.
“Lord, why this constant anxiety over this situation?”
In the quiet of another sleepless night I sat with that question. I pushed away judgement of myself and just listened to my anxeity. And in the quiet, in the gentleness I gave myself, I realized that I wasn’t stupid or crazy or any other demeaning thing I wanted to say to myself.
My anxiety was real for a reason.
My body was experiencing what it used to feel when I had three little ones under five and felt so alone and so overwhelmed. My body remembered that place, and instead of being kind to myself, I was quick to judge myself and push the truth away. Which is so sad, because the truth sets us free.
The truth is that only God knows the deepest places of your heart. Only He knows the why’s and the wounds and the reasons. This is why Psalm 139:23-24 shows us to pray, “Search me, O God…”, not “Let me search myself.” He will reveal the tender truths we need to know and walk through in order to become free. But to see and hear we need to ask Him, listen to Him, and believe Him. He is the truth, and He shows us the truth if we tune our hearts to Him.
He will set us free.
But we have to be willing to say to our pain: Come here. Sit down next to me. What do you have to teach me?
God speaks in our pain, and He will show us what we need to know.
You can’t deal with something you won’t face. You have to acknowledge the thing before you can move through it.
Once I listened, I was able to see the truth of my anxiety. I was able to acknowledge that my body was reminding me, trying to protect me, but I could say back to it, “It’s okay. I’m not alone. I can do this.”
A counselor friend said to me, “Anxiety says, ‘you can’t handle this.’ But the truth is, you can.” With God and the power of His Holy Spirit, we are stronger than we think, because in our weakness, He is the strongest.
The truth, and facing the truth, set me free. I was able to go forth in my babysitting duties reminding myself that I could handle this, because I wasn’t alone. And I did handle it, and it was fine, and I’m fine. I am stronger than I think I am, because of God.
And so are you.
So that thing you’re facing or that pain you’re fearing, make some tea and invite it in. Listen.
The truth will set you free.
Love, Sarah Mae