life, My Faith

Gut punches and all the things

Well…hi. It’s been a minute. It’s funny. This blog started after a trip to the bottom of a pit and yet sometimes that’s where I run out of words.

I hate to blame C…(you know) on everything but it’s been hard. Watching the career you love become so hard. Watching people die. Loving people who die. Watching the joy get sucked right out of…well…everything. It’s been a lot.

We live through the same things everyone has, but somehow it seems magnified. We are living in that strange land between two worlds. Between hero and the enemy. Between I know because I’ve seen it and you’re just living in fear. Between wanting people to make wise decisions (even if they don’t agree) and doing the research to find wisdom.

The job I love has become complicated and hard and mentally draining. Then everything I love went on pause and I threw myself into the only thing I know to do…as much as humanly possible while it seems like nothing at all in the grand scheme. And back to the place where I know how to function best and yet the place that broke me. Well, not by itself, but it didn’t help.

And that’s where I found myself. Back at the bottom of an anxiety pit. My insides literally vibrating and my gut revolting (though sometimes it does that of its own accord). And I’m frustrated.

I’m frustrated with the world, sure. With the hate I see out of people I once loved. But I’m most frustrated with me. I thought we’d conquered anxiety. I put in work…lots of work. Lots of hours of therapy. I succumbed to the fact that chemistry and genetics are not kind and I take the medicine. And yet…here we are again.

And then the spiral. Because I don’t want to fight this forever, I don’t want to live like this. I don’t want to internally vibrate. I don’t want to wonder if I’m doing a good enough job. If I’m going to miss something that makes someone die. If I’m not going to be enough of whatever in any given moment.

And then the thoughts…the ones no one likes, not even me. The reminder of some pills squirreled away in a top cupboard. Out of sight but never completely out of mind. Because this is too hard and it feels like it never ends. Will it ever end?

So I spent last week being intentional about rest, about how many hours I was at work, about what I was doing there since my job has many facets. And I feel like today I’m just sitting on the edge now, probably dangling my feet over, probably looking down, probably still dangerously close to falling back in. But at the edge…which is the only reason to talk about it. It’s hard to talk about it from the bottom.

I came home today from lunch with an amazing friend who knows all the things…too much probably but is such a safe person. I told her she should get paid extra for lunches with me. I make her work. But she is part of God’s grace to me in all the places…the highs and the lows. She challenged me to fight back with the Word. To fight the lies, even if I’m battle weary…probably especially if. And then I found on my living room floor a study I had ordered a while back on Anxiety of all things. Ok then.

Psalm 34. Ok. I see you.

As I started reading it, I was reminded of how much I have always identified with that Psalm. Yet, I never really paid attention to what was happening when it was written. Anxious about being killed possibly by a king, pretending to be crazy to get away. Ok.

Last week at a Bible study someone showed us that in the Bible app you could compare versions. I like that. I used to do it in the blue letter app but it’s been malfunctioning. So I looked at it in several versions. The Message had some interesting phrases.

Kicked in the gut seems to summarize it nicely. I feel like a lot of people I have talked to might say the same…or kicked in the teeth. But when you’re kicked in the gut, the wind is knocked out of you. It’s hard to fight like that. It’s hard to catch your breath.

Anxiety feels like that. The gut punch you weren’t expecting because the enemy fights dirty, and he’s been fighting hard lately for a lot of people I know.

In this whole Psalm I think what I realized today is that He never promises you won’t have trouble. In fact, He promises you will. But what is said over and over again is he will answer…he will deliver you…he will help you catch your breath.

Why do I need to catch my breath? Because it’s gonna happen again. Maybe I’ve been chasing ultimate deliverance from anxiety and the fact that it isn’t happening is causing more anxiety. Maybe instead it’s a reminder to take it to God. To leave it there. To bring it to Him every time. To let Him deliver me and quit trying to deliver myself.

Healing can come…but what if it doesn’t? Maybe that’s where I find Him…where I let Him help me catch my breath…where I learn to rest. Healing will come, but maybe not on this side of heaven and that has to be ok…even for a perfectionist who hates this particular imperfection more than most. Maybe instead of healing, it’s time to look for peace, the peace that can only be found in daily taking it to Him. The peace that means hourly laying it down, maybe even second by second sometimes.

“Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” Psalm 34:5 (NLT)

No shadow of shame. Because the devil gets me there in the fact that we are back here again after doing so well for so long. The shame of having to fight again when I thought the war was over. The shame of imperfection.

But there is no condemnation from Him. He wants all my mess, all my anxiety, all my junk. He asks for it. And giving it over is where joy can be found.

So I guess that’s where we are. If it seems random and disjointed, it probably is. I don’t even know why I felt compelled to write right now but here we are.

I want deliverance from all these things, but more than that I just want to learn to give it up to the one who understands it all, the one who created me and my quirks and my chemistry. I want to learn to find peace in a world that isn’t my home. I think we’ll get there…someday. Little by little; day by day.

And I’m learning grace again…grace with myself…grace to allow rest. Grace to know that some good things are just too much right now. Grace to know He is enough so I don’t have to be.

1 thought on “Gut punches and all the things”

  1. If you find time, you might listen to Michael’s sermon from last Sunday. I think it was titled something like “Trusting God in the Tough Circumstances”. It is nearing our end of our study of Habakkuk. He had lots of good thoughts that might help and it is a relatively short sermon if you forward to just that.

    Liked by 1 person

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