Tuesday, July 7, 2015

High Anxiety

I'm not much of a worrier, or so I thought, until last year when I suffered through a season of panic attacks. Apparently, I simply repress worry until the worry stages a revolt, demanding to be heard through a racing heart beat, sensations of sheer terror, and shortness of breath. Suddenly Cool Jenn was outed by Freaked-Out Jenn. Worry was winning and I had to find a new way to cope.

Over the past year, the Lord has done deep and important work, gently inviting me to cooperate with the process, but clearly leading the way. I'm learning to face my fears--which means I have to admit they exist in the first place, darn it! Because the scary thing about fears is that they reveal root sins like a lack of faith, inordinate attachments, a need to control, and pride. God is teaching me to name these little buggers, confess them as sin, and find freedom. And I am being transformed by this process.

But over the past week, I've started feeling the flutters of anxiety once again.

We need to move to Lyon, but we are having trouble finding an apartment. Even though we meet all income requirements, our applications are being refused because we are foreigners and we don't have a co-signer. We have faced this monster before, and God always makes a way, but I'm feeling pressures of time. I know this is not a life or death issue and I know in the end it will all work out. But today? Today I'm struggling to find peace. My mind knows the truth, my soul stands firm, but my body is starting to revolt.

Providentially, I've been slowly working my way through the Sermon onthe Mount, and I recently came to section on anxiety.

Consider the lilies of the field....

Lilies don't work. They don't try to control or cajole or manipulate. They bloom in their season, tall and bright, clothed in glory but seemingly unaware of their own splendor.

Consider the birds of the air....

Birds don't worry. They don't wile away their summer wondering what will happen in the fall. They sing the glory of their creator, confident of His unending care.

And I serve a God who invites me to engage life like a lily, like a bird.

Jesus, help me to turn my impatience to praise, and my anxiety to "amen." Let me rest in the blessed assurance that you who clothe the lilies and feed the birds will not fail to meet my every need. 

1 comment:

  1. Jenn, it got my attention when you said you just began having panic attacks a year ago. As you seek the Lord through this, inquire of Him if this might have some basis in the physical. It is not unusual for women your age to have anxiety issues because of hormonal imbalances. They are exacerbated by true life concerns, but addressing your anxiety as both a spiritual and physical concern may help you to walk more confidently through it. Blessings to you!