the lie i’ve loved.
3 years ago / in Uncategorized
Motherhood (ok, fatherhood too) and worry go hand and hand, right? My mom still tells me to be careful or to call her when I get home.
We live 4 miles from each other.
My motherly worry started early for me, in pregnancy. I’m one of the millions of women who were blindsided by miscarriage, losing our first baby only a couple months along. Fast forward two years and plenty of stress and anxiety to when we had our first born child. You’d think after that maybe my worry subsided. But nope, enter a whole new phase of worry once that sweet child is out in the big scary world.
I’ve never considered myself to be much of a worrier. Anxiety is just part of the motherhood package, so I just dealt with it.
But dealing with it I did not. I’ll never forget one evening a few years back, stressed from a long day of being home with three young kids, I was up in my bedroom trying to get some quiet time alone. I stood by my window and all of the sudden I could not breathe. I tried to find my breath but my lungs felt like boulders in my chest, weighing on me, pushing every last bit of oxygen out. I recovered. Next, my breath quickened uncontrollably. My husband found me in some sort of not breathing, overly breathing state. I had no idea what was going on at the time, but now looking back, I was having a full on panic attack.
I wish I could say that was the only time or one of a very few, but since that instance I have felt that iron grip tightening of my lungs more times than I wish to admit. Sometimes it’s when my kids are arguing or when they aren’t listening, when I think I missed something like a due date at work, or an important meeting. Or when I am just alone with my thoughts or when I’m woken up at three in the morning with worry for no logical reason.
I worry about how our kids will turn out all the time. I take the pressure I feel and I let it press me, and it presses and presses. Often times, in an effort to control the situation, I let panic and anxiety and worry take over…
I worry about the friends and the people that influence my kids – it presses.
I worry about my own actions and how that is affecting my kids – it presses.
I worry about the food they eat, the shows they watch – it presses.
I worry about their future: faith, relationships, education, career – it presses.
I worry about how they relate to God – it presses. This one maybe the most.
Worry unchecked, leads to fear, fear leads to trying to control things, but you can’t really control other humans, so then it’s back to worrying. See the pattern here? This pattern had overtaken much of my life, until I realized, I struggle with anxiety. This isn’t just “mom’s worry”.
I had let the enemy get into the depths of my soul for so long, and finally I was on to him. I could see his plot thicken as the years passed by. The little lies and little fears that would grapple my heart would eventually suffocate my soul. I’d be defenseless against his schemes and give into full on panic and fear. I’d let it affect my mood, my anger, my joy, my ability to be present. Instead of enjoying a bike ride with my kids, I’d be freaking out that they were going to get hit by a car, or drown when we were swimming, or hang out with the wrong friends at school and do drugs and not love God and be angry. The never ending tailspin.
Now for some good news…with almost anything, once you recognize it, you can change it.
So step one, I identified my problem after years of denial, shame and just being clueless. I have an anxiety problem.
Step two, I was open about it. I put it out there, it was a thing.
Step three, and this is where the Bible is so so great, because Jesus says that anything that is in the light He can fix. He can intercede, once it’s out there… He’s got this.
It was a false narrative in my mind that told me I’m just not a good enough Christian if I’m letting my anxiety get so bad that I’m barely breathing and hiding in the pantry. (pro-tip: no one looks for you in the pantry). Recognizing that I am powerless and need Jesus in my worry has meant freedom as a mom I’ve never fully experienced until recently.
I wish I could tell you that I had this under control. On my best days, I now quickly recognize it – the pressing. I focus on breathing, something I never did before. I breathe and say four little words as I exhale…”God I trust you”. God I trust you. God I trust you. God I trust you. Over and over again. God I trust you. The more I say it, the more I believe it. The more I feel it. My chest goes from tight and constricting to open and airy, the breaths move freely in and out.
When worry creeps in about my kids, their future, how they will turn out, how badly I’m messing them up, or even if they grabbed their lunch box…I breathe out and say, God I trust you. God I trust you. God I trust you.
And you know what? I do. I do because the God who made the earth and the stars and everything I love from sunsets to Starbucks, made my three precious, wild, amazing, infuriating and mesmerizing kids. He made them. He loved them first and He loves them more. So when I worry about them, I am taking all of that beauty, all of that love and all of that creation and I’m sabotaging it, telling myself I worry because I love them, but really that is a lie, because worry is not from God. It’s a lie I’ve loved because I thought it was love, but in fact it’s the opposite.
Worry means I’m not trusting the ONE who created them the ONE who asked me to love them as He loved me. Worrying and trusting God just simply cannot live in the same space. Motherly (and fatherly) worry, as innocent, as familiar, and as normal as it seems, is not of God and therefore cannot be.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, my prayer is that we all know the gift of trusting God with everything – even our children. When worry sets in, as it will, breathe, push the air through your lungs and say “God I trust you”. Again and again until Jesus comes back. God I trust you.