Just a cup of coffee

Really all I wanted this week was a cup of coffee.  Amazingly enough, on the first week of school, the very first day actually, we ran out of coffee.  And, I simply didn’t have time to go to the store and get another bag until today.  My husband would make fun of me for this–the “all I want is a cup of coffee.”  And, I surprise myself saying it.

What I was really saying was the I wanted the atmosphere my cup of coffee brings me in the morning.  I wanted to sit down, digest the day, plan my steps, and have the soothing effect of warm liquid in my cup.  I wanted to absorb all the moments that come with the first week of school, all the volunteering, all the requirements, etc.  It just didn’t happen. 

I can feel the building of my anxiety as the week progressed; the slow spiral downward that was sucking me into believing every obsessive thought that managed to run through my head.  And I knew I was contributing to making it worse by not meeting my own need for peace, silence, and a cup of coffee.

It’s so easy to immerse ourselves in the crazy busy-ness that we push off meeting our own needs; in fact, it almost is a form of recognition in itself.  I get the awed comments from other moms, “How do you get it all done?” or “Where did you find time for all that?”, or my ultimate favorite, “You’re a better mom than me because you . .  .”

And in the meantime I’ve managed to ignore God’s call to my soul.  The cry from my heart to sit, spend time with Him in peace and silence.  I’ve replaced the truth of His Word, His image, with the lie of busy-ness.

“Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Ps. 46:10

We cannot praise and lift Him up without first being still.  Digesting His presence, bringing Him glory at the beginning.  How much less my anxiety would be if I would bask in the stillness before immersing in the busy clamor of daily activities.

And I thought it was just a cup of coffee I was missing this week . . .

Where the anxiety starts

“Be anxious for nothing.  In everything, by prayer and petition, with thankgsgiving, present your requests to God . . .”

At a different stage of life, I would have heard this verse differently.  Today, I hear a whisper from God Himself.  Telling me to remember that He is in control, and is waiting for me to catch up.

I have been fighting a building anxiety for the past several months.  Over something so small, so silly, I’m almost embarrassed to admit it.  It’s all about my kids getting sick.  Not just sick.  Flu-stomach-vomiting-sick.  Every single time someone says “I don’t feel well,” or “My tummy hurts,” I have begun the next episode of anxiety. 

It starts with me thinking about whether they could really be sick.  Then I move onto when they’ll get sick.  From there, my thoughts take a steady progression all the way to how long we’ll all be going through this and what order the kids will get it in.  This can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours before it’s all I can think about.  And not just wondering about it.  I obsess.

I know better.  The logical side of me understands that kids simply feel icky sometimes because they ate too much, or they got too hot.  Whatever.  I’m a very logical person as far as all that goes.  It’s funny how your mind can think without your permission, though.

So, now I find myself turning to God with a plea for help each time these thoughts come.  And, I am surprised how often each day I have to do this; how often these thoughts come unbidden in the midst of our daily chaos.  It started with me begging Him to remove the thoughts entirely.  Hoping that I would be completely released from the tightening of my chest, the short breaths, and fearful waiting.  I know God’s ways are not mine.  I forgot the second part of this verse though–“by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 

How do you thank Him for a challenge that seems so overwhelming?  I thank Him for His presence; for His call to me through the anxiety.  He uses the unexpected to get our attention.  So, while I was busy volunteering for yet another PTO event, and taking kids to the orthodontist, while I took control of our daily life, He quietly allowed anxiety to control me in a way I didn’t see coming. 

And my need for Him shouts itself through my soul each and every time I turn to Him.  My quieting of heart comes with the reminder to be thankful for what He has given, and petitioning Him for peace when my thoughts spiral out of control.

Philippians 4:6 is a powerful verse for me these days, and it is followed by an important promise:  Phil. 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  He’s waiting for me every time.  The battle isn’t even close to over. 

I don’t know how long I’ll work with and through my anxiety issues.  I do know that Im’ turning to God more than I have in a long time, though.