Sunday, July 14, 2013

When Anxiety Hits Like a Tidal Wave

My daughter's surgery just happened to come 5 days before my Vacation Bible School teaching commitment, and the first week of my children's ministry coordinator job. This is a tough surgery to recover from, so I'm not able to keep up with laundry or dishes, much less work on VBS lesson planning.

I've been holding my little girl. A lot. She's been feverish, which is normal after a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy. The fever can go up to 102 degrees and last a week. I'm choosing to sit and hold her, kiss her, stroke her hair, whisper I love you--supporting her through the pain.

When I get up, finally, I do think about the lessons I haven't finalized, and the church commitment I hope I'll be able to live up to. Not to mention the clutter that's collected while I've held my daughter; I have to look at it so of course it adds to the overwhelming feeling.

Panic this week felt like a tidal wave about to hit, several times. The good news is I'm getting better at controlling anxiety. I feel the waves but I don't let them hit me. My self-talk has changed, by God's grace.

I think about the Lord and his standards for me. I remember that I need only please Him. I remember that it's his strength that sustains me. His wisdom that carries me. I remember that if I'm living for Him, than my tasks are for Him, too.

When panic threatens, I do a heart check. Panic and fear are not from the Lord. His yoke is easy; his burden is light. I ask: For whom am I laboring? For myself, or for the Lord? Things straighten out pretty quickly after that, whether it's anxiety about raising children, fulfilling other commitments, or just getting it all done.

We develop unreasonable expectations when we seek to please ourselves or those around us. Naturally, anxiety sets in as a result of our thwarted vision; our evil intent.

Oh, yes. Even church ministry can swim in evil. The Lord says our hearts are deceitful.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

I remembered today that He loves the little children and he will serve them well, through me. I don't have to impress anyone with a fabulous lesson for VBS. I don't have to impress anyone with my ministry coordinator skills.

What does the Lord want from children's ministry? Simply that the children will feel safe and loved at Sunday School, that the volunteers would reflect His love and grace, and that the parents will feel comfortable leaving their children long enough to go serve or hear a sermon.

A good lesson would be wonderful too, but the Lord cares about relationship most of all. If our commitment is to build relationship--to love our neighbor as ourselves--whatever we teach beyond that will be more readily accepted.

Women wear so many hats nowadays; anxiety is, unfortunately, commonplace. We need to change our self-talk and check our hearts. For whom are we laboring? And what does the Lord want, versus what we want? 

When we match our vision with His, Peace is our companion.



Lisa said...

Wonderful, timely reminders, Christine. I needed this today. Thank you.

Beth said...

Sorry you were feeling that way. I do hope your daughter is feeling better. I love the way God worked to remind you of what is important.