Sunday, May 4, 2008

Be Anxious About Nothing -- Hope Chronicles 40

It would be so much simpler if there was always a cause and effect. But over the years I've simply found that there isn't always one.

I had a good day yesterday. I slept in and puttered around the house and on the computer. In the evening, I worked at the bookstore. It made for a late night since on Saturdays we are open until 11:00PM and we had been slammed most of the evening. It meant that recovery took us a solid 45 minutes. It probably should have been longer, but the manager was shooing us out the door. It made for a late night but it was still a good day.

I got up about 8 this morning and made it to 9:00 KidStuf. But somewhere in there anxiety inexplicably wormed its way in. There was nothing that I could put my finger on to be anxious about. I don't think that "being anxious about nothing" in this context was what Paul meant when he wrote in Philippians 4:6, "Be anxious about nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

I had a couple reactions to the sudden onslaught. My first thought was to flee. Like some of the animals I love -- horses and cats -- I am a flight animal by nature. God whispered in my ear, "Start down that road and it will be hard to turn back. It will become a habit quickly," I stayed and wandered restlessly through the entire break between services.

The anxiety did not lessen second service. Rather, I turned into a puddle and cried during each worship song. Again, there was the feeling of needing to flee. But I stayed.

Well, I stayed exactly until church was over. There was no one on my right. And the person on my left was immediately engaged in conversation. I grabbed my stuff and sprinted to the door.

But the anxiety really had little, I think, to do with church. I got home and still felt anxious.

Anxiety is a hard thing to explain to someone who has never experienced it. It is much more than butterflies in the tummy. Rather, it is like a huge spring in your body being tightened and twisted until it might burst.

Sometimes there isn't much energy associated with it -- just a restlessness. But today, there was some energy behind mine. I made a choice. My first option was to hole up in my bed and pull the covers up. My second choice was to do something. I opted for the second.

I hate yard work. My dad always did all of the outside jobs. It was his domain. Consequently, I didn't learn how to mow the grass until last year. Thankfully, a friend did it for me a few times and then taught me how.

So, I checked the oil and added gas and pulled and pulled and pulled. About the 10th pull (right before I was ready to give up in despair), it started and I began the chore. As I came around the front, I realized that my closest neighbor (our townhouses are adjoined and she is also single) needed her yard done as well. So, when I came to the end of my lawn I kept going. On the swing back, I realized that my other neighbor (a single mom with two girls) needed her yard done as well. I hesitated a moment and then crossed into her yard. I did the 3 yards in long sweeps and hoped my neighbor's neighbors weren't watching and expecting me to keep going and going and going!

Proverbs 12:25 says, "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." I guess I adapted it to "An anxious heart weighs her down, but doing a kind deed cheers her up."

We now probably have three of the worst cut lawns (given my inexperience) in the neighborhood, but they are cut! Though, not having a weed eater or trimmer or whatever it is I would need, I'm not sure how to get right along the fence . . . .

So, the lawns are cut and while there is still a hint of anxiety, it's not nearly as strong as it was earlier. I feel as if I chose hope when in the past I would have chosen retreat.

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Anonymous said...

Hi, Amy,
Even though I'm more of a "lurker" than a writer, I just had to tell you how much I look forward to reading your blog and thinking about your insights. I too suffer with the depression, anxiety, etc., so I feel a real connection with you. Hang in there, sister. I'm sure you minister to so many more of us than you could possibly know.

Nicki said...

There must have been something in the air this weekend!! I had many battles emotionally!! Praise Him for being able to lay it all down!!

ps- I think your grass looks good!! Don't worry about that!! If I had to cut the grass....oh my word. =)

tiggerdaisy said...

What a nice thing for you to have done! I remember when I lived on a corner lot, I had 3 or 4 time the yard as did my neighbors. The boyfriend of the single mom next door would always cut my grass located between my driveway and her yard. I was always so thankful for thel help as push mowing is HARD WORK! :)

I'm sure your neighbors were extremely thankful! :)

Prayers and Blessings!

heather said...

Amy, I understand the anxiety thing. I was a puddle at church this weekend too... thankfully not during worship as I was up front singing!!! It waited until we were having communion, and then after the service I fled into an empty bathroom stall. stayed there till a good friend came in, I came out and she just looked at me, gave me a hug and let me sob... then i was able to slip out of the church.
It was a hard day all round. I was finally able to dig into scripture a bit later on in the evening which helped. But i understand totally that anxiety.
It didn't hit me until tonight about 9pm, so i am doing better than yesterday!
I hope today was good for you, and that tomorrow is better.