I want to share an honest personal look at ‘Anxiety states”
In my life I have sat with many people going through difficult parts of their life-journey and discribing their feelings to me. Phrases like ‘All churned up inside’ and ‘Can’t stop shaking’ regulary come into the description of how life has become for one who has hit a dark place. It is the language of male and female of all ages. It seems to be that when something happens that disrupts our equilibrium of life, whether it be the discovered unfaithfulness of a partner, a devestating row with a dear friend or relative, a bereavement, or any of the other nasties that suddenly appear in our lives for us to deal with, our mind takes it all in, rapidly passes it through our nervous system and hits our bodies with a barrow-load of physical stuff that we could well do without!!
I have recognised, over the past few years, the ability of my body to go into a nasty state of ‘melt-down’ very rapidly when these situations arise! So, as I am in one of those places at the present time, waiting for various hospital appointments, tests and results to come through to tell us what is happening in my husband’s body, I decided to write about it, and in so doing maybe not only help myself but help others also.
Because faith is a big factor in my life and my first response is to shout ‘Help!’ God-ward, I tend to meditate on the things of my faith that have been solid and secure all my life. So, as I felt myself spiralling down into a shaking bundle of uselessness, unable to eat or sleep, feeling constantly nauseated and with legs that wobbled so much I could hardly stand….I grabbed hold of a simple well known piece to meditate on, and chose Psalm 23 or the ‘Shepherd’s Psalm’ as it is known.
It did not take me long to imagine myself as a little lamb, wobbling around on very very shaky legs and needing the big strong Shepherd to pick me up and hold me safe and tight until the storm had passed!
People say to me that it is good to have the ‘comfort of your faith’….But it doesn’t really work like that!!…It isn’t the easy option and Jesus the Good Shepherd does not always pick us up and keep us safe whilst the storm passes. He stands by us, He loves us and He never leaves us….but we have to TRUST Him with the whole thing and stand on our wobbly legs and shout into the storm not knowing anything more than that He is out there somewhere. But we still have to live through the whole experience whatever that may be and however it may end.
Being a Christian, to me, means having that faith tested and in the test, in the dark valley (even of the shadow of death) to ‘Fear no evil’ because ‘His rod and staff comfort me’ I’ve thought about that one too!….’Rod and Staff’? As I see it, a rod is an object of discipline a staff is something to lean on for support. So I guess the ‘discipline’ is in the trusting and the choices I make of where I allow my thoughts to go and where I go in my imagination.
But the support….Ah!! to lean on Him and know that He is there and He has always had my life in His hands and all that is going on now and all that will happen in the future is only going to do so because He is allowing it and He knows the end from the beginning.
My Sister reminded me of an old hymn we used to sing:
‘God holds the key to all unknown and I am glad, if other hands should hold that key or if He trusted it to me I would be sad.
What if tomorrows cares were here without His rest, I’d rather He unlocked the day and as the hours swing open say
His way is best, His way is best’.
He has the big canvas of my life and He knows all the pattern and all the stitches…I can only see the little piece of this moment in time and that has to be enough! The difficulty is that whatever we believe and whatever creed we live by, we are still human beings. And when this human being feels like a little ‘wobbly-legged-lamb’ it is difficult, very difficult!
So, we need the human help of those who know and love us to walk with us and listen to us and talk to us and tell us funny things to make us laugh and give us a cup of tea and a box of tissues or make a casserole and bring it round!….We need it all and we also must give it all when it is our turn in the sunlight, big and strong standing on our own two legs!!