I try to stay as low key as possible. I sleep in when I can, go without any screen time on my days on my days off, rock out and dance party on my lunch break and keep things smiley, calm and collected. I drink coffee and treat myself to delightful things. I take walks in the mornings, sometimes in the evenings and I pick rare nights to eat delicious food with warm friends and take time to laugh with tiny humans on the regular. I write, I sing, I make community available for those around me.
I, like many, am living life with an anxiety disorder. Surprise! Anxiety attacks riddle my life over everything from financials, to social situations, to lack of sleep and crazy work schedules. Everything, in the right combination of circumstances can ruin my entire day.</p>
I’ve had many conversations with people that love Jesus about my anxiety and issues. I’ve heard frequently that I “just need to trust” and that anxiety is against everything scriptural. (Insert Matthew 6 references here.) Most of these conversations leave me feeling more anxious than anything else. Am I wired to be distrust Jesus? Does God not love the way that I feel? Am I misguiding myself?
All of these things are the reasons that I give my anxieties to God every day. I’m not one for cheesy Christian radio, but, the other day I heard a song by Plumb on my way to work (Google told me that it’s called “Exhale”) and the lyrics talked about breathing God in until your heart can rest. How our brokenness points how much we need the Cross. How much we need Jesus. How often we need to understand that He died to give us grace and joy.
Coming to these realizations have made things easier for me. They’ve allowed me to let myself created self-soothing rituals that glorify Jesus well. Here are my top five.
1.Keep Quiet. God speaks when we listen. So, taking moments to breath in the quiet are really good for anxious hearts.
2.Go! I don’t know about y’all, but, a lot of my favourite souls live hours away. So, I’ve made it a practice to take chunks of time off when they’re in town or to go visit. Old, loving friends are like the Fat Day Jeans of life. They allow us space to be loved without being impressive. Cool, huh? (PS. Phone/ Skype calls help too.)
3.Move It! I put my headphones on and walk when life gets too much. Everywhere from my neighborhood to the parking lot at work. Forward motion reminds me that God is in charge of my every step.
4.Treat Yo Self! Seriously, buy the coffee just for the whipped cream. Read the sappy book in one afternoon. Buy that lipstick. Wear that dress. Do the things that make your smile an instinct. (Also, drink chamomile tea at 8pm and go to bed. Let yourself rest.)
5.Find living prayers. I pray a lot. A lot of it formal sounding, but sometimes it’s making mantras of sweet words that were given to me. “You’re good at relationships.” Or “I love you” can show us Jesus’ movement just as well as the Lord’s Prayer. (And I’m a sucker for liturgy, y’all.)
Above all else, treat pain like pain. Emotional and mental exhaustion requires recovery, too. You’re no good the world if you’re wiped out. Be loved. Receive it and give it well.