Stress! Unfortunately this is something that I have become very good friends with. Man, where do I start?
I am just going to lay it out and be very vulnerable here people. I have had heart problems for over a year now as a result of it. Heart palpitations that I can't seem to control. Anxiety that has taken over my life. I started to fear the weirdest things. Elevators, sicknesses, airplanes, accidents, etc. You name it, I could come up with a fear for it.
Now I know that we are not to fear but we are to trust the Lord. I was trying to with all my heart but for some reason I couldn't control my mind.
Let me back up and just say that Paul and I have had a lot of circumstances in our lives that would cause some stress in our lives. My mom came to live with us a little over 3 years ago. We moved into a bigger house so that she could have her own space. She had Pulmonary Fibrosis so we were also her caregivers. Running to Doctor's appointments, helping her with her meds and oxygen, all the while trying to raise two very young boys. When we moved her here from Texas we projected 5-8 years before her disease would catch up with her. Well, we were wrong. Once the Doctor's here in Knoxville saw her and ran all sorts of test on her, we realized very quickly that she was in the last stage of her disease. They gave us 6 months to 1 year. We made it to the year mark and then the Lord decided to take her home one month later.
It is hard to look back and remember all the feeling that I felt at that time because they were so deep. Just one year before her passing I was packing up her belongs in the house I had grown up in. I still remember the day that I walked through the house with it empty. It was as though I could hear all the little voices. Us kids running through the house playing, the dog barking and the screen door slamming. Then is was silent and all I could hear was the sound of the refrigerator running. A very familiar and distinct sound. But still it was quiet, still. I could hear the sounds of the wood floors squeaking as I walked across the floor. And then I just started crying. So many memories flooded my mind. Some very happy moments and some not so happy moments. But still, it was my childhood and I felt like I was leaving a part of myself in that house. I will never forget 210 52nd Street, 806-747-1121. My mom and I got in the car and drove off. I stopped. We could see our house in the rear view mirror. It was like we couldn't do it. We couldn't drive off. We both cried. Then we just drove off. No one said a word but we knew what each other were feeling. I am sure she was feeling something even deeper since she invested a lot more in that house than I did with my dad who passed away when I was 23.
So grieving the house I grew up with, the loss of both parents and trying to navigate through life with a husband and two young boys seemed to be all too much for my body. Then add to that financial stress, trying to sell a house in a horrible economy, a job that was struggling in the down economy, trying to make the bills each month and keep your head above water.....my heart just started going crazy, racing and skipping beats.
Well, long story short....I went to the Doctor, got on some medication, started exercising, eating better, cutting out the caffeine and re-evaluating my life.
The theme: Simplicity!!! Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Disciplines says, "Simplicity is freedom. Duplicity is bondage. Simplicity brings joy and balance. Duplicity brings anxiety and fear."
I realized that I had Duplicity and I started saying "no" more, I cut back activities that were not necessary, I stopped trying to keep up with the Joneses. (I still struggle with all of these though)
"Simple living is not about existing in poverty or self-inflicted deprivation. Rather, it is about living an examined life--one in which you have determined what is important, or 'enough,' for you and your family, and then discarding the rest." ~Jill Savage in Living with Less so your Family has More
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these thing will be added to you." ~Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
I can across this song this morning in my quiet time. It is the cry of my heart. I pray it will be yours too!
I want to hide in you, the Way, the Life, the Truth
and I can disappear
and love is all there is to see coming out of me
and You become clear as I disappear
Click here to listen to the song.
We can say "no" to stress, if we say yes to Jesus. He is the only One that can give us rest!
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble." ~Matthew 6:34 (ESV)