Most of you know I deal with anxiety, and most of you know, whether you deal with anxiety or not, that there are several factors that can affect the outcome of a day for an anxious person.
But even if I do all the things I know I need to do to keep a clear mind and focus (get a good night's sleep, limit my caffeine, don't eat sugar or processed foods, and get a great workout in) , it isn't fool-proof. I am still going to have days where I wake up at the top of my mental threshold and feeling as though the anxiety has already sucked all the air out of my lungs before my feet even hit the ground.
This is a daily battle for me.
There are other battles that wage war on my Joy and Peace as different seasons come and go.
Maybe for you it is dealing with your teenagers and the choices they are making. Or maybe it is the kid(s) who will NOT stay in bed to save his life at bedtime (for the LOVE, STAY.IN.BED!). Here's another one, maybe you are in a season where everything in your house keeps breaking (because we all know that appliances have a secret way of communicating when it's time to all go out together), or your savings and emergency fund are dwindling by the day, or you can't find a job, or your health is on the brink, or that guy you were dating turns out to be yet another loser. Maybe life is just too crazy or the to-do list won't stop growing and life seems to be swallowing you whole.
"Don't worry," I confidently remind
With which we then go into our list of helps that may get our friend (or ourselves) through that season.
Two thoughts come to mind after catching myself repeat this phrase:
1 - What if God doesn't say "yes" to taking you out of this season? What if The LORD has you in this spot for the rest of your life? What then?
What if I struggle with anxiety for the rest of my entire life (which is potentially a pretty accurate conclusion, seeing as how I've dealt with it since I was 4 years old)?
2 - What exactly do we think is on the other side anyway?
Yes, we might have a brief season of rest, but that rest is only to fill us up again and prepare us for the next season. There is ALWAYS going to be another season, even if God is gracious enough to lift us out of the previous one.
If we are just living to get through our current circumstances, believing that the other side is where all the joy and contentment are, then we are sorely misguided and will be extremely devastated when we realize that the stressors of life are exactly the same, just packaged differently in another season, on the other side.
We have neglected to see life through Eternity's eyes.
I am reading a book called Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman where she writes:
"But these temporary helps cannot compare to the hope that we receive from considering the real long view. The real long view is actually longer than we think. It wasn't at the end of the ark's voyage atop miles of water. It wasn't at the end of Sarah's barrenness. It wasn't at the end of the Hebrews' Egyptian slavery. It was't at the end of the conquest of Canaan. It wasn't at the dedication of the temple. It wasn't at the beginning of the exile' return, temple construction, or wall restoration. The long view is not at the end of this no-good, terrible day. Or at the end of this magically brilliant day. It's not at the end of five years or seventy-five years. Or five hundred years. The long view stretches past whatever earthly ideas we have into a vision of a new world, into eternity and the new earth. Contrary to popular opinion, when we mothers take this long view, we actually become so heavenly minded that we are of immense earthly good today. If we want to get technical, we should say that the real long view is not actually even heavenly minded - it's new-earthly minded. We're looking forward to the consummated new creation. Being new-earthly minded corrects our Season Obsessive Disorder. It corrects our nearsightedness and returns our vision to God's mission to glorify his name in all the earth."
I don't know about you, but I needed to read this today. I needed to be reminded of the LONG VIEW. Of the WHOLE STORY!
So often I get stuck trying to parent through my current "season" with the END of that season in mind rather than eternal perspective on my lips.
Only eternal perspective will give me the grace, patience and love that I need to parent well. Only eternal perspective will give me the contentment in the NOW. Only eternal perspective will give me the compassion, generosity and boldness I need to share.
By all means, DO the things in your power to help get you through your current season, but don't neglect to place eternity on the horizon.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal"
2 Corinthians 4:16-18