As you’ll find out in the book I’m writing, when we had a miscarriage in 2008, it wasn’t the miscarriage itself that caused my life to turn upside down–it was the subsequent anxiety that did. The “miscarriage event” itself lasted about a week but the repercussions lasted years. I still pop a Rescue Remedy now and then and have to be as careful as possible to avoid anxiety triggers. I learned a lot about myself, my faith and my resilience as I fought to get out of the pit of anxiety and I wanted to tell you about
the best lesson anxiety taught me.
The big wake-up call my miscarriage afforded me was this:
I was sleep-walking through life.
I was trying to be Super Mom, trying to please everyone, trying to prove myself to God.
I was looking for approval, for validation, for self worth.
My thoughts were consumed with worry about how people perceived me, mistakes I’d made (or would make) and what calamity might befall me or the people I love in the future.
It was exhausting.
Which is why, after our Redemption Baby came along and we got settled into life with a baby, we quit church, sold our house, sold one car and moved into a rental a mile from my husband’s job.
We took a year off and it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
All of those things I described above…the proving, striving and worrying…are the OPPOSITE of living in the moment.
When my anxiety was at its worst, I remember calling my dad (an ordained minister and my biggest fan) in desperation and asking him…
“What do people THINK about all day??”
I couldn’t remember what it was like to not be obsessed with past mistakes or consumed with fear of the future.
You know what he told me? This verse, Philippians 4:8:
THAT’S what I’m supposed to be thinking about?!?
The best lesson anxiety taught me was the importance of living in the moment.
The second-best lesson anxiety taught me was the importance of what you think about…and I was doing it wrong.
I’d been so obsessed with overcoming my anxiety that I was actually STUDYING and focusing…ON ANXIETY.
So naturally the anxiety only continued to grow!!
But when I started to think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy…the anxiety started to subside.
Don’t get me wrong, it took me a long time and I’m still learning.
When you’re looking for what’s right…in this very moment…your brain doesn’t have the capacity to also think about past regrets or future worries.
Excuse the TMI but in November, 2012 I was two days away from what is still the best speaking and teaching opportunity I’ve ever had, at my alma mater, no less…and I was hit with a stomach bug. I’d felt a little wonky, so I ate some oatmeal and laid on the couch. AS I tossed my oatmeal that night, I said, “Thank You, God!!” because it was one of the more mild episodes I’d ever had, and it was over with quickly. My husband laughed at me, but I was truly thankful in that moment. And I was fully recovered enough to teach my class two days later!
In fact, being stuck on the couch the next day gave me a chance to re-vamp my presentation in a way that I’m convinced God knew I needed to do. That’s grace. (my book will have a lot more stories like that in it)
There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for and being in the moment allows us to see those small graces.
Without fighting anxiety, I’m not sure I’d have ever learned that.
Gratitude and being fully present in my life is a gift I do not take for granted and if I had to battle anxiety to learn it, I am grateful.
What about you? It is easy for you to live in the moment, or do you tend to focus more on the past or present? Comment, or hope on over to the Facebook page.