This morning thoughts of work woke me.
“Did I chart that?!”
Somehow the question of whether I had remembered (in the chaos of a rapid intubation, followed by a code blue) to chart a controlled substance is what pulled me out of slumber. It wasn’t the promise of good coffee or the plans of going poolside. It was worry over whether I documented something correctly that happened at work many days prior.
Even after I figured that one out, the feeling of persistent concern followed me. It followed me as I sat sleepily on the side of the bed, and it followed me into the bathroom. It followed me all the way to the coffee maker, and it followed me afterwards to the couch, coffee and devotional in hand. I just felt anxious.
I was feeling worried about something, and unable to pinpoint a cause, I recognized it for what it was. Anxiety. Just plain, ole anxiety. Although anxiety never felt “just.” It felt anything but. It felt awful.
Sometimes I could figure out the specific concern, and with that knowledge in hand I could speak truth into my thoughts. I could speak God’s truth. Soooo many scriptures that combated anxious thoughts. But still…
Sometimes even knowing the cause, even realizing it was ridiculous, that didn’t always make it go away. Sometimes anxiety was pretty darn persistent.
In these cases, I had to be persistent also. There was no “if you can’t beat-em, join-em” mindset allowed. When lies hit, truth had to hit harder.
It had actually been going on for a few days, following a hormonal pattern. Going through your forties was no joke! Last night when I had noticed the persistent flow of anxiety below the surface and the overshadowing happiness, I had reached for my Bible. I had prayed for God to reveal to me what verses to read. I had read them. I had gleaned what God was trying to tell me. It had helped. But still…
Here it was again this morning. Persistent. Present. Like the annoying cold virus I had for two months this winter, my worry just wouldn’t go away. I took all the right medicine, I fed my body right, but still it attacked me. Still anxiety reared its ugly head. Eventually my cold went away. I had to believe the same for this feeling of worry that tried to come on me once a month.
I drew in. I prayed, I listened, I read some more, and little by little the anxiety lifted. It was replaced by peace, joy, and hope. God was faithful.
One might wonder “why.” Why did God allow anxiety to return? Did I not have enough faith to fight it?! Well, I guess that’s what the devil would have me to believe, but I would rather share what the Lord spoke to my heart about it this morning.
You are fragile, but that’s not a bad thing. Your weakness is a gift because it offers you the chance to draw closer to me. In your vulnerability you seek me deeper, with more persistent passion. In your weakness you focus on me.
That was certainly true.
This morning I learned that the Hebrew word kanafim means “wings,'” and I’ve certainly found shelter in His wings at times. But the same word also means “corners,” as in the corners of a garment. And sometimes it may be all I can do to just reach out weakly and try to grasp a piece of the hem of His garment. Yet just like the woman with the bleeding condition who was completely healed when she grabbed a corner of His clothing, so too am I restored when I reach for Him. No matter how weak I may feel my grasp must be.
So, if you find yourself in a place like me, where sometimes your thoughts are not your own. Or perhaps your shoulders are weighed down from the heavy load you mentally carry. Maybe your anxiety is persistent like mine, and you feel so weak and defeated. In this time I want you to remember that God always turns what the world means for your harm into something good. He makes beauty from ashes. In your fragility, He gives you strength. In your weakness, He draws you close. I would encourage you to not give up, and don’t give in. Instead reach for His kanafim, no matter how weak your grip may be. In your persistent pursuit, even in your surrender, falling on your face in bitter tears, He will rescue you.