So…you may or may not have noticed, it has been awhile since I have done a blog post. I could state the excuse that I have been busy and life has been crazy, because it has been. This though would simply be a cover up, something to cover the real reason. The real reason is simple to state, yet at the same time frustrating.
I have always said that I want to be real on this blog. It isn’t a blog to make myself look good, sound good or seem awesome in any way. So, today…I am back and here is why I was gone :-):
A few months ago, in my mind, I saw a mountain in front of me.
It was huge and I wasn’t quite sure how I would climb it, but I was on fire and determined. I approached that mountain and began to climb. It was easy at first, the ground was still close and I saw the top as my goal and I wanted to get there.
I had a heart for Jesus and I dove into my faith and was determined to stay strong. I honestly felt that if I pursued a life of ministry – it would be a life full of peace, love, calm and positivity. I sort of imagined it would be like being in church all day everyday.
Well, it didn’t take long to realized…this was not a correct assumption; not by a long shot. (I will just tell you now – Give your pastors, your deacons and religious leaders a hug! I assumed their life was easy, but nope…!)
I have stated on this site about a million – bazillion times, I have struggled and do struggle with anxiety! I know to many, this seems like a silly struggle, but when it’s your struggle…it is anything but.
You know that feeling when you miss a stair, going down the stairs? That feeling where your stomach enters your throat, your heart beats out of your chest and you can’t catch your breath. Anxiety/panic attacks mimic this feeling, but it is constant and doesn’t seem to ever cease.
I had gone almost 3 years without having a “flare up” of my anxiety. Honestly, I had become comfortable and believed it was – out of the picture. With this blog and all of the learning that I was doing, I believed I had conquered it.
Well, becoming comfortable – is sometimes your worst mistake.
About 6 weeks ago, the panic attacks began to hit…they had returned. I saw it, at first, as a test…a way to challenge my strength and over come them. I convinced myself that it was simply a challenge and it would go away.
Pretty soon every negative thought that could come to my mind…came.
Anxiety and fear began to consume my thoughts and my visions. Everything I had become “comfortable” with, was now being questioned in my mind.
Do you really think God has a plan for you?
You have a family, you need to focus on them…not this silly blog.
Do you really think God can keep you safe?
If God has a purpose or a plan for you…why haven’t you seen any proof?
Every bit of doubt that could fill my mind; filled it and then some. I began to doubt my faith, my strength, my ability and who I was. The peace that had been filling me, turned to fear and confusion.
Did I make a mistake?
Was it really the Holy Spirit/God that I had heard speak before, or was it simply my imagination; my own “creation” in my mind?
Does God have a plan for me?
Will God keep me safe?
Why did he take me down this path and lead me to a place of only unknowns?
Soon, I caught myself being angry! “Why did God take me down this path?” “Why was I stupid enough to believe he was going to use me?” “I was wrong, this whole thing – everything I thought and felt was simply a figment of my imagination.” “I am meant to be a Mom and a wife and that is what I am going to do. My family…is my purpose. ”
I began to focus on my husband, my kids and my volunteer obligations. This blog – became almost a threat to me. I thought about how I put myself out there and opened myself up for judgment. I thought that I was stupid to pursue something that is so far from popular.
I have been in this spot before. Sometimes my faith can be a lot like a diet; I start off really strong and then become weaker and weaker and then I cave.
I swore this time – that would not happen. I felt God, I heard God, I was consumed with his presence; I could not imagine anything knocking me down.
Well, something did knock me down.
The strange thing was, it didn’t happen all at once; instead it was a slow process, so slow…it blindsided me. When I look back now, there were subtle hints that cracks were beginning to form in my faith. I kept thinking to myself though that they were “challenges”. How I dealt with them, would determine how strong I was in my faith.
Today, my husband and I were discussing some pretty heavy things and my gut reaction was to “freak out”. Instantly, in my head, I went into the I-have-to-fix-everything mode. I felt like I had failed my husband and my family and it was time to quit living in a fairy tale and get back to life.
Well, instead of freaking out, I told my husband I was going to go for a run. This is something I had not done in a long time either. The things we spoke about were really not out-of-the-ordinary, but during the conversation…my head was inflating them from mole hills to mountains.
While I was running, I prayed…something I have allowed myself to majorly slack off on doing. I said, God I know that I have slipped, I know that I have grown apart from you and that I am the one who moved. Lord, let me know if I have not gone to far, let me know if I am still in your grasp. God, I am sorry, I know it is me who faltered, but make it obvious if you are still there…fill my mind with you.
Prior to this prayer, my mind had gone blank when it came to creativity or inspiration. Nothing was there, for weeks! I couldn’t come up with a post if my life depended on it. I no longer saw the world, life, things and people…the way I had been seeing them.
A few moments after that prayer…this came to me:
I saw the mountain that I had began to climb. Only this time, my view was from the side of the mountain; I was no longer looking up to it…I was climbing it. I envisioned my swollen, sore hands and imagined their slippery grip. I saw the ground farther away and realized the danger. I began to panic and grasp for a foot hold. I heard the chaos and the noise from my past; the good things I had done, the not-so-good and the insignificant. I saw all of those things below me as the base of the mountain. I sensed myself about to fall and not wanting to go back through all of those things. Not wanting to go back down that path.
I felt weak and alone. I imagined turning my head back to the mountain and looking at the rock in front of me. The rock that my hand was currently holding onto. As I stared, I realized…my hand wasn’t holding onto anything; my hand was actually being held onto.
The rock I thought my hand was holding onto, was actually a hand grasping my own. As, I reached up with my other hand, another hand grasped it.
As, I imagined this picture, I began to realized…this is life!
Our past is our past and it has become our foundation. It is what we have grown from and learned from. We don’t ever HAVE to go back through it…unless we choose to.
Sometimes a past can include: abuse, addictions, struggles in relationships, anxiety, depression, anger, heart breaks, wrong choices or many other things, but they are below you. The only way you have to deal with them again is if you let yourself – let go…and fall back thru them.
When we take our minds, our eyes and our focus – off of the present, we have the choice to look down or to look up. Looking down the mountain seems to make sense; because the ground is what we look at as a solid foundation. Looking up seems like it would be scarier and more dangerous.
Really though, the top of the mountain is our finally. It is our fate, where we are meant to be…I will leave it to you, to decide what the top of the mountain represents – for you.
For me, it is heaven! Although, I am human and I “freak” out every now and then (OK, OK…a LOT) it is where I choose to place my eyes, that matters.
If I look for my instinctual security and foundation, I will risk falling back thru my past. I am half way up through this climb called life and I have to realize that when I slip…God is there to grab my hands!
He knows this drill, he has been through it with me many times! Honestly, towards the end of my run, I envisioned myself looking up from the hands holding me and into the face of Jesus. I then gave him a quirky-half-smile and said “he he! Sorry!” He then shook his head and smiled and said “It’s Ok, let start climbing again…I have got you!”
When I reach the “top” someday, of my mountain; I want to look out and see all of my family and friends! I want them to either be next to me, or climbing their way up. I want to see them looking up and not looking down. Fear draws our eyes and our hearts away from the Lord, raising our eyes to him – brings peace, security and rest.
Although, the climb won’t always be easy it is where we choose to place our eyes – that will determine our mindset.
This post to me is about faith and how I struggle to remain steadfast in it. To you or someone else it could represent something else, perhaps an addiction or a struggle. It could also seem silly and odd to some :-)!
Whatever this post means to you, I hope it speaks to you. I hope it reminds you, your story is not finished and many chapters can still be written. No matter where you are in your faith or in your climb, it doesn’t matter. Jesus has his hands there to grasp yours. When yours hurt and are slippery from sweat and blood, he will be there to pull you through.
It is simple to say, but sometimes hard to always do…”We have to have faith”!
God knows we are human and weak. Although, Satan likes to remind us of our weakness’ and faults…God reminds us, we are his child and he will protect us, guide us and bring us home!!!