Once upon a time when I was a young mom, three ugly but invisible ingredients converged on me right in the middle of my kitchen.
Isolation, worry, and failure to live up to my own expectations. They all collided and stirred up a toxic cocktail I never wanted to drink. I’d never felt anything like it before. My head knew it was unreasonable, but my grown-up pep talk did nothing to settle my nausea, calm my breathing, or strengthen my legs.
With my kids eating lunch at the table, I collapsed on my kitchen floor. I tried to catch my breath and prayed I would not vomit. I thought maybe it was a heart attack.
Turns out it was an anxiety attack.
“The weight of anxiety is the soul’s misapprehension. It is the thinking of people who see themselves as orphaned. Such anxiety is the anguished cry of a soul that has forgotten it has a Father in heaven.”
(Dr. John Koessler, The Radical Pursuit of Rest, p. 24)
And I had forgotten that and a lot of other important truths as well.
Anxiety can be induced by a multitude of catalysts, and I won’t pretend to be an expert on it.
I do know it was a scary experience, but it was also the beginning of starting to remember some of what I’d forgotten:
- Every circumstance of family life does not depend on me.
- God’s plan cannot be messed up—even by me.
- And God does not fail to notice when a sparrow falls from the sky or when a mom collapses in her kitchen.
Over time I learned that God lovingly allows—even orchestrates–a shocking collapse in the same way a loving father plucks a burr from a child’s hand and applies a burning antiseptic to help it heal.
One way to rest from the weight of worry is to remember that we are not orphaned because he is our loving Father.
And remembering that can be the beginning of forgetting what made us anxious.