One of the biggest hesitations I had with starting an anti-anxiety blog was the reality that I still wrestle with anxiety from time to time.
My blog may be called A Life at Rest, but this week has been rough. I’ve had moments where my mind is fixed steadily on true things, and others where I’ve felt anything but restful.
So here we are.
My moments of anxiety are not a shocking revelation to me, and hopefully not to you. I did tell you at the beginning: I desperately need Jesus every single day.
(Read my first post, Hope for the Tangled Soul.)
I’ve been around this block enough to know that when I start to feel this way, I need to slow down. Work done with a frenzied heart rarely bears good fruit in my life.
One of the ways I’ve learned to slow down is to set aside time to recall God’s goodness. You guys get front row seats this week to my coping strategy.
Ten Things I’m Thankful For:
(In very random order)
1 – Springtime
Come what may, the weather warms and the earth comes alive with new life and beauty. Every winter gives way to spring. No matter what.
2 – Sunshine
We are the perfect distance from the sun—nestled precisely in our orbit between freezing and scorching. Just right to warm my closed eyelids while I chat with my kids in the backyard.
3 – Writing
There’s something about writing that singles out my thoughts so I can see and process them. I’m not sure if this is a confine of my personality, but sometimes I don’t know what I think about something until I write it down. It gets tangled up with how I feel or what I “should” think. To this day, I have a folder marked “In the Moment” reserved for processing my thoughts and feelings in real time. (Yes, I’ve used it this week.) There’s something about looking at what I think and feel on “paper” in front of me that helps me see patterns, recognize when I’ve strayed from truth, and allow God’s grace to cover it all.
4 – Eternity
This life isn’t the end of the story. It’s like when you are reading a good book, but you can’t imagine how all the loose ends will be tied up with only one chapter to go, only to discover that the author has written an entire series. I’m so thankful there is purpose to this life beyond what we can see.
5 – Aldi
Like, the grocery store. (It’s the cheaper version of Trader Joe’s.) With the millions of tiny decisions I make in life—between large-family logistics, homeschooling, and really just being a person, decision fatigue is for real. Walking through miles of grocery store is the last thing I want to do, ever. Aldi is small. The selection is mercifully limited to the essentials, but with just enough random whimsy for me to avoid boredom. The prices are always lower than I expect. And my brain doesn’t explode.
6 – Jesus
He could really be the entire list. I cannot adequately put into words the enormity of what God has done for me through Jesus. Instead of destroying our rebellious human race, God became one of us, eternally tying Himself to us, dying the death we deserved so that you and I could be connected with our Father. He cancelled the punishment for anyone who will accept the exchange. Jesus rescues me from the weight of my sin and gives me a new way to live, a life of connection and communion with God that begins in this life and continues on into the next. He is worth an eternity of thanksgiving.
7 – Our Home
Almost four years ago, my husband Jake and I were searching for a place to rent in Trenton. We were following what we felt God was leading us to do—live in the city, and move closer to Jake’s family. It was thrilling, but also one of those deep-breathed “Okay Lord, following You” moments. As we continued through the process of moving up here from Virginia, God opened door after door for us. With work still up in the air, we were able to rent this house from amazing landlords. Our kids have a yard to run in, we have more than one bathroom, (which is a thing in the city), and the washer and dryer are not in the dirt basement. I will always look back on this home as a landmark of God’s faithfulness to our family.
8 – My Bathtub
You might think thanking God for a bathtub is silly. But I disagree. Discovering a claw-foot tub in the downstairs bathroom of our little duplex felt like God literally smiling at me. It’s taken some time to overcome my aversion to taking breaks, (you can read about that in Gas Tanks, Checklists, and Burnout), but these days my bathtub is a regular friend. It’s a place where I soak away tension, pray and listen, and occasionally play my Pandora opera station so loudly that upon exiting, I find my sons singing mock reenactments together around the house.
9 – Flowers
I love flowers. They break out in their little songs of joy at their designated time, each one praising the Lord for creating them. They serve their purpose in the grand ecosystem of life, beauty and function perfectly entwined. Their design speaks of an infinitely interesting God, one who has kindly tipped His hand to mankind, giving us glimpses of who He is.
10 – Today
I can’t change the past. I can’t see the future. But I am firmly here in Today. It’s right now. And now. And now. Today, I can here my daughter singing in the room next to me. Today, I hear my ten year old son using what sounds like a chair as a percussion instrument. Today, I am not sick. Today, our cars run. Today, we have money in the bank and food in our fridge. There are so many blessings in our Todays. And although they may not always be the same from day to day, there will never be a Today that won’t have something to be thankful for.
There’s something about pausing to give thanks that nourishes our souls. It’s almost as if we were originally created to live in a constant state of thanksgiving, but something went askew….
Thankfulness allows peace to access to my anxious heart.
I didn’t come up with the idea. It’s in the Bible.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7
Now I know, we all notice the prayer and supplication part straight off. But without the addition of thanksgiving, my prayers can easily slide into anxious whining, which truthfully, doesn’t bring me a lot of peace.
When my mind is full of my larger-than-life problems, I need to fill it with a larger-than-life God.
Adding thanksgiving to my prayers reminds me that God is good. That He is faithful. That I have trusted Him before and can trust Him again.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”Lamentations 3:22-23
Writing this post has benefited me greatly this week. Maybe you need to get some thanksgiving off your chest too. Feel free to use the Comments section below.
Have a blessed week, my friends.