July 14, 2012
Here we are on our way to the beach for family vacay. Thankful for this time away with Paul and the girls, and our bonus-daughter Annemarie, Grace’s dear friend. Sitting in the car gives me lots of time to think. I have been thinking about freedom lately. 4th of July does that to me sometimes. I have wondered how much more freedom I have now than I had in the past. Am I living in the freedom Christ wants for me? Paul reminded me 2 weeks ago that it has been 6 months since the church’s annual Blessing Service when the prayer personally prayed over me was that I would find my dance and to dance recklessly, joyfully, unreservedly. Had I done that yet? Sometimes, yeah, kinda-sorta, maybe. But no, not fully. Not as free as I wish I could be. Still hanging back a bit. Too anxious to really let go.
One of my dear friends has been struggling with anxiety lately. Paralyzing, heart stopping, sweaty palms, shallow breathing, nothing makes sense anymore anxiety. I don’t hardly know how to help her even though I understand her.
Too recently, my life exploded. Then one morning shortly after the explosion, I got more disturbing news. Don’t remember exactly what it was, and don’t care enough right now to try to remember, but it sent me into a tailspin. I locked myself into the bathroom, turned on the hairdryer and pretended to primp while I was actually collapsed on the floor hyperventilating and crying, wishing I had my Calm My Anxious Heart book. But all I had to cling to in the bathroom were the precious handwritten verses of My Sistas that were prayed over me the weekend of the explosion. I had kept them on the bathroom counter, of all places, and on that dreadful morning, I knew why. Those verses, along with half a chill-pill, got me to finally open the bathroom door and continue with my day. And now I watch My Lovely friend struggle with anxiety too as she locks herself away and pretends to primp.
I know my friend has been prayed over, and I know she knows truth. But there’s no arguing with anxiety. Can’t rationalize with anxiety; can’t just tell it to make sense. It doesn’t listen. And it feels like a total lack of control and it gets stronger with every attempt she makes to take back control. It feeds on her second guessing, self doubt, shame, insecurities, and perceived inadequacies. And it breaks my heart to watch her struggle with this beast.
My friend, her name means Victory over adversity. But she feels so defeated by what she describes as a storm over her. And her name also means Dignity and Peace. But she shrinks back in shame when her battle feels lost.
We have been studying Galatians in service and focusing on the purity of what the Gospel means. There’s nothing to add to what Christ did for us. His everything is complete beyond anything I could ever offer. Any attempt to dilute or to qualify Gospel pollutes it because we have perfect freedom in Christ. And we were reminded last Sunday how important it is to know who we are in Christ…full heirs on Christ’s merit. And I want that to be reality for my friend. I want her to know Who she is, a sweet child of God. She is God’s Wow! His final day’s work. His “Very Good” work of Genesis 1:31. The reason He sent His Son to live perfectly and die without blame in John 3:16. The Lord’s portion of Deuteronomy 32:9. But I also want her to know Whose she is. She belongs to this God who carves her name in the palms of His hands in Isaiah 19:16. She belongs to God who is jealous for her affections in Dueteronomy 5:9.
Oh I wish that the God who Breathed Jupiter and Mars into existence would just blow throw the Pfafftown and extinguish my friend’s anxiety. The God who Breathed the quickening in a Mother’s womb would rejuvenate His child who cannot catch her own breath. Oh I wait for this sweet Eve to stop rattling the locked gates of Eden and finally feel at home again in this garden that was created for her. I wait for Mary’s tears to dry so she won’t miss the risen Jesus standing right in front of her.
My prayer is that this unreasonable, nagging, relentless, hungry foe would starve to death. It would shrivel up and shatter. My Lovely friend will stand tall knowing who she is and whose she is because she knows “the Lord is at hand; 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 ESV).