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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Day of Grace

We're having a Day of Grace around here today.   A well needed gift I give myself every now and again. Let me explain.

I struggle with anxiety.  Anxiety disorder, if you want to be technical and clinical. I have for probably most of my life.  You may know me and never know it,  because the thing is, we anxiety-types strive for order and control in our lives, so much so, that the thing that give us the most anxiety is the thought that you might notice.  Might see that while we are acting normal, while we are looking you in the face, we are really loosing it inside and wondering how we can escape and get somewhere safe.  Somewhere where we can focus on our raging adrenaline, our racing thoughts and our urgent all consuming fear, whatever that may be at the moment.  It is exhausting and to do all this while appearing normal for your benefit is too much.
Let me assure you, I am not crazy.  I lead a productive, happy and normal life.  I am one of millions of people who deal with anxiety.  My father did.  My dad, the big, strong retired cop.  The man who was feared and admired by many.  He had a presence, an aura of strength and dignity you couldn't help but feel when he was around.  When he was near, I always felt safe, nothing bad could ever happen as long as he was there.  He was self educated.  The man had a vocabulary to rival any university doctorate candidate, although he was pulled our of school at age 9.   He spoke several languages without an accent.  He was strong, stubborn, had a fierce temper but was so gentle that he wouldn't kill an ant or mouse.  Much to my mom's chagrin, he would carefully carry them outside and release them, saying, "They just want to live too." But this giant of a man fought an inner battle which his friends never knew.  A little blip on a little bar on the helix ladder so carefully passed on in our DNA.
In any case, by now I have learned how too keep the big dog on his leash, so to speak.  Most days it sleeps soundly in it's crate occasionally appearing as a chihuahua to annoyingly nip at my heals.  But the last several days I've been sick with a combination of health issues.  My ability to worry allowed that little chihuahua to grow into a fierce rottweiler which barked and growled at me nonstop.   As you can imagine, hand to hand combat with a large dog is exhausting.  So when I finally remember you never win by "fighting" anxiety,  I do what I should have done all along.

I give myself grace.  Grace to be who I am, with all my human frailties.  Grace to just be.  Grace to let go of the expectations I put on myself.  Grace to not be in control.   To admit that sometimes life, health, our bodies throw us a curve ball and we aren't always in control.  Ok, we are never really in control, but we sure like to feel like we are.  
So what does this look like in a day?  Maybe something like this:

Today I am giving myself grace.  I will:

have anxious spells and it is ok.  They will pass if I don't fight them.  I will not beat myself up for being weak.  Everyone has their own battles.  This one is mine.

Clear my schedule of all unnecessary chores, outings, errands.  I will have a slow day, maybe a nap,and a can of soup.

Read my Bible.  A lot.  When I am weak, He is strong.  I will allow God to be strong and stop fighting Him for control.

Read books with Austin, play trains, paint, color.  Learn from him how to be fully present in the moment.  Right here, right now.

Thank God for His grace.  That he already accepts us as we are.

So far it's been a great day.  Days of Grace usually are.  Tomorrow, Austin will get his bath, I will go to the bank, meet a friend, pay some bills.... But for today, I'm enjoying the grace.

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