What is my life?
A guest post written by Abby Jean Charles
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My anxiety is at an all time low. What an odd thing to be able to say in the midst of a global pandemic, food shortages, frightened communities, and the isolation of social distancing.
Back up. Three months ago my anxiety was at a lifetime high. I had never before experienced inability to take a full deep breath, a daily crushing weight in my chest, and intense stress headaches. I woke up, full of fear. I went to work, full of fear. I went to bed, full of fear. The only moments during my day that were not plagued with anxiety were the moments I was singing and that is; only when I was able to find the strength to sing. I was scared. I was confused. I was overwhelmed by what was happening with my mind and body. I felt out of control.
Three months ago there were two main terrors that led to my anxiety. I was terrified that I would not be able to get pregnant. I am newly married and have experienced previous complications with my ovaries. I shared the depths of this fear with no one but the Lord. I was consumed by what the future would look like. I was afraid of community shaming, human disappointment, and the inability to control even my own body. I was also consumed with my job. After experiencing disappointment from my boss in my performance the previous year, I had poured myself out by working long hours, and constantly worried I was not doing enough.
Now, my current lack of anxiety is not the absence of these two things in my life. I am currently still not pregnant and I am also still currently employed. I still don’t know if I will be able to get pregnant and I am humbled daily in my job at the amount of things I still don’t know. Not only are these two factors a part of my current reality, but we are also living in unprecedented times. What changed was not my situation or my circumstance, what changed was my focus.
Here is our new perspective...
“You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
It is as if almost overnight in the heat of the pandemic arrival, I threw up my hands crying out in joyful relief. It was the introduction of something larger than life, something way outside the normalcy of daily living that allowed me to be able to realize that I am not the one in charge. I can not stop a global pandemic, I can not fix the current financial situations, I have no idea what the world will look like in 1 week, 3 months, a year. I have no idea. I am desperate. This desperation to cling to control nearly killed me, and I knew if I began to try and also control a global pandemic, I would be nothing short of an absolute fool. So, I gave up. I surrendered. Pregnancy, idolizing success, global pandemic.
I surrendered it all.
Pride says, “I have everything under control.” Pride says, “Desperation is a bad thing.” Pride makes: prayer times brief, Bibles only open on Sundays, and humans revel in their hard work. Pride demonstrates that we are capable of daily living without complete dependence on the Creator of the Universe. Pride is the heart attitude that some of this is still dependent on us...
“Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor”
As a church community, within the past week, we have implemented “Jesus Hour”. This is an hour within our respective homes, dedicated to singing, praying, and crying out to God amidst the growing pandemic. It is within this hour, as the body of Christ, we throw up our hands in surrender. We cry out to the Lord that we are desperate. In our cries, we place all of the control back on His mighty and able shoulders.
In the past week I have found myself in the place of repentance before the Lord. Three months prior to this moment, why was I not on my knees? Where were my nightly cries to the Lord? Where was my faith to place all control back on the Savior’s shoulders? Could it be, in the disillusionment of comfort and normalcy we often foolishly think we have everything under control...
Dear Lord, thank you for bringing us to a point of desperation. Forgive us Father for our previous ways of living. For running and rushing and for neglecting you. Lord, in all of this make us more desperate. Give us no room to figure anything out on our own. Deepen our trust in your goodness. We pray that you would destroy our small ways of living. Give us faith to be able to stand in difficulty with a hope and trust that you are making us look more like you. Forgive us for our pride, replace it with a knowledge of you. Do what you need to do.