Do you ever have those moments of being completely overwhelmed and paralyzed by life? Those moments where you are struggling to catch your breath because you feel as if you have a 20-pound weight smack dab in the middle of your chest? Those moments where you look at your life and all the pain and hard, and you just don’t know how you are going to keep it all together? I’m having one of those days. And nothing earth-shattering has happened. In fact, today has been a day of progress. I woke early to see my kids off to school, went to my boxing gym, had a meeting, and went to the grocery store to prepare for this week’s meals. Like I said, nothing earth-shattering. But inside I felt this complete sense of panic. I felt incredibly unsettled and anxious. And it’s because my life is changing in big ways, and change is hard. Everyone keeps telling me I’m strong and I can get through anything. But sometimes the uncertainty of life is just so darn scary. Sometimes I just want to be a kid again, play outside, eat popsicles till my tongue turns blue, ride my bike with the wind blowing through my hair, and fall asleep exhausted and with not a care in the world.
But now I’m the grown-up, I’m the parent. I have so many responsibilities. And the weight of it all is just heavy. My life is full of questions that can’t be answered. My life is full of change, both good and hard. My life is full of complexities and twists and detours. My life is full of uncertainty. And I preach to myself to put one foot in front of the other. Just focus on the present. Don’t look back. Don’t look forward. Look at the task at hand. Focus on the current moment, the current challenge.
And I pause to catch my breath, and I look out my kitchen window and tears begin to stream down my cheek. But out of the corner of my eye, taped to my window is a notecard that I personally wrote and taped at eye level, for a moment such as this. Because I knew that days like today are inevitable. Months ago, in a moment of clarity and fortitude I had carefully scribbled out an important message to myself to give me hope when life just seemed too overwhelming.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6-7.
And then I cried louder and harder, and as I did I began whispering my petitions and listing my praises. The weight on my chest began to lift. And for several minutes I stood in my kitchen sobbing and letting go of all the uncertainty that I can’t control anyway. I let go the fear of not being enough. I let go of the anxiety of failure and unmet expectations. And I shifted my focus to all the things in my beautiful life that I have to be grateful for. I began to settle down and remember the promise of a loving God who is bigger than all of my worry and pain and fear. A loving God that can give me wholeness when I feel alone and broken. And even though my circumstances did not change, my perspective did. I felt lighter and peaceful. I could move and breathe again.
I hope in the days ahead, when I’m sure once again life will inevitably feel hard and overwhelming, I will remember to pause and look out the window, and shift my perspective and turn my worry into petitions and my anxiety into praise.
Love this song!