Let’s list out the things that I am trying my hand at this semester (and yes, we still go by semesters #gradschoollife).
- Grad school
- Working full time at lululemon athletica
- Community group
- Young Living
- Evangelism and building relationships
- Family visiting
- Maintaining old friendships
- Church community
- Meal planning and shopping
- Preparing meals ahead of time (#healthylifestyle)
- Our beautiful bear Abby
- Keeping our home NOT a train wreck
All of this sounds manageable in my brain (and it seems manageable to the eye). To the untrained eye, I have been living in mild (and sometimes severe) anxiety for the past two months. Day in and day out I have a pressing feeling in the middle of my chest, shortness of breath, I forget to breath, I have acne, and a tightness in my stomach. I have also had some signs of anxiety that are not physical including the sense of feeling constantly overwhelmed, slight depression (and sometimes way more than slight), the feeling of hopelessness, guilt, and paralyzing fear.
I do not write all of this for sympathy or pity. I do not want that. I am writing this to be transparent. To be open. To be seen. And. Most importantly, to build relationships that are based on authenticity.
All of these commitments that I have on my plate, on my mind, and in my days are not my commitments. They are gifts from the Lord. Each and every number on that list. Here is the list through that lens:
- It is a gift to be learning
- I love my job
- I am so blessed by my community group
- I love Young Living oils in my life and love sharing them
- I gain life from sharing the Lord with people and building new friendships
- I am thankful for family
- Old friendships give such life
- Church community is from the Lord and fills me up
- I’m glad that I have someone to plan meals for and money to shop
- I know that a healthy lifestyle is best for my body
- Same with exercising (#stressrelief)
- Abby is so sweet
- An organized home gives me peace
I like the sound of that list much more.
The Lord is strategic in what gives life and what gives death. All of these things on my list of TO DOs give life if I commit them to the Lord and don’t look at them merely as my commitments. I am not committed to this list. I am committed to the Lord. It’s hard to see how this plays out sometimes and I lose sight. I am currently reading a book called How He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick (I’m on Ch. 2). Chapter 2 talks about the idea of “Identity Amnesia”. Before I tell you what it is, I need to tell you that I totally have this. You could probably guess what Identity Amnesia is by the name of it—but it is when you lose sight of who you because other things become more important or take up that space. For me, I forget who I am in the Lord. I forget that the Gospel actually applies to my life and I am intended to live powerfully out of that truth.
I am consistently choosing things that do not give me life (prime example is social media consumption levels), instead of the things that I know will serve me and instill power, hope, and love into my heart. That ting of guilt that was pressing on my heart was also keeping me from voicing this because I felt like I had to do this on my own to prove that I was good enough. After I told this to Kha he was so sweet in telling me that he is always happy to help and didn’t even know I felt that way. The power behind the guilt and the list was gone in that instant! Being known and loved is the Gospel and it brings such peace, comfort, and love into my heart.
In writing all of this down it is my hope that the veil of night (me hiding) will no longer keep me in this pattern of anxiety and hopelessness (like when I told Kha how I felt). My list of commitments is a sign that I am in a sweet time in my life. I am busy, working hard, and transforming (let’s hope). I hope that in committing this list to the Lord all anxiety will melt away and I will be left with this knowledge of my identity and that I will remember that all I accomplish is all that I need to accomplish day to day.
The truth of this list is that most of those numbers will continue on for a lot of my life. Grad school will end in a year or so, but I will always have a job, Young Living, friends, family, and a body to take care of. Life will not look much different next semester, and yet I hope that I will look different. That my heart will look different and that the Lord’s peace will be always on my lips.
Pray for me as I am coming up on halfway through this semester!! All glory to God.