Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


Feeling Angst-y?


My niece introduced us to a new word this summer, "angst-y".

It perfectly describes that  feeling that is creeping up on me (and you?)  as the calendar turns to September. But usually when anxiety hits, it is triggered by something deeper. Perhaps we fear we are not challenging ourselves enough, or we fear failing, or we fear that we cannot follow through on decisions that we've made. Or maybe we are in a time of transition and have no idea how things will go and we are tempted to 'over-control' something, pre-think or pre-plan all scenarios just to feel better.

Let me encourage you to address the anxiety a different way.

When September comes, the weather changes and it is a noticeable change. We too, could have a noticeable change in our own lives. We still have one evening and one day before summer is officially over. Instead of going to an over-crowded mall or city event - maybe try this . . .

Today: Take one hour, and get away by yourself. Write down (without editing) anything and everything that comes to your mind about the approaching season, your worries, your ideas, your concerns, your excitement, your thoughts. If you can do this and allow your mind to decompress, you will probably begin to see some thoughts fading into the distance and others beginning to seem more prominent. Pay attention to that but don't over analyze, just decompress. Write, write, write - and when you feel you are done . . . write some more. But stop after an hour. (Doodle if you have to, but stay with it.)

Then carry on with your day and ask the Lord to help sort and prioritize for you while you enjoy your family, go to work, watch a movie or whatever you do. Relax and trust that God is working in you as you've allowed yourself to let some angst out.

Tomorrow: Take one hour, and sit with your calendar in front of you. Walk yourself through each week and see or anticipate what the rhythm might be and begin to reserve some days for rest. Maybe it is just a morning or few hours here and there, but book them into your calendar. If your afternoons are busy driving kids here and there, give yourself a coffee break and take an hour from 2-3 pm just to slow down and re-prioritize.  If thanksgiving season is 'people-busy' then book any available time the week before as prep days. Then when new options open up in front of you, they will bump up against the word 'reserved' on your calendar and you can say that you are already booked that day!

My prayer for you is that you would enter this new season with a refreshed heart and mind.

"If my private world is in order, it will be because, having faced up to what drives me, I listen quietly for the call of Christ." (p. 41, Gordon MacDonald, Ordering Your Private World)