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Friday, March 29, 2013

Proof

For most of the last six years of my life, mornings were the worst time of day. Anxiety would set in with the alarm, as I instantly thought of all the ways I was going to fail in the day ahead. And then, right on anxiety's heels came depression. Why get out of bed? If I'm already a failure before I start the day, why get out of bed at all?

The snooze button was depression's accomplice in what became a debilitating cycle. Hit snooze and another 10 minutes were consumed by depression, avoidance, attempt at escape. But with the next alarm, anxiety doubled: now you're another 10 minutes behind. How much less you can accomplish, you worthless failure!

Anxiety fed worthlessness, and worthlessness fed despair and depression. Depression feeds panic. And panic sometimes lashes out in neglect or harsh words to little ones.That creates a greater sense of anxiety and worthlessness and failure.

Pull the covers over the head and push the snooze one more time. Beg for sleep to numb the other emotions. And wait for it to get worse.

That was my reality. And it was all a lie.

It's not that there's not some truth in it--I will fail today. That's a given. My to-do list won't get met. Some things will be done badly rather than well. I'll probably burn the dinner again, or forget something. Even though I start out with best intentions, I will respond imperfectly to some small person's need or request. Or not respond at all.

I will fail. I will fail in ways I'm aware of, and I will fail in ways that haven't even occurred to me--ways I may not ever realize today: missed opportunities, focus on the wrong thing, selfish priorities. The one thing that is truly guaranteed is that I WILL FAIL TODAY.

But the lie is wrapped up in how important I've become convinced my failures are. I've let that define me and define my worth. And that's toxic. It's toxic poison, and even a little works its way through the whole person if allowed to steep and ferment there. It paralyzes.

For 18 months now I've been actively waging war against that one deception: capturing the thoughts when they arise, rejecting the lies, replacing them with biblical truth, confessing to Christ and if possible to another person who can brace me in this battle, and expecting my God to respond. I've seen progress most of the days.

But not in the mornings.

The conditioning of the morning alarm is deeply wired into me. The radio snaps to attention with its cheerful morning chatter, and simultaneously my eyelids pop upon and my gut clenches into desperate anguish and fear: Get ready to fail! Here it comes!

For the last week, I've noticed however that something here is changing, finally. Oh, the waiting is so long one might wonder if it ever comes. But for the last week, my first thought was not about me. It was not about my failure. Instead, my first thought has been thanksgiving to my Maker. It's just been a fleeting thought, quickly replaced by the selfish, sinful, performance-oriented ones, but that's hope. Is He becoming my Vision, Lord of my heart, instead of my own self? I believe it.

This morning started that way too. My first thought by morning was my Lord and gratitude to him. It was gratitude, actually, that I did not get gripped first by the anxiety, but even in thinking it to thank him, it woke the sleeping monster and I felt it flooding in. Capture the thought! Even before I've gotten the cup of coffee? Is it possible? And here's how it went for me this morning:

"I'm going to fail. Father, show me! Please show me that you will love me, even when I fail today. Make me believe it."

And then I realized, heard it spoken inside me: "It's Good Friday." Rebecca, it's Good Friday.

That was the answer to that desperate prayer. Good Friday.

What other proof do I need?


4 comments:

suismoi said...

Wonderful to read, Rebecca. Happy Good Friday to you! ~Christine

Anonymous said...

Brava my dear sister! Brava!

M.K. said...

Thoughts of thankfulness and peace, dear friend. Adam says he's only ever found one way to get rid of bad words in his mind, and that's by replacing them with other, good words. Sounds like you are on the right road! We are weak. But then He is strong.

Renee Frost said...

When you truly believe that our powerful God is in every single little thing in our lives, our successes and our failures are all part of His plan. This comforts me.