I have come to the conclusion that this more reflective section of my blog is going to have to be sporadic. It’s difficult to write meaningful, encouraging thoughts on topics like “Love,” “Hope,” or “Peace,” when my thought life is characterized by “Anger”, “Bitterness”, and my personal favorite, “Pettiness.” Alright, so it’s not that bad 🙂 But I refuse to write and post anything in this section that doesn’t come from a really authentic place in my heart and mind, because I know that if I compromise that standard, the writing will just be preachy, sappy… and real, real, boring.
Anyway, in the interest of actually having something to say before I say it, I’ve waited a while to add another “Bridezilla Writes” page. In the meantime, I have been SO busy at work, and so has Sean… this has made for a couple of really stressed people running into (and all over) each other! As we learn to manage our work stress and keep each other sane, I have rediscovered one of my most useful methods for dealing with anxiety.
Anxiety always forces me to pose the question of what my foundation really is. This of course relates closely to identity — it’s all connected, right? What is at the core of who I am? And why does whatever I am so anxious about drill right into that core? I get so worked up about things (a mistake at work, a fight with Sean, or a busy day with not enough time) that I can’t sleep or even take an hour to relax at home.
This is going to sound odd, but go with me for a minute: the best thing I can do for myself in this situation is to take a step back and ask myself, “What is the worst thing that could possibly happen in this scenario?” I’m in a tiff with a colleague — what is the worst that can happen? He stays mad at me? Really, that’s not unmanageable. When God loves me to pieces, I can handle a cold shoulder from someone I work with. Try again, this time even worse, and really far-fetched: it gets so bad, I can’t stay at my job — what then? I find a new job. God was faithful and found me this one — he’ll do it again. When God provides for me, I don’t need to stress about providing for myself.
To some people this probably sounds depressing, or maybe even debilitatingly fatalistic. I promise that I am an energetic person who strives to take responsibility for my future — that’s what gets me so anxious in the first place! I want to be the best I can be and I have big dreams I’m running after. But when I am worked up and worried, I can’t tell you the relief I feel when I can get myself to realize that it all doesn’t depend on me.
Not everyone has to do crazy mind gymnastics to come to this conclusion of ultimate security and peace, I know. But in case you do, try my handy mental exercise. The worse you make your mental situation, the more clearly you’ll see what (or who?) you ultimately depend on. It might be God, like me (at my best moments 🙂 ). It might be yourself, I think that’s a common one. It might be your significant other, your bank account, a circle of friends, or a career (“At least I can always be proud of being successful…”). In any case, it’s illuminating to figure out what you’re relying on. Then you can think critically about how that is working out for you.
One more thing: maybe you try this, and maybe it scares you. Maybe your “worst-case-scenarios” lead you in circles (back to yourself, for example, which is usually frightening if you’re honest about your limitations) instead of leading you to something bigger than yourself that is ultimately taking care of you. That’s pretty normal — I know a lot of people like that. But I think the question still stands — what is at the core of who you are — what is your foundation?
What would you like it to be?