By now, I guess I should know that if I feel comfortable in my life, it probably means I’m being a hermit, and God is going to shake things up. I really wasn’t prepared for how huge the shake-up would be this time, or my reaction to it.
It has been a long time, years in fact, since I’ve had a full-blown anxiety attack. From time to time I will feel anxiety over a situation, but not the sheer panic that I’ve felt in the past. I can feel that panic pressing in on me now, though, and I’m afraid I’m going to drown in it.
panic – to become so frightened that one loses the power to think clearly
I know in my head that the things I’m worried about are silly, but the panic flushes all rational thought out of my head, makes me cry, lose my breath, and want to climb into bed and stay there forever.
In my case, my greatest source of anxiety is being in social situations. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be the social butterfly, but I’m just not equipped to handle it on my own. It has been heavy on my heart lately that I need to make more of an effort to not only keep up my existing friendships, but also to go and actively seek out new ones. (Insert deep breaths here.)
I’ve made a lot of online friends over the last two years, and decided about this time last year that I wanted to meet some of them in person. If you read my blog, you probably saw that I attended the Relevant Conference (Now called Allume) last October. I’m pretty sure that the only way I talked myself into it was by telling myself repeatedly that they only sold 250 tickets, so it would be a small, almost homey gathering of like-minded Christian women.
I made it through the cross-country travel from Montana to Pennsylvania (largely because I got to travel with my sweet online sister, Anna.) I lived through meeting Lisa, and Katey, fell in love with Kristi, and only had one near breakdown when I attempted to join in on the newbie meet-up the first day. (There were so many women in that room, and they were all talking, and smiling, and it was too much for me to handle.)
My good time at the conference may have made me a little cocky. You know, I made it through that, so I can make it through anything. I’m the queen of the world!!! (Stop laughing, and keep reading…) Since then, God has set more and more opportunities (challenges?) before me, and I’ve obviously stopped relying on Him for strength because I can feel myself breaking down.
I relied on a double amaretto sour (or four) to get me through my husband’s company Christmas party. As the boss’ wife, it was my job to be witty, and friendly, and fun. I was all of those things, not to mention unsteady, but I made it through.
I managed to tidy up the house and not get frazzled when we had friends over for dinner a while back. Even with people I know, I have a hard time because I’m afraid they will see the dust on my blinds, cobwebs on a hanging light, one of my kids will say something, um, questionable, and I will be judged for all of it.
Last week we went to the new small groups pastor’s house for dinner to meet a few other couples from church who would like to start a group and get to know people. I will admit to changing my shirt twice before we left, but I actually felt pretty good about the whole thing. It was a pleasant evening, and when we saw one of the couples this week at church, we chatted, and it was very nice to have that connection.
So, see? I thought I was doing a pretty good job until this morning when my husband casually brought up the topic of his big work conference coming up, and how we need to start making final preparations to be sure we have everything we need, and the house is ready for his family (coming to stay with our kids). That’s when I burst into tears at the thought of not having the right clothes, or hair, or make-up, or shoes, or purse or… whatever.
I’m feeling way out of my element on this one. I’m just a casual, small-town, Western girl. I grew up in a household a step up from poor. This conference will have over 2000 people, all in the highest positions with my husband’s company. We are staying at the Ritz-Carlton (!). There will be private performances by The Blues Brothers, Big & Rich, 3 Doors Down, Gin Blossoms, and Eddie Money. There’s a day spent working on a humanitarian project, and one at a beautiful place called Discovery Cove. This thing is no joke, people, and I’m not sure I can handle it.
Then I started writing this post, and I found a prayer card that I think I will carry with me until the conference ends, and we are back home. The card says this:
“O God, please set my heart at rest in Your presence when my heart wants to condemn me. For You, God, are greater than my heart and You know everything.” (1 John 3:19-20)
Will God stop loving me if I wear the “wrong” shoes? Or dress? Or come from a small town in Montana? Doubtful. So why am I torturing myself? No, really. Why? Why do I let my brain get so upset over this?
I don’t know why, but I do know that it probably means I need to spend more time in prayer, getting close to God, and less time on Amazon looking for the perfect pair of sandals to wear in Florida in April.
“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, supported me! When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul!” (Psalm 94:18-19)
How can you tell when you need to reconnect with God? What do you do when you start feeling overwhelmed/anxious/panicked?
*** The links in this post do not benefit me in any way. Some are links to my friends’ blogs, and one is to the prayer cards I mentioned and quoted. I am not an affiliate. I just want you to be connected if you’d like to be connected.
*** As you read this, I am in Florida at the conference mentioned above. I can’t guarantee I will have a computer to reply to your comments right away, but know that I will do so when I get home. Any prayers you feel like sending my way will be wholeheartedly accepted.