Anxiety much?

I’ve been feeling anxious lately.

It’s that obnoxious type of anxiety because I once had peace – a lot of it and it feels like I’ve misplaced it somehow.

Doctors have run tests and scans and I am perfectly healthy by all accounts.

But I could barely function.

Peace, joy, and a host of other good things were seeping out of my life and I couldn’t understand why.

I was being the mom my kids needed.

I was being the worship leader that my church wanted.

I was being the wife that supported my husband.

I was being the daughter I should be.

I was being the friend that was always available to listen.

I was doing all the things I thought God wanted me to do and be.

All of these roles serve people I love. And I am passionate about being all of those roles- mother, worship leader, wife, daughter, friend.

But all of me was hurting.

My body.

My mind.

My spirit.
Let me just say, not a single person asked me to be something I’m not.

 I did that all on my own.

I’m driven by nature and sadly sometimes still find my worth in what I can do rather than who I am.

Relate much?
Am I called to be all of those things.
Wife.

Mother.

Daughter.

Worship Leader.

Friend.
Absolutely.

So since last Fall, I’ve been muddling through what life should look like for me, because I don’t want to be that exhausted again.  Ever.
But thank God for good friends and strong coffee.
I have a friend, and musical mentor extraordinaire, tell me that she felt like God was telling her that I was taking on too much.

That was what God gave me as my starting place and like I said, the past 6 months have been a painfully slow learning process.

So what’s the secret of juggling the demands of life without losing ourselves in the process?

For me, it’s been learning about boundaries and rest.

Really practical, I know.

But sometimes the most practical words are the most spiritual and more importantly, the ones that God is speaking in the moment.

“Stress was hurting me physically and emotionally. But the Lord also began to show me that stress was hurting me spiritually. I was allowing the external pressures of life to affect my internal peace and joy. If I didn’t make some major changes, I was never going to fully enjoy the life Jesus died to give me.”
Joyce Meyer 

from her book “Overload”

I’m hoping to blog more on this- because it’s important.

It’s important to remember to have some fun in this life and that we are worth far more than what we produce. 

Ebola . . . or something like it

Photo Credit: Ashley Campbell

Photo Credit: Ashley Campbell

Our family has just added a new accomplishment to 2015.

We survived Ebola.

I’m probably being overly dramatic.

Or not.

But I swear with the amount of throw-up and diarrhea that I waded through this past week and a half, it was Ebola.

I mean, sob, it was just everywhere.

So, it goes without saying that I feel really weak.

No, not in the physical sense but oh my gosh, did I mention that it was everywhere?

I’m spiritually tapped.

Drained.

As in, please don’t ask me for anything, because I’ve got nothing to give you – except hand sanitizer.

I have gobs of hand sanitizer.

And this has happened to me before.

Probably to you too.

No, not ebola – the drain of joy.

The loss of strength.

Whether you’re in ministry, an intercessor, a stay-at-home mom, a business man, a construction worker, a social worker, etc, etc.

There is a place where we hit the wall.

A place of we have nothing to give to anyone else.

And nothing for ourselves.

We’ve got no strength, no joy.

It’s actually a really dangerous place.

A place where we can so easily turn to other things for a quick fix, because we are that worn, that weak.

 

He continued, “Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don’t have anything: This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!”

Nehemiah 8:10 (The Message)

There’s a whole backstory here, but the principle holds true.

The joy of God is our strength.

Awesome.

Fantastic.

How do we get it?

For me, I really enjoy purchasing my joy from Starbucks, ooh or on a really good day- Pottery Barn.

Ummm, can you say crack for a stay at home mom.

I love you Pottery Barn, I love everything about you. Except maybe the price. . .but can I just say, you’re beautiful and you’re worth it.

But if you’re looking for something longer lasting, you know more eternal in the joy department, it comes from God.

No duh, right?

No, I mean it comes from being with God. In his presence.

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11 (NKJ)

In his presence is the fullness of joy.

All the joy you can handle.

So how do you get your tired self into the presence of God.

You know, where you can move past a basic acknowledgment that he exists somewhere out there to the place where you actually feel his presence?

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
    Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
    Thank him. Worship him.

Psalm 100:4 (The Message)

Worship.

Funny how it’s all connected, joy, strength, the presence of God, worship.

But it is, I promise.

So this morning, I dragged my sorry, but Ebola-free, self to my piano and started to worship.

And go figure, the Bible is actually true.

I found myself in the presence of God.

And as I felt the presence of God, I felt my crabbiness start to melt away and joy began to creep in its place.

If you’re like me and realizing you’ve been experiencing the slow leak of joy, have some hand-sanitizer and come join me.

Here back at the place of worship.

You’re always welcome.

Post-ebola or otherwise.

 

This song has really been speaking to my heart lately.  Hope it helps you to find your way back to his presence, our joy.