Aug 1, 2013

Resting My Mind

“I have you confirmed for a September 11th departure, leaving Dallas at 2 p.m.,” said the airline employee. “Is that correct?”

I gulped. September 11th? When I made the reservations, the date hadn’t registered in my mind. I quickly backtracked. Did I have to fly that day? In order to carry out my commitments, that was the only option.

“Yes,” I said, and took a deep breath. Lord, you’ll have to help me handle this one, I prayed silently.

Confession: I have a nemesis, and his name is anxiety. As a child, I cowered in my bed at night, picturing monsters, ghosts, and burglars. I even checked my parents’ breathing while they were sleeping, to make sure they were still alive. When I became a mom, the worry I felt over everything I didn’t know and couldn’t control filled me with dread. I became emotionally and spiritually paralyzed, and began experiencing panic attacks.

Thankfully, with the help of godly counselors, medicine, and the support of family and friends, I retrained my mind. I immersed myself in biblical truth, learning what it means to “take every thought captive.” Instead of focusing on “what if’s,” I fixed my mind on God’s character, His promises, and the new life Jesus placed in me through His sacrifice on the cross. I hand-printed Bible verses on index cards, placing them in every room of the house and in my car. I even taped them above my baby’s changing table and on my car’s dashboard. Over time, as God’s spirit ministered to mine and my habits changed, joy filled the former dark spaces.  

It’s still a battle, though.   

Recently, a physician gave me two scenarios; one was simply terrifying. The night before consulting a specialist, I restlessly fretted and wrestled with God. I longed for peace, but the only way to grab onto it was to trust that my Father knew what He was doing—whether or not the dreaded diagnosis proved true. Simple, right? Not for me. Instead, I pleaded and whined. Eventually, though, I surrendered, and slept soundly. A few weeks later, my physician ruled out the illness I’d been so scared of—for now, at least.

Do you know what I’ve learned (albeit the hard way)? Every day, the Enemy of our souls tries to pull us away from resting in Christ. Despair stalks us. As markets rise and fall, natural disasters strike, and nations war, we’re inundated with uncertainty, fear and doubt. But if we give in to the lie that it’s all for naught and there’s no reason to hope, ignoring the miracles of Incarnation and Resurrection, Satan wins. At least for now.

Not long ago, a tornado ripped through our small town, destroying homes and claiming several lives. Subsequently, a member of my family has been struggling with anxiety. As I’ve sought resources and prayed with—and for—my loved one, God reminded me that I’m well-equipped to journey alongside this person.  In God’s economy, our wounded places become ministry spaces.

Truly, I can rest in that.

Image by Bill Vriesema. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr. Post by High Calling Contributing Editor, Dena Dyer, co-author of Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts.

EDITOR'S NOTE: On Thursday mornings in August, we are exploring rest, what it means to quiet our minds, our bodies, our spirits. Whether we set a side a full day's Sabbath or just a moment of silence, our homes, workplaces, communities, and churches all benefit when we take time to stop. Join us each week to tell us your stories of finding rest in the busyness of life.

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