Old school Catholics or maybe just old school people in general can often view anxiety as a made up thing. You know in our world of soy lattes and phones in our pocket that have stronger computer power than the first computer’s used to send a rocket to space – we have way too much time on our hands to obsess about imperfections. If we were in the desert concerned about your next meal, anxiety wouldn’t be a thing – we would just be trying to survive. Ok, yea I don’t feel like I can argue with those points….. But here is the thing, I do get anxiety. Like the really bad kind that has actually landed me on my doc’s door step (of his office people – I am not THAT anxious). Sure, it has never been about my next meal and that in and of itself is a huge blessing – but has been enough that it feels pretty real to me.
After years of working on it I have come to a place of accepting that yes I have anxiety, yes it needs to be managed, and yes this could make me a weak person. Truthfully if admitting I have it and thus I have been able to really grow and work through it – then screw it, who cares if I am considered too sensitive or with too much time on my hands or whatever……I feel better. And once I have spent the time removing its hold on my mind or emotions or breath, I have not had any interest in spending time on if its real – I have just accepted it and done my best to be sensitive to the reality of it in others’s lives. So I am doing good – but that still begs the question of its reality and if it really is just a new phenomena because of our current world.
This past Sunday we Catholics celebrated Pentecost the day we recognize Jesus sending the holy spirit to guide the Apostles (and now all of us) after his ascension to Heaven. Until the Holy Spirit showed up, the Apostles were in hiding unclear of their next steps and afraid what world – that had just murdered their savior on a cross – awaited beyond the doors of that upper room. Our priest defined what they must have been feeling as the most “terrible anxiety anyone could ever experience.” They had lost the powerful peace of being in our Lord’s prescience and now just emptiness, confusion, and fear was left = anxiety. Those words about knocked me over. The worst anxiety…. that means it did exist before our overpriced coffees and luxury cars! This wasn’t made up…… in fact it has been a part of the human experience forever. And better yet, anxiety is what God can use to reach us.
Where have I heard this before? Oh yes that is right through Lent and Holy Week. Anxiety isn’t even new to THIS story. The emotion, the feelings, its power and ability have been a part of all those lives and is a part of all our lives. It lives in the reaching out in hopes of finding more… needing to have more…. and in such perfection God can be the answer to those needs. Suddenly anxiety lost its negative connotation in my mind and I found myself sorta thankful. If I don’t suffer from anxiety then I don’t come to church and then I don’t turn to the Lord and thus I never seek to grow or improve. How wonderful that instead I can lean into those feelings, find God through them, and in the end act just as the apostles by leaving the safe space to find the message He is asking me to take into the world.
We all are human and so often that humanity is what we spend so much of our time cleaning up after. Lost patiences with spouses….. harsh words to kiddos…. lashing out at those close to us…. being too paralyzed with fear to make a rational or any decision at all. Those moments can leave us with a huge mess, but if we stop, give a little grace, and try to look for the opportunity in the limits that is when we can be transformed. Don’t hate your humanity – own it and just keep walking – anxiety and all.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it great day!