Thursday, December 27, 2018

Comfort for Those Who Suffer Anxiety

I have found a C.S. Lewis quote that is important for those who struggle with self-condemnation because of ongoing struggles with anxiety:
"Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. I don’t agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the Passion of Christ.”  Find this quote and its full references via Biblegateway's daily C.S. Lewis reading, HERE.  
This affirms the truce I've made with my middle-of-the-night fears that, by God’s grace, are converted into intercessions for loved ones and the transcribing of God’s guidance into words that can benefit others. Nowadays, when I awaken afraid, I treat the anxiety much as one would respond to a backache; Lord, here it is again, what shall I do about it?  I've learned to skip the why-do-I-have-to-be-like-this angst.  Anxiety isn't so much a sin  for me as it is a result of how I am knit together, and by His enabling grace, the Lord is glorified through this weakness of mine when I allow it to lead me to the foot of the Cross.

My son and daughter both have children of their own now, and they have each become acquainted with the heart-stopping alarm of seeing one's children suffer trials.  I would say to them:  Don’t be hard on yourselves when you suffer fear for yourselves or your loved ones.  Don’t try to ignore anxiety or seek escapism from it.  Let it cause you to run straight to the Lord.  This habit of taking every fear to Him will bring great blessing to you and to your loved ones as you allow the Lord to convert your fears into intercession for those you love.  

The Lord is unfailingly compassionate to those who are afraid. But if we won't admit to our fear, we won't confess it, and we won't allow the Lord to transform it into blessing.


Note:  I felt this was an important post for my adult son and daughter, and sent them an email that perhaps clarifies and summarizes the message I wanted to convey in this post:  

So, I have a word for you both from the Lord, and felt led to turn it into a blogpost, but I'm not sure I have accomplished my assignment!  In a nutshell--it isn't a sin or a weakness to be afraid. Fear is a potent motivator that will send us either to suppression (which can make us sick and angry) and escapism (which can make us addicted) or to the foot of the throne. We are not able to decide not to be afraid just because we know it isn't Godly to be afraid. Fear will send us one way or the other: to escapism, or to the Lord.  

Please read the post when you have time, and let your anxieties for your precious children take you straight to Jesus.  

Friday, December 14, 2018

Safe Shelter

This is a detail of one of my mother's oil paintings.  The inviting shelter of this cabin reminds me of the Lord's protection and guidance for those who call on His Name.

Providing care to a loved one who is infirm brings unanticipated challenges.  The aspect of my mother's care that has cost me the most stress has been assuming the responsibility for her finances.

I am not a numbers person.  In school, math classes cost me the most effort of any of other academic studies, and in professional life, my ineptitude at my first job as a bookkeeper provided the impetus for me to become a teacher. I thought that I (and my employers) would be better off with me serving in a capacity that better suited my natural talents.

Fast-forward to the time when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Mom had never shared details of her finances with anyone. I didn't even know who had done her taxes, and her dementia had robbed her of the ability to remember. Bills had been lost or misfiled, I could find no records, and I felt overwhelming panic.  Here I was, a person whose biggest financial challenge to date had been to balance my own checkbook, now confronted with a mess of unpaid bills and questions with seemingly no answers.  Untangling the mess took months of time, and because of my sense of inadequacy regarding numbers and bookkeeping, my go-to response when confronted with her financial mess was fear.  I learned to pray much, to complete each new task as well as I could, and to trust that things would work out in time even when unanswered questions remained.  And they did.

 The Lord has been so compassionate to me this week when I've cried out to Him with my latest concerns. I've been reminded time and again that He is my shelter.  He is on my side, and so I have no need to fear.