Drowning in Anxiety
I used to be completely unafraid of the ocean.
I would swim far from shore, hardly looking back to spot my bags on the sand. It didn't matter how deep the water was or how far I got; I floated in peace.
But one day everything changed.
I’ll never forget trying to reach for my husband as skyscraper waves crashed over my head and sent me spinning underwater—seconds felt like centuries.
My first surfing lesson ended up being a try-not-to-die lesson.
When I think back to that moment, imagining myself gasping for air between waves, I have wondered if that was how the disciples felt in the middle of the raging sea, as waves crashed into their boat, and they woke Jesus in a frenzy:
“‘Jesus, WAKE UP. Is it nothing to you that we’re going down!?’ Awake now, Jesus told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” (Mark 4:37, The Message)
The thing is, when I read this, it’s not always the uncalm disciples I resonate with most, but the storm itself.
Somedays I am the one causing the shipwrecks in my home. Insecurities and expectations get the best of me, I snap at my husband (with my words or my eyeballs), I get frustrated when my toddler interrupts my plans (even though that is precisely what toddlers do for a living.)
My mind often tornadoes, but my heart is drawn to the definition of calm weather.
(of the weather) pleasantly free from wind.
Free from wind-blown worry that tosses me every which way —like branches bending in a storm—anytime something disrupts my hopes, plans, or expectations.
As I revisited that definition, I wondered if the lack of “calm” I sometimes feel isn’t due to the chaos I allow in and ought to strip myself of (I often want to detox from ALL the things to get some calm— social media, plans, food, people.)
But instead, maybe my lack of “calm” comes from a lack of freedom—the kind of freedom that dances in the wind, but isn’t swayed by it. The kind of freedom that is only born when what we treasure (our plans, our people, our purpose) is entirely entrusted to our Father who holds all things together.
I can’t hold anything together. If I trust myself with my treasures— I’m enslaved to chaos.
If I trust my Father with my treasures, I’m “pleasantly free”.
Therefore, being calm is a fruit that grows from deeply-rooted trust in my Father.
“Worry is a form of unbelief. Who is in charge of your life? If it is you, than you have good reason to worry. But if it is God, then worry is both unnecessary and counterproductive.” - Sarah Young
Jesus, when my soul is in a state of chaos, it’s not calm I’m lacking, it’s trust in You. Today I hand my treasures over to you… and with my freed up hands I pick up Your peace and calm instead. Amen.