By: Kristen Oliver
I love the Christmas season. I love what that it represents the birth of Christ. I love hot chocolate, cooler weather and looking at Christmas lights. There is so much to love at Christmas time it’s hard to understand how people could experience anything but joy during this season. Most people probably don’t know that Christmas is a bitter sweet time for me. It’s bitter because the days of December are a “trigger” for my anxiety. Which makes enjoying all the previously mentioned things very difficult.
Sometimes it’s easy for me to shrug off or redirect my thoughts and go on with my day. But when it happens all at once it’s like the perfect storm. The perfect storm that leaves ME in the wreckage.
“This precious life you’ve been given is like a ship navigating its way across the ocean, and you’re meant to be the captain of the vessel. Certainly, there are times when storms toss you around or cover the deck with water or break the mast clean in half-but that’s when you need to fight your way back, to throw all the water off the boat bucket by bucket. That’s when you battle to get yourself back in the helm.” -Girl Wash Your Face By: Rachel Hollis
I don’t want to be wrecked, I want to come out on the other side perfectly fine. In fact, if I am being truly honest, I want to ignore the storm completely! But you see, that’s the problem, even if you ignore the storm it still comes. Ignoring our problems only makes them worse. Preparing for the storm and acting upon it, is the best thing you can do for YOU.
So, I experienced many triggers this weekend while Mike and I were working in South Carolina and I ignored them. I tried not to give them credibility and went on with what I was doing, but didn’t do anything to change my thought pattern, so the triggers kept coming. Last night I had a dream I was in a very stressful situation and nobody cared. Nobody tried to help me. I was restless all night and woke up frustrated, and anxious, but didn’t know why. While I was getting ready it, all came flooding back to me. In that very moment I realized….
I didn’t want to go on with my day.
I wanted to crawl back into bed and ignore it.
Everything took effort and it frustrated me.
I could feel the anxiety.
I could tell today was going to be hard.
But I kept going.
We have been excited for this weekend “away” for months now, but nothing about this trip was what we planned or hoped for. I guess it boils down to a lot of unmet expectations and anxiety that I don’t want to deal with.
Some days I don’t experience anxiety. Some days are weightless, free and happy. Some days take little effort on my part. But most December days I am weighed down, I feel confined and frustrated. Most December days I fight my way through the day, reminding myself what God’s word says about my life.
“Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts, and minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7
The opposite of anxiety is acceptance, peace, relaxation and joy. When anxiety is worry, fear, and overwhelm, how do we get to peace joy and acceptance? The irony is that it is in God’s gift, his son he sent to earth to be our savior. It’s in these December days that we celebrate Christ’s birth and the coming of our savior.
I love the idea of Christmas, but as soon as we get into these December days I want out… I’m ready to be done, I’m ready not to be so busy and just live the day to day. I don’t want to feel this way. Hopefully someday Christmas will be joyful time again. Hopefully December days will be just that, December days.
Dear God, I really want to alleviate my anxiety by replacing it with your peace. Please help me to remember to put you first and not let my emotions and circumstances dictate my happiness. You give peace so I choose that. In Jesus name, Amen.