Psalm 94:19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Since COVID-19 took over our lives, I have struggled with worry. No, worry isn’t right. Anxiety is more accurate. It’s weird. I know I have experienced much worse situations. My wife discovering my infidelity. My sons not speaking to me for months after that. Losing my job multiple times. The death of both of my parents within 1 year of each other. Real devastating issues. For some reason, though…my anxiety has been crippling. Which really makes me laugh when I stop and think about how my current situation compares to previous experiences.
I haven’t slept well. For the last few weeks I have probably averaged 4-5 hours a night, tops. My schedule, stability, all are off. I like routine. I didn’t realize how important that was to me until recently. My routine isn’t routine. I can’t get into a groove. Work, life, marriage, my kids, my job, church. All are off. I don’t quite know what to do about it. So far I have just not done anything. Except whine, obviously.
My wife and I take walks every day. It’s part of our routine. A major part of our intimacy building. And something we just both crave. Even when I travel, which I usually do a lot for work, we take a walk together on a video call. It’s our time to catch up, listen, talk about our lives, the future, our boys, our struggles, our hopes, dreams…and then we stop on a bench along the lake and we pray together. This part of my day has been transformational for my marriage…and my own recovery.
One of my wife’s strengths is that she is a truth teller. I didn’t recognize this until very recently. She has always been a truth teller. I just didn’t realize how important that part of her character was to me. I come from a family of untruth tellers. We hide stuff. We cover up. We don’t talk about things. We try to ignore them so they go away. We don’t want anyone to see under the tent. To know what exactly happens. That is my family of origin. And only later did I realize how shocking my wife had to have been to my family. She certainly was to me.
So we stopped along the lake the other day, and we did what we always do. We started talking about what was on our minds. What we wanted to pray about. So she asked me,
“You have been really on edge. I am worried about you. What’s going on? Do I need to be worried?”
“No,” I said. “It’s just all this. Everything. My job, you, the boys, our finances. It’s a lot.”
“Is something wrong at work,” she asked? “What happened? I know you are having a hard time with your boss.”
“Yes, it’s just getting to me. I hate working on this project but I don’t want to not be on a project right now. Not a good time.”
“No, it’s not. Do you like the work still. Is it that? Or just your boss on this?”
“I don’t appreciate how this boss treats me. Nothing is ever right.”
“So let me ask you something. What do you tell your guys when you hear them complain that their wife isn’t responding fast enough, isnt recovering quick enough? What do you say?”
“I say to control what they can control. Take care of their side of the street. That’s all they can do. The rest is God’s job.”
“Yes, that is right,” she said. “So why are you spending all your energy freaking out about your boss? Why don’t you just do what you can do…your work. Do it the best way you can.”
That woman pisses me off sometimes. Especially when she is right. I would like to say since that conversation, I have slept well every night. I haven’t. I have stopped when my anxiety is ramped up and remembered step 3…that I committed to turn my life and my will over to the care of God. Including my anxiety. How’s your side of the street? Mine is still messy…but improving.