Early Sunday morning, I was awakened around 2:30. I could not fall asleep. In moments when my body gets restless & my mind won't turn off, the enemy thinks he has me. And if I'm honest, he used to. In my many many years of undiagnosed anxiety & depression, he had a grip on me that sometimes felt like chains around my entire body, mind & spirit. Shackling me to a weight of shame. A ball and chain I lugged around loudly on the inside, and tried my damndest to keep quiet on the outside...where everyone could see. The awkward tension that rises up like flames licking the vulnerable parts of my heart when even the slightest things changed quickly. I kept thinking that I just needed to let God have control in all my circumstances. Which is true. But even beyond that surrender, there was still this terrifying anxiety that was so sinister and conniving, and it mocked me without relent.
When I can't sleep, when my body refuses to be still, when my thoughts of sadness race fast enough to overlap each other, I find things that bring me life. I love to create things. Different media, designs, written pieces, blogging. It's a safe coping skill I have learned to unashamedly pull out of my arsenal. Yesterday morning when I couldn't sleep, I designed an image and all I could muster across my brain in a reel of thoughts was, "I wanna see you today, Jesus."
And he heard me. And he answered me. I didn't even have a certain level of expectation as to how I wanted to see him. All I knew was that I wanted to see him. He came in a very unsuspected, but tangible way.
The bible says our steps are ordered of the lord. And man, yesterday was such an awesome blessing for me. I went to church, and had a plan to go to the gym right after. I was on one of the last machines & had one more set of 15 I wanted to do on my triceps. I was ready to push another 90lbs but it was almost like the lord tapped me on the shoulder and said, "no, 55 is enough." So I got up. Something I wouldn't normally do. I went to tan for my usual 9 minutes and when I stepped in I felt so dizzy. I knew I needed to get out. So I did. Then I hopped back in. And I knew I shouldn't stay in because i was close to passing out. so, against what i really wanted to do, i was nice to myself and got out. I let the time run out on the tanner, got dressed, and walked out. my next plan was lunch. i was going to walk to the food court for subway but remembered my wallet was in the car and i was not about to walk back and forth two more times just to get it. so i decided to drive to the next nearest subway. as i pulled in, a familiar vehicle pulled in at the same time in the other driveway. it was a couple of my favorite people. we laughed and went inside. they bought my sub and sat with me for lunch. my next plan was to head to the water to read and journal. but i got roped into some ice cream ... ahem ... sugar free frozen yogurt. which also got paid for. after that, i was then going to head to read. but... God must have known i needed some sun, what with not being able to make it through my 9-minutes of UV. So i went back with those sub-buying, fro-yo treating people and laid in the pool for 2 hours. it was amazing.
now i realize, this sounds non-amazing. but as i sat back and reflected on a day that went mostly the way i had planned, i realized that it was so much better than i had anticipated. it was going to be a day alone, reading, treating myself to some gym time, self compassion. and i got all of those, but with a big huge cherry on top. and i started to walk backward through my day. God reminded me of the moment i was sitting on that weight machine, about to push another 15 reps of 90lbs. but he told me i had done more than enough, to get up and go. and then he showed me in the tanner, realizing it was too much and i chose to leave. i realized if i had pushed thru those things, avoided his little nudges, i would have missed the subway rendezvous, the fro-yo treat and the best treat of all, spending time with people who have walked with me thru some pretty rough patches, never treating me any less, loving on me like i was part of them.
so yea, i'd say my prayer was answered...when, at 5am, the morning of church, not being able to sleep that night, i mustered a feeble prayer that was just a few words, "i wanna see you today, jesus." and i saw him. big time.