Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Time and danger.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

[photo credit]

She did good. She stood up like a
planted flower among yellow weeds
turning to please the sun
                they were all shiny
it was known she was planted

– from “Stanzas” by Grace Paley

I’ve been thinking a lot about time. How I use it. How slowly and quickly it seems to pass – and why it is that it never goes fast enough during the hard parts and the waiting parts and is so darn hasty when you’d just like it to stop. And how to protect it — saying yes or no.

At TGCW 2012, Mindy Belz spoke on a journalist’s call to speak truth. She quoted Ann Voskamp as she talked about being a “dangerous disciple of an unsafe God.” A slowly creeping realization revealed itself then.

To be planted. To be unsafe.

For a few years now, I’ve been protecting myself. Keeping in mind my own sensitivity, strengths and weaknesses during and after a period when I never knew whether the day’s events would have me feeling fine or curled up on the couch sobbing — since a disturbing scene in a movie might have me in bed all day, since I could easily let the burdens of my youth group girls weigh on me like they were my own.

Anxiety is crippling, not just in its attacks but between — less like a loaded gun and more like a spider web, a soft underbelly.

With that fragility came strict management of my time and activities. I couldn’t read about starving children or sex trafficking or abortion. I certainly couldn’t meet their victims. I relied on grace, and on the ones stronger than me to fix things, and I prayed for them.

But this year. Now. I’ve zipped myself in long enough, I think, and I’m hearing small whisperings of danger — the danger that gums you but can’t bite.

I’m moving toward being less protective of my time and stepping into more and more healing.

To prove it, this week I prayerfully volunteered for two positions that will take up a few hours each week on top of my normal duties. I’m hoping they not only help me keep moving toward freedom, but place me in positions to help free others.

And maybe they’ll give me some writing fodder, as well?


Who am I now? [Part 2]

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post, Who am I now?

Yesterday, I posted about struggling with my role during one of life’s in-between phases.  These are some of the questions I’m asking.

1) What defines my role?

When I prioritize my roles, I would say that I am first a follower of Christ, then a wife, then a professional whatever I am.  But my freedom in Christ from guilt and legalism, then, should always trump my preconceived notions of wifedom, wherever they may have come from.  (And ironically, I’m am much better wife when they do.)

“Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” Romans 7:4-6 (more…)


Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

photo credit

Sometimes panic grips me like a dark stranger, pulling me thrashing around a forgotten corner.  It muddies my mind and smothers my tongue.  It only can render me speechless in the midst of an undertow of thought, dizzying and heavy and murderous, thought that pins me like a stuck moth to what holds me.

But sometimes, most of the time, it’s as quiet as breathing. This fear manifests itself as comparison, as apathy, as business, as excuse.

This artist’s greatest foes are fear and self: fear of trying and of failure, particularly with people watching, especially when something is at stake.  Fear of time-wasting, of comparison and inferiority, of pride and self-centeredness, of wallowing in the hidden regions of my mind, flirting with darkness, keeping secrets.  I worry that to delve into the parts of me that ache to create will involve pain, and that I will stay there, undoing my slow and difficult journey toward trusting Jesus with my heart and identity and future.

Identity.  Aren’t I over that by now?  Such an adolescent word has no place here, I think. I tell it to move on over but I feel its pressure as plainly as my pulse.

Creatively, I have this idea — I’d call it silly but that I believe it so deeply — that if I am to create as a Christian, I must always do so out of joy and abundance and peace.  That I can no longer claim ignorance in searching for meaning, because meaning is prescribed to me: “My identity is in Christ.”  It’s a cleanly packaged Christian phrase I hear and read often, and I agree with it wholeheartedly.  Ultimately my identity IS found in Christ.  I no longer live separately from my creator; the meaning of my life is the sum of His.  “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation,” His word says.  Hallelujah.  But when I read the rest of the verse, “the old has gone and the new has come,” I admit I am bewildered.

What happens to my old self?  The parts of me that don’t just get thrown away and replaced, but that begin to form into a Christ-likeness that still retains a shadow of the purposeful creation that is Brynna?

I am sure that I was created to create; I strongly believe that is an indispensable part of being created in His image. But I’m still working out what that really looks like on a daily basis. I am pursued and surrounded by the thought that my creation must be clean and happy and nice, and it often leaves me bound up and conceding defeat.

Joy, you see, is a troublesome thing that I can’t easily reconcile with my creative process.  Training myself away from despair-driven creation has not, thus far, been fruitful for me; I just feel dull, empty, bland — and safe. Too safe, too comfortable, and above all not myself.  Can it really be that my only exploration of the dark, messy, and imperfect is a means to expose its flaws, to point to the Light?  Or is there truth in ruin that is not present in the neat and tidy?

I do not wish to glamorize evil; I only wish not to fear what is true.  To untangle a knot, you don’t pull at either end of a string.  You prod the middle, picking strands until the mass loosens.  All of humanity is caught in a mess called sin that takes a little swimming around in to get out of.

More thoughts on this to follow.