On most days, I pride myself with the ability to keep it together - to maintain a calm, cool and collected facade. I've always been able to do this - giving speeches in high school, auditioning for plays I desperately wanted a part in, or now into adulthood interviewing for jobs or leading that one intimidating meeting at work. I think most of us can relate to feeling nervous on the inside but "keeping our cool" on the outside.
For me it's always been a bit deeper than general nerves. I've always leaned more towards the anxious end of temperaments. As early as I can remember, there was always something to worry about. My parents foreboding (and then impending) divorce, school, money, job security - you name it, I've woken up in the middle of the night about it. And I've always mentally pushed it aside as 'not a big deal,' thinking that because I haven't had a full fledged panic attack yet, there's not really much to deal with.
Have you ever been plagued with something that felt just moderate enough that you believed you didn't deserve a better reality?
I think that's where I'm at. I've been believing the lie that I can't live a life free of the gripping worry I know isn't normal. I think I've allowed myself to believe that where I'm at is good enough, that the inherent thought patterns I've repeated throughout my life are unbreakable and that I'm destined for this to be my one of my vices - that it's in part just who I am.
The thing is, for us who believe this about our lives, about ourselves, or about our present circumstances, this deeply grieves our God. For all of the beautiful things I know and love of God, I know He didn't create a world to place us in that left us feeling isolated or alone or unfulfilled or purposeless or [insert adjective here]. You see, it grieves God when His kids can't hear His calling of love, purpose, and joy that He whispers to those willing to hear and receive.
I think I'm starting to realize that my anxieties, while maybe not wholly tied to, are partially tied to the amount of time I spend listening to Jesus. The less time I spend with Him, asking Him to speak words of purpose and love and adoration into places of my soul I need it most, the more time those 'soul gaps' turn into sleepless worries.
So I'm starting slow - 5 minutes of mindful listening for the voice of Jesus a day. Most days, I don't hear anything and I think that's okay. Psychologists and marriage counselors alike say time and time again that listening - true listening - is one of humans greatest struggles. So I'm practicing listening, knowing in great belief that He's always speaking and that it'll just take time for me to hear and receive and that praying for grace upon grace, mostly grace for myself, is an okay prayer to start with.
PS: The new logo work is all thanks to my friend Sarah Gillihan. She just launched her photography and graphic design business, Braevin, a few months ago and I am so excited to follow her journey as she listens to the call of God to partner with people in bringing beauty to their dreams.