Sometimes tears just come out of nowhere. You know what I’m talking about don’t you? One minute you think you are just fine and the next minute, here come the water works. I feel especially bad when my poor husband is sitting there trying to figure out what just happened. All he heard was, “I’m trying to talk to you but I don’t feel like you are listening,” …and that’s about when the tears began to fall. He sorta looked like a deer caught in the headlights, but I knew exactly what was wrong…my anxiety was back.
It was no one’s fault and it was everyone’s fault all at the same time. I just sat there and let myself cry. I don’t really understand why crying my eyes out makes me feel so much better, but it really does.
We saw the movie “Inside Out” not too long ago. My favorite quote from that movie (which my family can attest to) is…while in a fit of despair, the character, Sadness says, “Crying helps me stop and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.” I laughed so hard! That hit a little too close to home for me. Isn’t that exactly what happens? The tears begin to fall for one reason, and then all of a sudden there are a thousand reasons why it seems perfectly legitimate to be crying. We just sit there and let the world pile on our shoulders, while logic takes a backseat.
After this particular lapse in reasoning was over, I was able to identify four specific triggers of my anxiety:
1. What am I focusing on?
Things have become a little busy and chaotic and I have let my time with Jesus become less important. I know he’s still there but I have not kept him close. That is why a simple text from a friend unravelled me. I knew instantly that the Lord was wanting to use me in her life, but instead of going to Him with it I dwelled on it for days. Instead of just trusting that God would speak through me when the time came, I doubted. My constant need for control and acceptance led to anxiety paralysis. But I am on the other side of that conversation now and there was nothing but respect, forgiveness, and love between us. Had my focus been on how God would come through instead of my own abilities, I would have saved myself a lot of grief.
2. What time of the month is it?
I’m just tellin’ it like it is. Hormones have plagued me my entire adult life. But THIS IS NO EXCUSE! I have been under the care of a wonderful doctor for the last 5 or 6 years. I now at least know when PMS will hit. This is a huge advantage (for years I was unable to predict my cycle and would never know if what I was feeling was a hormone surge or I was just plain crazy). BUT, even knowing when PMS is coming is not an excuse to justify my actions. I still have a choice as to how I am going to behave in spite of what is going on in my body. I don’t always make the right choice, but I when I do, the peace far outweighs the times that I react instead.
3. Circumstances matter.
Let’s see…current circumstances: At the time of the tear incident, my husband was about to leave town for two weeks. This meant that I am now going to be the sole driver of the household for 2 weeks. Between homeschool co-ops, music lessons, church activities, grocery shopping, and yoga classes, it feels like I am in the car more than I am home. I find this exhausting (hence, the yoga classes). Also, we are just entering April, which is crunch time for end-of-the-year school projects and papers due. Circumstances are constantly changing, but God is constant and unchanging. Rest from my circumstances is found in Him.
4. Anxiety thrives on procrastination
I can look around my house right now and probably see 10 different piles of “projects” that I have intended to work on for way to long. I sometimes feel like the queen of procrastination. Every time I lay eyes on one of these said piles, I get this knot in my stomach that only grows with time. I was recently told about something called the Passion Planner. It is AMAZING! It is helping me break these projects down into bite sized chunks and feel more accomplished. I HIGHLY recommend it!! I am not delivered from procrastination, but learning to use my time wisely has transformed my attitude. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, I rejoice in the small victories.
What triggers your anxiety? Have you learned ways to combat those triggers? What is God teaching you about yourself through your discoveries? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!