Sometimes Fear comes along and knocks the wind out of me.
It is quite without warning. Sure, sometimes it’s related to an event- like Hurricane Isabel or my divorce or when Chase was little and had that weird rash that three doctors couldn’t diagnose. Sometimes…it just isn’t.
I don’t know why this happens. Probably equal parts the world we live in, my tendency to over think things, my desire to control things and spiritual attack.
But sometimes…fear and anxiety just roll over me like a tidal wave.
This happened yesterday.
It took a lot of Scripture, prayer, rest and counting graces to get past.
Reasoning with my inner me did not help at all. Stating the facts, “You are fine, you are safe, the kids are safe, John is safe, all is well.” did not help at all.
Psalm 23, it helped. Matthew 5, it helped. Asking God to breathe with me, that helped. My husband taking over with the kids and dinner, that helped. Being thankful…that really helped. I fell asleep last night naming the things I am thankful for.
Earlier in the week, I was remembering a word from the Lord that my friend Jessica got a few years ago. I was wanting to blog about it, but things got in the way. Things got in the way because God was saving it for today. Here is what Jessica learned:
“There is a train on tracks, and there are huge boulders on the tracks. I get out of the train to try to move the boulders when the Lord tells me to get back onto the train because I AM THE BOULDERS. So, ok, I try to get back onto the train and into the engine car (I can’t remember the name of it) and the Lord asks me if I know how to drive a train. Not just metaphorically, but if I have the skill, knowledge, and power to literally drive a train. I have to admit that no, I do not, and I am sent back to my car. I can decorate my car however I like, but I can’t move the rocks, I can’t lay the track, I can’t determine how fast or slow the train goes at all. I have to trust that I have no idea where we are going, but that the Lord does and I have to be ok with that. That the tracks were laid before I was EVER ON the train. He leveled the land, planned it, and laid the track before a train ever rode on it. And here I am presuming to be able to navigate this monster on rails I’ve never even seen, with absolutely no knowledge of what to do.
Did you know that it’s extremely dangerous to attempt to operate a train without knowing how? That it could literally result in death? The Lord convicted me a LOT with that vision (and continues to do so even as I recount it for you!)
So here I am, in my car, having to admit that “I don’t know how to drive no train!” And I can close the windows and do so much self-focus and shut myself off from everything and get to a place where I forget I’m even on a train with the Lord driving, and feel like I’m getting nowhere. OR, I can open the windows, smell the wonderful air, see the trees and land passing by, let the sun come in, and enjoy the fact that I don’t have to know HOW to drive a train in order to ride it to where the Lord’s taking me.”
Jessica and I have been saying for years, “I don’t even know how to drive a train.” when we catch each other or ourselves trying to control things or trying to go our own way. I was thinking about this in relation to my anxiety and I had a lightbulb moment.
Things are out of my control. Life is out of my control.
I can not control who gets sick or when. I can not control how long our lives will be. I can not control what part Aubrey gets in the play or when Claire learns to talk. I can not control hurricanes or my landlord or how much longer the car will run. I can not control anything about Julia’s future or my relationship with Chase. I can not control where John will work or what Lila will say next. I can not control anything because all of this is out of my control.
I can’t drive a train.
And giving up trying and striving to drive the train is really, really freeing.