October 30, 2013

anxiety and the search for peace: part 3

In part 1, I admitted my battle with insomnia and identified how I would search for an exit route. In part 2, I talked about various Bible verses that I'm allowing to speak to me about experiencing God's peace. Today is an update on sleep and awareness of anxiety.

After a good couple of weeks reducing my normal 2-3 cups of coffee to just 1, I have to say that this is definitely helping. I love coffee but it's time to admit that the hormone changes brought on by pregnancy have probably made me more sensitive to caffeine. Some days we make half-caff at home so I can enjoy two cups, and occasionally I just have to have another half cup of regular. If I go over this limit I notice a difference at night.

Meanwhile, I am trying to get up before my husband and son to spend just a few minutes in prayer. Before the coffee is made, before the lights are on and the sun is up, I sit at the table or on the couch and pray. I am also trying to empty my thoughts and give God space to speak to me -- to listen for His voice and accept His grace. This is actually pretty hard, because like every mom my brain is multi-tasking on multiple levels and time zones and dimensions, and sitting quietly with God takes effort. But it's worth it. Because I come away with a renewed sense of God's peace in my bones, knowing that today is a new day.

Even on the days when I don't think I can last until bedtime because my son has been screaming about nothing I can identify for the last 10 minutes, I remember that I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:13)

One other thing I'm becoming more aware of is the sources of anxiety in my life. It's not hard to name a lot of them, but I'm starting to notice little things too and trying to do things to make them not so. Like using better communication with my husband, leaving the laundry in the dryer, or letting go of who buys our condo and waiting to see God work in that. The expression Let go and let God seems trite sometimes but doing so truly brings peace.

Have I had times in the last couple weeks when I wake up and my brain starts churning anyway? Unfortunately yes. When that happens, I'm acknowledging that I'm awake and I tell myself it's no big deal, that I can go back to sleep. One night I woke up and didn't realize that I'd already been asleep so I took NyQuil. As soon as I went back to bed I realized what I'd done. Ha! Pretty silly. Oh well. I also still wake up about four times a night, but I'm trying not to worry about that either.

The truth is that I will never run out of things to worry about. I will never have every need settled, every desire met, everything I want, every problem solved. That's just reality. That is also why Jesus invites us to let him do the heavy lifting and learn from him instead. It take conscious effort but it's worth it.