Anxiety is a million bees, butterflies, and eels in your head, your chest, your belly. Stinging, battering, and squirming inside even on the calmest, most beautiful mornings.
With warm mug in hand and a cool breeze coming in the open window. With beautiful children leaning against your round belly and bird song in your happy ear. With a smile on your lips and a song in your heart… your body still feels like it is being picked into small pieces by something restless and mean spirited. Something with a beak. Something a bit poison. And somehow you know in your head that it is You. Made of you, anyway. Part and parcel with your own chemical makeup. And your Stuff is sparking dangerously like crossed wires in the rain.
Anxiety is waking up in your favorite place on earth, joyful and grateful. Calm in mind, praising the good goodness from the deep spaces of your spirit. But tortured in body. It is feeling the sensation of fear (like that horrible sucking-in-instant when you miss a step on the stairs) without any actual fear to dispel. The gasp goes on and on and on without ever releasing.
You can’t win against it… because there is nothing to defeat. You are boxing at air. There is no problem to resolve, no higher standard to achieve, no faith issue to correct, no extra to extra on top of all the everything. There is just IT. The evil twin in your chest who moans and aches and slips from your throat to your chest to your back… anywhere! anything to slow you down! Begging you never to go out and see the light of freedom.
No wonder we anxious folk are always casting around for something to do, something to fix, someone to love, something to learn, something to mark on the calendar or put on the shelf. It feels like we can do something to make the Angry Insides happy.
The hope of healing is a dangerous thing for Anxious folk. The sort of healing promised by charismatics. Faith healing! The laying on of hands and oil and power. It’s promise is that we could march out of managing our injury and into a life liberated! There is nothing an Anxious person craves more. But the promise can be toxic. It makes us feel that we should feel wrong about the Feeling Wrong that lives inside. That it, in itself, is somehow a burden we have held onto through our own lack of will or faith or belief or whatever.
In truth, the greatest act of Christian healing may be to make a careful home here in the land of angry bees and eels.
The greatest step toward the Great Physician may be settling in to living with our own weirdness, as if living with a special needs child… enduringly, faithfully, and a bit tenderly when we can swing it.
Maybe healing is simply knowing that the weather in these parts is stormy. Fog thick as pea soup some days. Rain lashing at the windows and thunder rattling the foundation. But nevertheless, permitting a sense of well being. Well being in woundedness. A waiting heart, calm above the internal storm.
The Bible offers us this promise: “Strength will rise as we wait on the Lord.”
No one told us how long we would have to wait. We are just told that our strength will rise in the process. I have found that to be true.
I am deeply convinced that what we do while we wait before the Lord is as important as the healing we are waiting for. It is just as healing. Not only of our own hearts, but of wounded hearts around us along the way. Reaching out hands of hope to one another is holy work.
This Homemakery in the madness… This hunkering down in the London fog of the soul… This is Surrender to Sovereignty. This is full confidence that God wastes NOTHING. That each fiber of the tapestry serves a beautiful purpose in telling the story and binding us to our brothers and sisters in love. That the yokes we bear and the yokes we break are ALL deeply purposeful.
And somehow… somewhere along the line… somehow in this journey of making a home in our tumultuous interior town, we have found a peace.
Peace. The healing we sought all along! Peace like a river. There is the outer peace that people see, like a shell… and then the layer of bees… and then… There! buried under the bees, there is another peace. A new peace. A bright Core Peace that burns brightly and will not be snuffed out. That slowly overwhelms shadows.
This is the light we go to “when all around my soul gives way.”