Stress, Anxiety, Panic

1475973_10152423323564097_804826418_nBeing a single parent with 100% custody comes with a lot of responsibility.  Sure, there are people that help out, but ultimately no one cares or invests to the level of a parent. I find myself responsible to pay the bills, unable to tag team in the raising and disciplining of my children, and without support when I just can’t take it anymore. I have found myself in positions where I had worked a seventy plus hour week, had to choose which utility bills to pay vs which ones I could stretch out until the next pay period – no child support here, no idea who I would be able to find to watch my children while I work, short on sleep, a messy house, no clean laundry… and the list goes on – not to mention the judgement I have faced from others. These things that I face seem to have no resolution other than enduring until my children reach adulthood. I feel as though I have been robbed of my motherhood, and missed their childhood. It used to be a regular thing to carry a diaper bag slung over my shoulder, one sleeping toddler in each arm, and trek across a block or two of parking lots to my apartment at two in the morning – just getting home from work.

What I am trying to say is that I am familiar with an overwhelmingly stressful amount of responsibilities. These are not the things a typical twenty-three year old American female faces – but I was facing them. So how are we to deal with stress? What about worry? What is it that triggers panic, gives us anxiety, and straight up scares us to death?

I can’t do it anymore.

I will never be enough.

I am going to get an eviction notice.

I am going to mess up my children’s lives.

I am falling short of the pinterest housewife.

I am not making the six figure income the other fathers are making.

I can’t stay awake.

I am suffering physically because:

I don’t have time to take care of myself.

I don’t have time to be a mother, a father, a provider, and a housewife.

I can’t go to the gym because:

I can’t afford a babysitter for pleasure.

I am alone.

I have no one that cares for me.

I can’t do this anymore and I definitely can not last until they are 18.

I will be lucky if I live until 40 with this amount of pressure on me (Yikes that’s not very long!!!!!)

All these worries. All these stresses. Many are legitimate. All off the seem hopeless, and all of them have something in 60457_10150095322499097_1982694_ncommon. They all start with the same letter, the same word. “I.” Recently I had the epiphany that these stressful moments are merely what I have labeled “selfish attacks.” There are so many concerns that seem like they are ok to have, but ultimately if you take yourself out of the picture, how many of them are really left? The crazy thing is that we don’t even have to be concerned about ourselves. We have all that we need through one source. I would never put my children in harms way. So why would my heavenly Father do that to me? I remember coaxing my little Carter to jump into the pool years ago. I can hardly keep him out of the pool now, but there was a time when he would be brought to tears at the thought of jumping in to me. I had him. There was nothing to worry about. Mommy would catch him – and never let him drown. Carter was worried that he would die. I had to convince Carter to let go of his worry, and give his worry to me. His job was to move forward. My job was to catch him. He had nothing to worry about – that was my job. Carter had to stop thinking about himself and all his worries and focus on my direction.

There is Rest

1001754_10152039268089097_219248586_nPsalm 55:22 proclaims “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you.” Over and over the Bible tells us not to worry. Matthew 11:28-30 records Jesus’ precious words; “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Nowhere are we told to worry. In fact, we are instructed quite the opposite. We are told again by Jesus in Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” There is one more precious gem I must include from Matthew 10:29-31, straight from the caring lips of Jesus “ Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[b] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

When we do as instructed, we are never to worry. He will take care of any needs we have.  My God will supply all my needs. Our earthly concerns are essentially centered around ourselves, and our own selfishness. When we stop focusing on ourselves, and start focusing on greater things – loving and serving others and glorifying the one that takes care of us – our stress vanishes, our anxiety ceases to exist, and our panic is starved to death.

Do not worry my friend, simply rest in His care – have peace knowing that His grace is sufficient. He is more than enough.

Sweet Talk and Google Malfunctions

angry-phone-woman

“Just so you know, I think about them all the time, and I miss them.”

“Ok.” I responded.  It was the safest response I could come up with. I have heard this before a few times. I miss them, I love them, I made the biggest mistake, this time is different. It gets old, and I tend to be a bit sarcastic, realistic, and harsh. In fact, this was the perfect opportunity to tell him all about actions speaking louder  than words, what a real father is, give him that deserved verbal lashing, and grin as I walked away leaving him to drown in his own blood that I had just shed… Instead I put on my smile, “ok.”

I thought tonight I would rant about being wise, not falling for empty words or empty promises.  Maybe steal that line from one of my favorite poets “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, and all he could whisper was sweet, empty nothings–
which meant nothing!” Maybe something about being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Nah, forget that, how about we just focus on the shrewd serpent part, those doves are pretty over rated anyway.

That’s when Google started acting up. I like to look up some Bible verses, inspire myself reading similar topics that I either passionately agree or disagree with… Well, the wrong verse came up: “love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Ha! Wrong verse, bad job Google, plus I don’t love him so that doesn’t apply to this situation.

whispers: “Love your enemies…” grrrrrr

Another Google error found me paging through my Bible, landing in Luke 6 starting at verse 32 – red words. Jesus basically tells us that even really terrible people love those that love them, but we need to love others, give to others, and make sacrifices even when we know that we will receive nothing in return. He then goes on to speak the ever famous “Judge not least you be judged.” Hmmm… I was more in the mood for flipping tables and braiding whips…

Let’s be serious here, what does this guy actually deserve? How can I effectively protect my children and myself from him? What would make me feel good? What does he have coming for him? What about justice? “Forgive and you will be forgiven.”  “Be merciful just as your Father is also merciful.” Luke 6 started sounding more and more beautiful. When we can view those that wrong us, through heavenly eyes, we can see ourselves, and understand a fragment of the immense forgiveness the Father has gifted to us. Just as we are created in His image, we are called to forgive as He forgives.

 

 

 

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:22

*I would encourage you to read Luke 6 – especially verses 27-38.  Here is a link if you are looking to save page turning. 🙂  http://biblehub.com/niv/luke/6.htm

 

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