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.

Did I Hear You Right?

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My whole life was falling apart. Our family was breaking. I was leaving my house that I had poured so much into, and had made a home. I was mourning a failing marriage – the loss of a husband and father. I was crushed, and absolutely devastated for my children. All I could do was put one foot in front of another. All I had was my two babies and my job. I needed to move away. I needed to continue to provide for my children.

Work was great. I threw myself into it, I was a top performer, I knew the job inside out and could do it in my sleep. Everything in my world was being changed, flipped upside down, wrecked. If only I could transfer my job from the location I was at, to the location I was moving, it would be ONE thing that I could keep the same – one less thing to worry about, and one constant. Normally a request like that was easily fulfilled, however this happened to be an abnormal time in the company where there was a hiring freeze – of course. 

Those days were hard. I was truly broken. Daily I would take steps to transfer, and daily I would find less hope. I prayed to God, begged God, pleaded, and cried to please let me hang on to this one thing. Ending a marriage, researching lawyers, packing a household and taking care of two babies was enough.  I did not want to job search on top of all that. 

I drove home from work that night discouraged. I finally let go. Tears flooded my cheeks as God pried my white-knuckled little fingers away from one of the only things I had left. I finally surrendered, I finally let go. God told me that He was more than enough. That night I began to look at other employment options. I leaned on God, trusted Him, and had faith that His way was perfect. I had peace.

The very next morning when I got to work, I was informed that there was a brand new position available. This position was only available in one store in the whole company nation wide.. It was a job grade higher than mine, and two miles away from where I was moving to. There was quite a bit of competition for the position, long story short, I miraculously got the job, which was a promotion, that came with a heavy pay increase. God took care of me in a way better than what I had dared ask for, but He required me to lose my grip and give up “my control” to Him before meeting my every need. He made me listen to his “no” before changing His answer to a “yes.”

As I learn (sometimes the hard way) to listen to God’s voice more and more, sometimes I become confused. You do the right thing. You listened to what God has told you to do. The message was beyond clear, there was no doubt in which direction He was leading. You may have been excited about the new direction God was so obviously leading you in, and ready to give 100%. Then, out of nowhere, God changes the direction. You begin to question the voice of God. If He was so clearly giving me a “yes” why is He now so clearly giving me a “no?” Would God tell us to do one thing, and then change the direction after we have surrendered to His will? Did I hear God right?

“…he stretched out his hands, and took the knife to slay his son.” I can only imagine the tears that stung his eyes, and the incredible sorrowful pressure that must have filled his chest. “But the Angel of the LORD called to him from the heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said ‘Here I am.’ And he said ‘ do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide, as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

 

 

© 2016 Leah J. Dillon
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