a sweet joy

I had a victory today. Most people would call it a routine errand. Most would. My biggest enemy is my own self. My brain runs faster than my tired body can keep up with. I am trapped in a marathon race I did not sign up for. Many days are a struggle. Some are not. There is no explanation or reason to it. It makes no sense and that is what drives me the craziest. There is no real cure, bar a miracle, for which hope I cling. Mostly, I simply deal with it. Clinically, it’s called anxiety or panic. Physically, it’s exhausting. Spiritually, it’s called failure. Today, victory was being able to stand in a line at Kinko’s without having to leave or take a pill. Life can be so hard. I have a wonderful life. And I make the simple stuff hard. How foolish is that?

Yesterday, I was irritated with a guy working in my home that sang like an American Idol reject. Not sure why it irritated me, but in my defense, there was a lot of noise in the house. Then today, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to wait in that line. In the car, I heard Rich Mullins singing, “Hold me, Jesus. I’m shaking like a leaf. You have been King of my Glory. Won’t you be my Prince of Peace?” There’s a theme song for me. Tears spilled over the corners of my eyes because I know that He is my Peace. Where is He today? The pathetic part is I believe. Christ’s Truth is within me. I know He’s the Savior of the World and of my life. I know He is the peace that passes all understanding. I know He is life and joy and truth and love, and He is everything to me. I hold these truths as absolute but they are not self evident. (Matthew 7:20) “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

I realized a while ago that I never have anxiety when I sing. So, here’s what worked today: You can’t have a joyful heart and anxiety at the same time. They are polar opposites. When I walked into Kinko’s, the girl in the back was singing with the background music as she worked. So, I smiled really big, and told her she looked like she was having entirely too much fun. She paused a second, uncertain if I was sincere, so I added, “That is so great. You bring a smile to this place.” And I started to hum as I waited, successfully, for my order. I can’t hum everywhere, and I would definitely be an American Idol reject, but I can have a joyful heart. I can count it all joy as James 1 says. I can know joy and abandon fear.

Please hear my heart on this: If one of you tells me how sorry you are for me, this post will be for naught. But if this helps just one, I’ll count it as another sweet joy today. And I’ll sing.

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13 thoughts on “a sweet joy

  1. I can totally relate…the anxiety, the panic. And I, too, discovered that singing eases my anxiety. And it doesn’t have to be praise songs or songs of worship. My worst time is driving. I have major panic attacks while doing 80 down the highway. I found that I can either pull over and hope and pray that they pass or I can keep going. Singing. On one memorable trip to the beach a few years ago…I had our daughter crank up the radio and screamed for all of them to sing along with me, at the top of their lungs…and we all did…Backstreet Boys…for about 30 miles until my anxiety was gone, my panic depleted. No pity here…just total understanding and thankfulness that you are so willing to share.
    Susan

  2. Singing worship/praise songs is how I battle the pain of Fibromyalgia. Somehow, the pain is not as intense when I am singing along with or just listening to music.

  3. Thanks for sharing and being so real!

    It truly was only minutes after Angie and I were talking about “being real” that I saw this post…what a God thing. Our God is amazing!

    I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!
    In His Name,
    Stacey

  4. Oh, Annie, thanks for being so transparent. Thanks for sharing what helps you…singing praise songs always helps me and i don’t have anxiety attacks, yet…that is a great example of focusing on the Lord,….may He be the Lifter of your head today…do you know that song…I find myself singing that in my head or under my breath at different times and it really does help…God is good and He is good ALL of the time, as you’ve proven…Blessings on your day, Mary Lou

  5. It’s amazing to me when we praise the Lord through song, we can feel so defeated and low, but then our spirits are lifted and joy is replaced by anxiety…. God is our refuge and strength, and the lifter of our heads….sing on!

    Thank you so much sharing your heart with us….dear one!

    I

  6. Wow Annie~ I praise the Lord with you. Did you attend the taping for Beth Moore’s “Stepping Up.” I saw the video for the 2nd session yesterday and she talked about how we’re made to praise and sing songs for Him.

    I agree with you that joy and anxiety cant stay in the heart at the same time. Let’s keep putting on those songs of praise. Yes, I’d be and AI reject too. I cant carry a tune in my purse, but I make a joyful noise (though not always joyful for others).

    One sweet victory at a time!!

    Blessings in Christ–

  7. I would say you were completely victorious. Being victorious doesn’t mean you’re not being bohtered by the wind and waves around you, it means that despite the wind and waves, you are keeping your eyes on the Savior, which is exactly what you did. I would say–you walked on water today. Does that give it a different perspective?

  8. You always speak my language…

    I just posted somewhere else before I came here about this being such an unusually discouraging week for me…one thing after another has happened…so hard sometimes to process…but I knew tonight I could come to your blog to find truth in what you’d say, to find a glimpse of my beautiful God tonight when I so need one, to find a good friend who will share her heart and listen to mine…and I found all that and more for you offer me a taste of a good God and how can I possibly not want to taste…

  9. Oh, Annie, thank you for being so honest! I’ve had anxiety since childhood….I would get physically sick (I’m sure you know the feeling) at Christmas. They called it overly excitable back in the stone ages, but now know it is anxiety! I know how you feel when you say you don’t know why. That’s the part of it that is the most frustrating! I too believe and know that my peace comes from Christ…yet, I still have the attacks. We’ll have to pray for one another! You’re not alone.

  10. Thanks for being real today! My sister-in-law just had a conversation about the authenticity of the people on this blog. We were wondering if any of these people really do have a problem by getting mad or losing their patience or having a panic attack! I think I will be doing a post on it in the near future.

    I almost said I am so sorry, but I decided not to. I don’t want you getting more upset!
    Singing… “You’ve got a Friend”.
    Love you,
    Angie xoxo

  11. My mind can relate to the part of moving 100 mph and not being able to handle all the activity going on up there! 🙂 It can be so frustrating at times. I can instantly feel defeat before i have managed to get the thought moving in some kind of productive direction!

    So…..i shall find that “thing” that brings peace to me…whether its singing or not….and know that I shall overcome that fear or anxiety that has a hold of me.

    Thank you for sharing. I’m going to give it a try…it’ll probably be sooner than later. 🙂

    Love,
    Fran

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