Friday, April 15, 2011

With Him I can silence my demons

I have a friend who used to smoke.  We'll call her Mary.  She smoked for decades.  And although she doesn't smoke anymore, she insists that she will always be "a smoker".  Every day Mary wakes up and still wants a cigarette, but she tells herself "Not now.  Maybe later." Later rolls around and she says "Today I won't smoke.  I want to, but I can make it through today without one."  And so it goes, every day of her life.  For years since she quit, she has talked herself down off that ledge.  Mary is a smoker who chooses every day not to smoke.

Her story touched me deeply despite the fact that it was told to me so nonchalantly in the break room that day, probably over some sodium-filled frozen lunch.  Because we all have our addictions, our demons.  And it's often too easy to feel that because we haven't overcome the desire for things that are detrimental to us that we can't abolish the harmful behavior.  But Mary....Mary knows better.  She's living proof that we can choose to have a better life, our best life, even if that little voice still haunts us in the morning.

So it is with me and worry.  Remember when I encouraged all of you to always wonder but never worry?  That post, along with so much of what I've said or written in my life, was as much an attempt to encourage myself as it was to share a story with all of you.  And this week that worry demon reared his ugly head again.  The more I let him in, you see, the stronger he gets, until he turns to fear, the kind of fear that can, and does, quickly devolve into despair.  And despair....well, despair is a truly horrible, dark place to be.

That horrible, dark place is where I found myself just this morning.  Right there, right in the middle of despair that came from fear that started with worry.  All the sounds of my house were muted.  The colors too.  Nothing seemed important or even real.  I didn't know what I should, or could, do.  I felt paralyzed.  "Please God," I finally cried, "please tell me what I need to do.  Show me what I can do to make everything better.  How can I fix this problem and that one, too and make sure everything turns out the way I think it ought to?  Please just tell me what I should do!"  Then I looked down at my littlest girl, staring up at me so sweetly.  She saw my tear-streaked face...and she laughed.  She laughed because she thought I was laughing.  And at that very moment I knew God was giving me my answer.  You see, my sweet baby doesn't know anything about worry or fear or despair.  All she knows in life is hope and love and happiness.
" 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.  Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.'  And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them." Mark 10:13-16

A smile spread across my face.  The way my innocent child trusts so fully in her parents is exactly how Jesus calls us to trust in God!  I didn't need to do anything at all.  I just needed to give my troubles to Him.  Of course, if I had real faith in my heavenly Father and His undying, unconditional love, I would never worry another moment in my life.  But I am an imperfect human, and I still have my demons- demons who whisper in my ear, telling me to be afraid, to point out my shortcomings and all that can go wrong in the world.  But this morning I was reminded by God, through my precious child, who is such an incredible gift from Him, that I can be just like Mary.  I can still have faith and be hopeful and live the peaceful, happy life of a child of God despite those unholy whispers.  The only thing I can...should do, ever, is to trust Him.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

27 comments :

  1. I'm a chronic worrier as well. Thanks for this post. While I don't wish worrying on anyone, it's nice to have someone to identify with.

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  2. I, too, am a serious worrier. The extreme worry usually comes in the middle of the night. I try to think of Matthew 6:25-34, as well as Philippians 4:6-8.

    I'm glad that you are sharing your journey with us!

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  3. Sigh. I know those demons all too well. It all starts with me making plans. Then things don't go according to my plans and then I start to worry and yes, despair likes to slink right in. Seems like a pretty simple solution. I mean I have learned my lesson over and over. Trust God's plan. His plans are better than mine. He can see the FUTURE! Duh. Yet I continually find myself back at square one again making those plans . . .

    That's a precious little reminder you have there. ;)

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  4. But luckily every day is a new day! We always have another chance to shake him and start trusting Him, which is a darn good thing....I need all the chances I can get :)

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  5. Do not look for­ward in fear to the changes in life; rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you can­not stand it, God will carry you in His arms. Do not fear what may hap­pen tomor­row; the same under­stand­ing Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day. He will either shield you from suf­fer­ing or will give you unfail­ing strength to bear it. Be at peace, and put aside all anx­ious thoughts and imag­i­na­tions.

    ~Prayer by Saint Fran­cis de sales

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  6. This made me mist up a bit. How wonderful that you were able to look at your daughter and feel better. Most people might have missed that sign.

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  7. I'm a worrier, too. I worry about everything, even about worrying. What a nice and reassuring moment with your daughter. So sweet!

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  8. Thank you Bernie & Katie! I love that you guys have been reading my blog every day. You are so sweet!

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  9. Like Bernie said, this made me feel a little weepy (the pregnancy hormones never went completely away apparently).

    Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing your emotional basketcase-ness with me haha!!

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  10. Beautifully written and so incredibly true. I remember when my mother used to have a daycare and one day one of the little boys was on the steps and saw my dad and got really excited. Instead of walking down the stairs, he stepped off the landing and just assumed my dad would catch him. My dad caught him and the kid never knew how close he came to injury. That is the kind of faith that I wish that I had...

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  11. Wonderful post - very inspiring! Thank Heaven for your little angel...

    I often lie awake at night and worry about things that I have absolutely no control over (like my parents dieing... duh. No one is exempt from that whole death thing.) What's the use in worrying over things like this? I have no idea - but I still worry.

    I'm also a smoker for life - I quit about a year ago - started back on my one year anniversary of quitting... heh... I quit because I didn't want to be a smoker anymore. I fought it every single day for a year. Then I decided I didn't want to fight it anymore and I had a cigarette. That one cigarette led to two, three, four... now I'm a full on smoker again. I'll quit again one day - but I'm afraid it won't be for a while. If I quit smoking again I'll head for the refrigerator. I was already fat when I quit - but I gained about 20 ADDITIONAL pounds the year I quit smoking. I'm afraid at this point that the weight is a bigger risk to my health than the smoking... Neither are good though.

    "I'm a hazard to myself..." - Pink

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  12. I think I'm bookmarking this for whenever I'm there. I remember thinking it when I was pregnant, that the way my son depends on me is how I should depend on God. How wonderful that parenting can be such a devotional ;)

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  13. @Daenel- I love that story! Sometimes in the craze of life we can forget that children can teach us so much. I'm definitely a better, more interesting person since having kids :)

    @Erin- Thank you so much! It's so nice to hear other moms who've had the same experience :)

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  14. Your faith is stronger than you think as evidenced by this moving, trusting in God post.

    I, too, am a worrier. Fortunately, God has blessed me with a husband who isn't.

    I love that you could see in your daughter the trust we should all strive for in trusting God to know what is best for us and to guide us and help us.

    Thanks for the inspirational message.

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  15. Stopping by from the hop, hope you'll come visit, too! http://hisperfectpromises.blogspot.com/

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  16. So sorry that you struggle with this! I was raised by a worrier so I know how it can consume your life. Please know that the Heavenly Father wants to claim the victory over this for you!

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  17. It's comforting to know I'm not alone in this struggle against despair. Your description of him creeping up is spot-on. I am right in the middle of a big bout of worry and struggling so hard and you come along and remind me to give it to our Lord: perfect timing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    And thanks to Anonymous who posted the St. Francis de Sales prayer. That is beautiful.

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  18. beautifully written * wonderful ur angel's giggle brought light in ur moment of fear * * cheers to continuous inner growth, love & despair * life sure is a brilliant mystery * thank u for sharing!

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  19. How did you know that this is exactly what I needed this morning? Thanks Dweej!

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  20. I think NCRegister should pick you up too...you write very well. I tweeted!

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  21. @Sarita- thank you! I KNOW you're right.

    @b.- there is always some new revelation or discovery to make, isn't there? Life is never boring!

    @Paula- I am so happy you liked it... :)

    @Therese- Wow, I'm really flattered! Thank you so much for tweeting as well.

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  22. And all God's children said Amen ! Beautiful post : D

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  23. I hate the word worry (I know, I know, some people hate the word hate). And since recognizing God at work in my life a handful of years ago, I feel it less. I still use it sometimes, and I use it so casually, that's some to work on.

    Love your blog.

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  24. Thanks for joining us at Sunday Snippets-A Catholic Carnival.

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  25. aaah, yes. we really ARE very much alike...

    ps. when is your birthday my fellow Cancerian? mine is the 19 and my daughters is the 12....i ALMOST had to share my birthday cake with her. that would not have been a good day.

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