Pretending to be something you’re not is exhausting.
On the outside I looked calm. I had a smile on my face and a laugh that came easily. The doctors and nurses praised me for the excellent job I was doing. I nodded as I kept talking to my little girl as she went under for surgery for her second set of tubes and to remove her adenoids.
On the inside I was a fiery mess of panic, fear, and anxiety. My heart had been racing for two days as I quietly hid my fear from Madi so that she wouldn’t be afraid. And when it was all over? When our amazing doctor came out ten minutes after we sat down in the waiting room to say it had gone great, she was done, how we made the right choice, I felt the shell begin to crumble.
It took longer for them to call us back to the recovery room than it did for the doctor to perform the surgeries, and more “what ifs” began winding anxious circles through my mind. The truth was, she was fine. She did amazingly well and recovered more quickly than we anticipated. She was back at school the next day and – other than a heartbreaking moment when she looked at me at bedtime with sad eyes and said “Where were you when I woke up, mama?” – in a phenomenally happy mood.
I, however, feel like I’m suffering an emotional hangover.
Fear paralyzes my mind. I can’t think of God’s truth in scripture, I can’t pray, I can’t do anything but wallow in worry. And I realize it’s because I haven’t taken the time in the calm seasons to prepare for the storms life brings. So today I’m processing and asking myself a few questions:
- What have I done to fill my heart with God’s word so that I can cling to it on the hard days?
- What have I done to foster community and give back to others so I can lean on them when I need prayer most?
- What do I need to gather today so I can face tomorrow with a truly calm spirit and not a facade?
Because I could only keep up the fake fine for so long before it crumbled around me. Living a life of dual extreme emotions is unhealthy and exhausting, and a temporary fix to a very real problem for me. Feeling fear on the inside and acting fine on the outside doesn’t help me learn to trust God’s promises for my life, and it doesn’t teach my daughter how to be free. Not fearless, but free of the chains of paralyzing fear.
A Question For You:
What do you do to prepare for life’s storms? What scripture do you turn to when fear threatens to take over?