Yesterday I let many people have a glance behind the veil of ministry and into my life. The word of the day was ANXIETY. Immediately my phone began to ring, my social media took a boost, and my heart became burden, but yet full. On the other line was a consistent struggle of a lot of skeletons in the closet. There are so many people who deal with this on a daily basis, and there was somewhat of an inkling of hope for people to hear a pastor have a similar struggle. It is always so surprising to me that people often think though I am called by God that everything else just falls in line. This is so far from the truth it is somewhat humorous. But one thing I did take away from yesterdays conversations, is everyone is looking for that relief, that change of pace, that answer that solves what is keeping them from living a full life.
I explain my anxiety like this. If you have ever gotten out in the ocean and tried to surf this will be easy for you to understand, and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for! I remember the first time I paddled out on a board in San Diego California; it was a Thursday night in Cardiff. It was picturesque! Your surfing career begins with a little judgment and a lot of upper body strength as you paddle against the wreck less chaos of waves coming your direction. This is where undertows are your friend and your lifesaver! I learned to surf like I learned to ski. Or like I learned to manage my life, I just paddled out! There is a point in surfing where you begin to feel the wave pull you into it, as it prepares to spit you out. In this moment you make a choice whether you begin to paddle with or against the wave. But in that moment, if it is just right, you don’t have choice. You have committed, and it is time to jump up and take on the challenge, or become swallowed up by an endless beating, wave after wave after wave. Anxiety is like this, there are moments where I begin to feel it pulling me in, and sometimes I ride, and sometimes I take an endless beating. But I have learned over the many years that this has been apart of my life that standing and riding has such a better outcome than trying to just paddle through it.
But even the best of us who have managed this for sometime, go out on days we have no business trying to surf, and misjudge where we stop paddling and we sink. We sink to a bottom of an unforgiving ocean, only to see a light at the surface that seems impossible to get to. But I write today to tell you to take heart, relax, and don’t fight it, you will emerge again, you will take a deep breath, and you will conquer this. It may take a community to help, it may take a family that holds you up, or it may take some sort of medical relief. I have tried all, and I haven’t conquered this yet.
But I write to you, because I refuse to let the devil win, by me dealing with this alone. This too will bring God glory, this too will make me stronger, and this too will be lived in front of you so that you know you are never alone. None of us are. So I am an anxious person, but first and foremost I am a child of God, and I will decide how I am defined, and I will be hopeful knowing that nothing, not even my chemical imbalance will separate me from my God.
Thank you for all your love and support. And for those of you who have reached out with a similar struggle, my prayer is for you always!