jesus/ musings on faith, mental hell

give me rest.

I am so tired.

Yet I can’t sleep. The dark circles under my eyes probably tell you that.

There are some days/nights where my anxiety overtakes me down to the bones.

There are others where depression calls the shots.

Then there are the fun days where both fight for control of my brain.

A lot of days lately have been the third option: the overwhelming numbness and apathy paired with the exhausting parade of anxious thoughts, fears, and worries dancing together in my head, fighting for who gets to lead.

It’s utterly exhausting.

Today has been a more particularly bad anxiety day.

Anxious about things that I can’t fix. (I’m the helper. I’m supposed to fix the things).

Anxious about things out of my control.

Anxious about things that are not my responsibility to be anxious about, yet I feel guilty if I’m not worried about them.

Anxious about important things I haven’t figured out, like finding a full-time job or why my back hasn’t stopped hurting since August. Frustrated being stuck at home day in and day out, feeling like nothing is getting accomplished.

I feel shaky and my stomach hurts and I can’t stop the obtrusive thoughts and what ifs. I replay every thought, every word said, and every interaction in my brain, worried I said the wrong thing or didn’t do enough or did too much.

I’m struggling to keep my head above water.

I want to pray, but words don’t come out. And when they do, they’re normally angry.

I want to worship, but I can’t get my mouth to form the words. Don’t have the energy or the belief right now.

Between my migraines, lack of sleep, and my back, I can’t sit up straight long enough to Bible study right now.

The only bit of Jesus I tend to get right now is through my devotionals, which I usually read right before bed so they’ll stick to my brain as I try to sleep.

I was reading in my Savor devotional last night, and the scripture caught my attention.

Psalm 55. A psalm I didn’t recognize. Shauna quoted verses 6-8:

“I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
    and stay in the desert;[c]
 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
    far from the tempest and storm.”  (NIV)

I decided to read the rest of the Psalm, and felt that all-too-familiar feeling of my heart caught in my throat:

Listen to my prayer, O God.
    Do not ignore my cry for help!
 Please listen and answer me,
    for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.

My enemies shout at me,
    making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me
    and angrily hunt me down.

My heart pounds in my chest.
    The terror of death assaults me.
 Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
    and I can’t stop shaking. (v 1-5 NLT)

1-3 Open your ears, God, to my prayer;
    don’t pretend you don’t hear me knocking.
Come close and whisper your answer.
    I really need you.
I shudder at the mean voice,
    quail before the evil eye,
As they pile on the guilt,
    stockpile angry slander.

4-8 My insides are turned inside out;
    specters of death have me down.
I shake with fear,
    I shudder from head to foot.
“Who will give me wings,” I ask—
    “wings like a dove?”
Get me out of here on dove wings;
    I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
    I want a cabin in the woods.
I’m desperate for a change
    from rage and stormy weather. (Message version)


Yup. I’ve been there. A lot. 

The enemy shouting at me (though in my head). Causing trouble where there shouldn’t be any.

The heart pounding in my chest. The terror. The fear and trembling and shaking.

A day in the life of an anxiety sufferer. Of a panic attack sufferer.

While I haven’t had a full-blown panic attack in a while (praise be to God), I often still feel the pounding heart, the shaky hands, the sense of terror of dread that accompanies panic21740606_1185978468170862_1643832430519548051_n. It’s unsettling, to say the least.

I long desperately for my brain to rest. To find somewhere to escape this mess and actually rest.

I don’t want to worry or panic about things out of my control. Or things I don’t have to freak out about, things I’m not responsible for. And yet here I sit, anxious about tomorrow and whatever will be. It’s the worst feeling.

I want God to hear me, to take this burden and all this stress from me, but I can’t make out the right words.

The rest of the Psalm reassures me that he hears even my wordless whispers of frustration, even when I feel like he doesn’t:

I call to God;
    God will help me.
At dusk, dawn, and noon I sigh
    deep sighs—he hears, he rescues.
My life is well and whole, secure
    in the middle of danger
Even while thousands
    are lined up against me. (Message)

I want to believe this. I want to believe he hears, he listens, he cares. But lately, it doesn’t feel like it. Life has proven otherwise.

Maybe that’s the depression talking, who knows. I want to believe He’s seeing these words and listening as I type them. Lord, help my unbelief.

I want so desperately to believe Him. To find rest. To find peace and quiet and to ignore the damn voices that are shouting fear and chaos and unrest.

But they’re loud, God. They’re so freaking loud. And I still can’t sleep.

It’s in these times that I’m grateful that King David wrote these psalms because it reminds me that even a man after God’s heart fell into these valleys and periods of darkness. And he made it through. Maybe I can too.

Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
    he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.
He’ll never let good people
    topple into ruin.

Someday, I hope I’ll be better at ignoring the shouts and screams. I want to find peace, rest on the wings of a dove, away from the enemy and the panic. I want to trust that God sees me and will give me help, give me this rest I so need. I want to find rest and peace in Him, but I can’t find Him anywhere it seems.

Maybe then I won’t be so tired.

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