Several years ago I was anxiety-ridden to an extreme. I was at one point even medicated for my anxiousness, especially pertaining to situational OCD. I would literally fear things like health issues so frequently that I’d manifest symptoms, which worsened over time. I eventually got off medication once my mind could recognize and rationalize my fears verses reality.
Nocturnal panic attacks were one of the worst symptoms of my anxiety. These attacks wake you up just before you hit REM sleep, jolting you to a breathless panicked fog as you scramble to gain awareness. The first time it happened I thought I was having a heart attack, or something similar. I remember crawling into the closet for some reason, as I contemplated whether I was actually going to die. I almost had a floating/hovering sensation momentarily, which only strengthens my belief in us being comprised of both body and spirit. 911 was called. When they showed up my vitals were rocket high, yet slowly returning to normal. They suggested panic attack once they ruled out their first suspicion- drugs and/or alcohol.
Those days were brutal. What a journey healing has been. What a blessing despite the pain and hiccups along the way. What a blessing to learn how capable we are of progressing in life if we are intentional with our learning. I was forced to grow, as the alternative I fear could’ve killed me. I’m grateful for the learning, yet I’m realizing now that I’m not quite done, and I suppose we never are.
The first quarter of each year is uber busy in my world. I’m not a CPA, but my tax season is similar when it comes to workload. I see most of my clients this time of year. I always know it’s coming, yet it seems to hit me harder each time. My mother needed help after her surgery late last year, so we saw quite a bit of each other the past couple of months. She offered me some unsolicited advice once she became aware of my nature, my schedule, and my daily to-do list. She basically said I need to slow down. She felt I had too much on my plate, much of which was self-inflicted. She might just be right.
Anyone who reads my blog, follows me on Instagram, or knows me personally realizes I have plenty of commitments. I am also pretty strict, as I believe giving partial effort means it’s probably not worth doing in the first place. Here are just a few of my commitments this year:
220 non drinking days throughout 2020. Why not limit a major light dimmer!
Write my book.
Stretch 10+ minutes every day.
20,000 workout minutes in 2020. Including 5k minute Peloton challenge and 1 half marathon.
100 blog posts during 2020.
150 guitar lessons 2020.
Write 4 songs this year (lyrics), one per quarter.
Read one inspiring and/or spiritual book per month.
Launch podcast 2020.
Probiotics and digestive enzymes daily, along with greens (I struggle eating veggies- yuck)!
These are just some of my commitments for the year. This list doesn’t take into account my normal work and personal life obligations. Given this season being busy, while moving into a new place, I’m nearing panic attack mode again. I also have a new puppy coupled with my 16 year-old pup going through a recent surgery. I can feel panic attacks when they’re brewing, like a balloon is ready to pop. I must have experienced 100 nocturnal panic attacks throughout my late 20s, yet only a handful since. What’s crazy is how our bodies absorb so much of the external stress, yet often we don’t process or release enough to get back to neutral. I can always FEEL when I’m approaching the edge of what I can handle. As my mom witnessed, lately I’m struggling, and certainly not resting much.
I’m hard on myself when I don’t follow through. I realize God’s grace can certainly be an example of how I should treat myself more often. Yet, I have such a hard time over committing to myself and others. Take the people pleaser parts of me and throw those into being over committed and situations spiral out of control. I still struggle with the idea of scheduling peace into my life. That road trip last year helped me realize how important it is to give my spirit rest, along with my mind and body. I’m in a world of constant communication, and if I’m honest I’m struggling mightily at times trying to keep up. I realize much of my goals are self-inflicted, yet how can I decrease when I feel passionate about so much? How can I simply forgo guitar lessons when I want to learn so badly? How can I fail at my workout commitment when I already fell short of my commitment last year? HOW?
I realize I’m in a busy season. I realize sometimes I need to take a breath and relax. I also realize the world doesn’t care a whole lot about what I need, so I must stand firm and say no more often. I need to recognize when I’m overcommitted and be willing to take time for me. I need to prioritize and focus more on the tasks that give me JOY over the tasks that please others. I need to ask for help. I need to give myself grace.
That pit in my stomach, that lump in my throat, that heavy beating in my chest. They’re all signs I’m out of alignment and need to simmer, hit the pause button, and visit the only true source of peace we’re offered in this life. God gave a sabbath for a reason. God rested when creating the world, so why can’t I realize how important rest is while I’m living in it. This is a lesson learned the hard way for me, and still being learned as I continue this walk called life.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. – Genesis 2:2-3 NIV
Does anyone else struggle with anxiety because you’re overcommitted? Does anyone else struggle to MAKE TIME for God, peace and rest? We only live once, I feel like resting along the way is part of God’s designed journey for us. I actually need to add another commitment- peace time. Perhaps this will help me be more equipped to handle the remaining chaos. I want to be transparent. I have struggles and one is overcommitting myself, even to my dreams and loved ones. I am learning to take the “performance hat” off and put on the “dedicated, yet intentional hat” instead. Honestly, there are things I should ask for help with. There are things and people I should say no to. There are probably even a few of my commitments I could postpone. I’m going to try to keep going, yet realize if my journey impacts my health or spirit, then I’m going too far. I’m busy and I’m sure many of you can relate. I pray we give ourselves the blessing and grace to rest.
Surrender Project is 300 DAYS in the making tomorrow! Saying my Surrender Prayer daily and doing my best to TRUST GOD with my future is certainly a commitment I plan to keep! Here’s to chasing JOY, living without regrets, being the GOOD KIND OF CRAZY and SURRENDERING life to God!
Many blessings to my readers and those willing to join me on this journey of SURRENDER. Follow me on Instagram: @Surrender_Project