Monday, August 19, 2013

A New Anxiety

“And he described Jesus in one word. Are you ready for this, Noelle?  Jesus was RELAXED.”

A friend of mine shared with me about a podcast she had heard from Dallas Willard.  I can’t remember how we got there, but this was a divine word that I knew was not an accident.  I consider myself a fairly even-keeled person, but all that usually means is that I store the extra highs and lows on the inside until they ooze out and somebody’s gotta clean them up.  It’s not until my anxiety is called out by name am I able to deal with it.

Motherhood has brought on a new anxiousness.  Everyone calls it “natural” but anxiety is not healthy, even if it’s for good reason.  It eats away at you, one thought at a time.  While I want to be a more relaxed parent, I know it’s simply so not my style.  I’m trying to accept that.  I like structure, and knowing, and stats, far more than I like to just “let things happen.”  Because, what if I let things happen and it turns out horribly?!  How do my motherly instincts fit into this equation?

First it was feeding.  I experienced so much stress with my first two months of nursing; I’m surprised my body didn’t just give up all together.  By God’s grace, we fought through and my son has gained weight without issue, and now we have a wonderful feeding relationship.

Then came the sleeping issue.  Swaddling correctly, sleeping position, is he breathing, etc.  Then general health questions- why is he congested, what is this skin reaction, immunizations, germs in the church nursery and grocery store, indigestion… it’s enough to work one into insomnia, and at times it did.  By God’s grace, my son is figuring out his sleeping on his own, and all of those health worries have worked themselves out.  Imagine that.

Lately I’ve been worrying about pumping schedules, my husband’s role in parenting and my hesitancy to leave my child with other people- if my insecurities are worth listening to or fighting through.

Last night, my husband asked the dreaded “is there anything you need to talk about” question.  What started as a minor concern about the perception of others blew up into a complete projectile spit up (baby pun intended) of anxiety that had been building up itself.  Poor husband, didn't know he'd need a burp rag for the wife too.

Does caring/loving your child so much HAVE TO accompany such high levels of anxiety?  Does thinking about your child 24/7 HAVE TO include worrying about them 24/7?  I think the answer is no, but I realized this was something I most definitely was NOT doing.

When Dallas Willard described Jesus as RELAXED, we’re not talking about the ultimate vacation or spa day.  Jesus really, in every circumstance, trusted the Father.  This is a NEW place for me to trust God.  I may trust him with my marriage, our jobs, family drama, friendships… but suddenly I’m like the kid with the new toy.  I don’t want to share it.  It’s new, and I want to figure it out.  I want this part all to myself.  Why am I so relaxed about trusting the Lord in these other areas of life that are old hat compared to the new, but not this new one: my child.

If I could only stay reminded of how much more God loves my son than I ever can or will, I could finally relax.  I could finally trust.  My shoulders would drop away from my ears, my hands would soften and I could drift back to sleep, if I could just remember how to be like Jesus in this way: at times angry, at times staying up late, at times up early, at times in pain, at times with the weight of the world on his shoulders, but all the while- trusting that the will of the Father to be the ultimate good.


  1. Maybe it's a very good thing I never had children, because I think I would have had your anxiety times ten. It was enough to try to follow Dr. Spock, but there are now so many sources of advice on how to bring up a child that it's hard to know which one(s) to follow. You hit on the right answer--turn it over to God, like everything else in your life. :)

  2. I just said that very thing to my dear friend whose son is being sentenced tomorrow for a DUI and will most likely go to jail with his heroin addiction...I told her God loves your son more than you do.He is in control. Seemed shallow to say but it is absolute truth. Our children belong to Jesus. They are a gift to us on loan from God. You now understand how I stood over your crib and prayed for you. Such love.

  3. What a gifted writer you are. Such a perfect mix of humor, truth, and honesty. Glad to see you are using your gift to minister to others as you experience and share your own pilgrimage through this life on earth.

    "...but all the while- trusting that the will of the Father to be the ultimate good." Amen. Isn't that where we all need to be. My husband and I have a saying, "we hold everything, including each other with an open hand-lifted up to God."

    Big Hugs - Dianna