Thank you to Leslie and Jan for the inspiration for my blog tonight.
I write a daily devotional for my book club. Sometimes I will use my blog for their devotions. Tonight, these two ladies provided my topic for the book club devotion. So, I decided to work it into my blog as well.
I struggled most of my married life with anxiety and fear issues. Along with that came anger and depression. While I considered myself a good wife, mom, daughter, sister…looking back now I realize that I was very self-focused.
Because I had anxiety and fear, I was always concerned about me: what I was worried about, what I was afraid of, what hurt my feelings, what might hurt me (make me sick, take my security, hurt my children, or my husband or my job). I lived a life of bondage to myself.
Of course I was miserable; how could I not be miserable? My focus was always inward.
Don’t get me wrong! I love(d) my husband and my boys with all my heart. BUT, my fears literally kept me from living freely in the happiness and joy that God wanted for me.
I also had very few friends at that time. My life consisted of my husband, my boys, and me. I didn’t have room in my life for anyone else. I mean, I was consumed with thoughts and fears. I literally spent my days and nights worrying. The “what-if’s” invaded my daily life.
In 2012 life changed for me. I became very sick. The “what-if’s” became my reality. I had fretted and worried myself into sickness…into darkness. Suddenly, the important things were made real to me: God, the Bible, prayer, family, friends. I needed these things. I finally was forced into dealing with the chains that were binding me into a life of depression and anxiety. I was no longer able to hide the prison within my mind that had been my dwelling place.
After several months of help from doctors and my wonderful supportive family, I began to heal and change.
I learned that my focus must first be on Christ. My second focus must be my family with my friends following third. I do tend to myself. But, now instead of focusing on the negative, I focus on how to be a better Lisa.
Part of being a better me is helping others. I don’t have a lot to offer, really. But, I have learned to really step out of my comfort zone and reach out to people. I invite people out for coffee. I try to be a person that others feel safe in coming to when they need a hug or a shoulder. I try to make time for my family, including my parents. I’ve started investing in some church and community organizations that reach out to those in need.
An amazing thing happens when your focus shifts from yourself, to God, and then to others. You start to see. You begin to see that everyone suffers. Everyone has fear. Everyone has sadness. Everyone has sorrow, pain, grief, anger:
EVERYONE has a story.
When we begin to see others…really see them…we will change. As we change, as we give to others, we will discover freedom in the gift of giving. Whether we give time, money, encouragement, support…it doesn’t matter. We need each other. God created us to be relational.
He (God) gives to us and wants us to, in turn, give back to His children.
Proverbs 3:3 ESV Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
Proverbs 3:3 MSG Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty.Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.
Earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.