Saturday, July 9, 2011
If anyone has been around me for more than a day I’m sure they’ve heard me talk about ‘anxiety’. It can plague me. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be more light hearted, free spirited, easy going. I have several friends who are, I’ve always wanted to be like them. It’s just not who I am. There are moments, days, seasons where things don’t get to me as much, but if I’m honest, I mean really honest, I tend to live in a place of anxiety and tension a lot of the time. At times without even realizing it. Other times knowing I’m stuck in the thick of it and can’t pull myself out.
BUT, lately little changes are taking place. Lately as in, within the last 4 months. I’m almost 32 and have been longing for change for a LONG time. I get anxious that the change isn’t real, is just a season. But then I’m also hopeful that something deep is going on. Eucharisteo. Thankfulness.
It all started with saying yes to being a part of a Bible Study on the Holy Spirit at church. I had a group of beautiful women who wanted to grow in their love for and understanding of the Holy Spirit. We study and discussed how to be aware of, engage with, surrender to, and follow the Holy Spirit. And within the same week that study started (which I LOVED), a dear friend gave me a book: One Thousand Gifts.
One Thousand Gifts pared with simply showing up for this Bible study has been life changing. I don’t want to be all dramatic and emotional. But there has been a shift in my soul. The book is about being thankful. Being present. Not in a Polyanna, Chicken Soup for the Soul kind of way. But in a real, take in the hard, the wrong, the frustration, the beautiful, joyful and everything inbetween. In the midst gratitude can come. Can grow. Can be learned.
The author of One Thousand Gifts has had some truely hard things take place in her life, throughout her life. She’s raw with it. She shares how she’s learning to engage with God in it. She doesn’t just quote scipture, “always giving thanks in all things…” She interacts with it. Chews on it. Sits with it. Sits with the moment. With what it means to be thankful, right then. And peace, joy from within follows.
It makes me sigh. A sigh of freedom. Of relief. There is hope. Hope for this anxious heart that has prayed, cried, tried, and yearned for something different. Because I desire peace. Joy. To be present. Full. Overflowing. Because God is present. With me. Now. In this moment. In every moment. And I long to remember this Presence with me. Love for me. Surrounding me. Even in the most trying of days. Because I look at the pictures above of my babies, I stop and think about my life as a whole and I see God all over it. As in I have no doubt of His Presence all through my life. But in the day to day, I most often don’t see Him.
And so I practice. I practice Eucharisteo. Being thankful. Engaging in the moment. Not at all perfectly, but hopefully growing. It helps me slow down. Choose important over urgent. See God in the littlest of ways. And as a result, I’m loving Him more. Experiencing His love for me. Experiencing a bit more peace. A bit more joy. A fuller heart. Of praise. Of gratitude. Of contentment.