Last week was a doozy. My husband had surgery on Thursday, and all week leading up to that was filled with appointments and errands and preparations. Our routines were completely upturned, we both had mild anxiety about the procedure, and as if that wasn’t enough to stress us out, I began the week with a sore throat and had to deal with all of the above while feeling achy, run-down and struggling to breathe.
It felt like everything I’ve been saying here about rest and grace and slowing down went out the window as we lapsed back into survival mode.
The thing that’s hardest about survival mode, or one of the things, anyway, is getting out of it once the crisis has passed. In a lot of ways, I’m still struggling to completely climb my way out of this mode after a long, drawn-out season of hardship and grief. It started nearly eight years ago with the loss of a good job. This was followed fairly shortly by back-to-back miscarriages, and we had just enough time to catch our breath from that before both of my in-laws passed away in rapid succession. Then we managed to go a whole year without anything devastating happening before my website business went belly up and left us in dire straits.
I could probably write dozens of blog posts about all of the ways God provided for us and sustained us during this time, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was stressful, and that kind of chronic stress, drawn out over a period of years, isn’t something you can just turn off once things are better.
And things have been better, for a few years now. Not perfect by any means, but better. Even so, I still struggle with anxiety sometimes. God used this long period of hardship to bring me to a place of surrender, of learning to be completely dependent on Him instead of trying to exert control over my life, but it’s been a long, slow process of learning, healing and yielding, and I’m not completely there yet. I may never be completely there in this life. I’m still at a point when any kind of crisis or stressful situation, even when I know it’s temporary, puts me right back in that place where I’m walking around with my entire body clenched like a fist and my gut constantly churns with a vague sense of dread.
It hasn’t been as bad this time, but it was a struggle. It takes effort to rest in the Lord. It takes mindfulness to hold onto His peace. Rest and peace are there in these stressful, anxious times, but we have to consciously reach for them and fight to hold on. We do this through prayer, through making time to just be in God’s presence, and by keeping our minds steeped in the truth of His word.
It also takes trust and letting go. Letting go of our own efforts to control the situation. Trusting that HE is in control and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to, and that no matter what the outcome, He’ll be with you, strengthening and sustaining you, holding you and carrying you.
One thing this long season of hardship and healing has taught me is that the more I’m able to loosen my grip on life, the more rest and peace I have, and the more He’s able to move and establish His plan for my life, which is so much better than anything I planned. I keep learning to get out of His way.
Still, old habits die hard sometimes, and it can be easy to forget what we’ve learned and lapse back into old patterns. Lord, help us when we do so, making us mindful and reminding us that You are in control and it’s not our job to fix things or hold things together. Our job is to trust you and draw close to you for rest and peace. You are our battle fighter, and You hold all things together. Help us, Father, to get out of your way.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:17
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. – Exodus 14:14
Do you struggle to get out of crisis mode? Is there something that’s got you in survival mode right now? Let me know how I can pray for you in the comments.
PS – Find more encouragement at the following linkups: