Finished a great Bible study with some good people and read Rebecca Lyons book, “Rhythms of Renewal.” Lots of nuggets of wisdom there. Laughing, but the tagline is “trading stress and anxiety for a life of peace and purpose.”
And then life just goes, oh yeah? Here, hold my beer.
Sometimes the best cure for fear is just more fear. I’m chuckling here, but once everything got really scary and the Lord whispered, Hey, I just watched you let that garden snake slide right over your shoe. It’s true, fear is a limited resource, it takes a lot of energy! Once you spend it all, there’s just nothing left for the dumb things. Somewhere along this journey with fear, I lost all my phobias and chronic anxiety.
A year ago today my hubby was on a ventilator in the ICU with pneumonia. Believe it or not that was the good news, that was the man finally forced to get some medical care. He’d been sick for a long time. The seven years prior were the ones that were really hellish for me.
My mother was also homeless and then in the hospital a few times with pneumonia, but the worst of all, the biggest driver of fear has been the opioid epidemic. A lot of people don’t realize it, but this country has already been in the midst of a horrific epidemic that has killed an astounding number of people. The really fun thing about addiction is that you don’t have to be an addict to suffer from it. That misery is highly contagious.
So, I have a sister and a daughter wrestling with addiction. There were a few months in my life where those two am phone calls you dread, the ones from the cops or the hospital, were coming darn near every night. Those phone calls where you learn to just breath of sigh of relief because someone’s in jail and not the morgue.
Gratitude slays fear, people. I know I’ve disturbed a few people by singing, Praise the Lord, they’re in jail! Yeah, well, when a loved one is just dancing on the edge of death, jail is the good news.
So one of my hubby’s health issues has been severe sleep apnea, since he was a child at least. As it got progressively worse and coupled with some other health issues like pneumonia, he’d just stop breathing a lot. I spent a lot of nights watching, trying to wake him up, trying to keep him breathing, and answering those 2 AM phones calls from everyone else. Eventually it just laid me out flat. Lack of sleep, fear, high stress, had me just laying on the kitchen floor making snow angels and talking to God.
That’s the best thing to do when life hits you hard. I highly recommend it! Don’t wait to have a complete breakdown, schedule that crap in advance. I just camped out in the book of Job for months, and Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine…..
Anyway, you have to let God pour His word into the places where you need it. I can’t explain how that is so healing, but it is. Let the Author and Finisher of your faith, read His word to you, while you just make snow angels on the kitchen floor. It’s all good.
So, Ecclesiastes was also a favorite. Indeed, I have a dark sense of humor and nihilism makes me laugh sometimes, but that’s not what drew me to it. It is the rhythms of grace, the season, the flow, the processes. “The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.”
The sun rises and the sun sets. Wax on, wax off. In the “Karate Kid” Mr. Miyugi says, the “grass is green, the sky is blue.” Those predictable rhythms are how you ground yourself in an uncertain world. It’s almost like sitting in a rocking chair, God’s rocking chair and just letting Him rock you.
I learned that whether or not my husband lives or dies, God is still sovereign, the earth will still turn, the streams will still flow. That’s a pretty tough mindset to have when it’s actually your child in danger, but it’s still the truth. Once you’ve done all you can, all you can do is let go and let God.
I’m kind of spontaneous and undisciplined. I don’t get up at four AM and spend 30 minutes reading the Bible and I sure as heck don’t take a 30 minute run everyday. I enjoy highlighters and sticky notes and doing those kind of structured activities with others. I really like that kind of thing, but that’s not really how my own rhythms look. It’s not a schedule, it’s not a program, it’s just a lifestyle, an attitude, a motivation. But that routine, those rituals, those rhythms, no matter what they look like, are a total lifesaver.
Some people like well ordered structured and that’s okay, I’m just saying, don’t beat yourself up if that’s not you. God made us diverse, for a purpose, for a reason. I’ve found that my own enforced structures tend to interfere with His timing and make it harder for me to hear Him.
So for a complete train wreck of chaos and spontaneity, I’m surprisingly consistent about celebrating those rhythms. I make sure I say good morning to the Lord before my feet hit the floor. I try to walk with the Lord everyday, as in literally take a walk with Him and talk to God. I try to take a good look at nature and thank Him for something He’s created. I somehow manage to read the Bible everyday. I talk to people and I peruse the internet for testimonies. Reaching out to others is another part of my rhythms because I tend to isolate.
I don’t know what’s going to happen with all this quarantine stuff. I’m trying to lean into the Lord with some expectancy and joy, rather than fear. Rhythms help to keep us grounded and now several of our external rhythms have just been interrupted. So we just need to draw on the ones that are written on the tablet of our heart and keep the faith. His peace surpasses understanding. It’s the truth, been there and done that. His promises are true.