Don’t let anxiety steal your joy!

Anxiety-a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

That’s the dictionary definition of the word.  But for those who suffer with anxiety (of all kinds) know it’s much more than that.  There doesn’t have to be an event, or something with an uncertain outcome.  It could come out of the blue, for seemingly no reason at all.

I’ve had anxiety since around 5th grade.  When I had my first experience with bullying and a betrayal, of who I thought, was my best friend.  I don’t know what I did wrong, if anything at all.  I look back on it now and know kids that age are just mean, and dealing with issues themselves.  But ever since, I’ve struggled with my self-esteem and self confidence.

I am very much a homebody, and I typically call myself an extroverted introvert.  Once I gain a group of friends, that typically push me out of my comfort zone, I have the best of times (this can be hard to come by though, being a military family).  Even though I know I’ll enjoy spending time with them, my mind still tells me that I’m much more comfortable staying home.

I am trying my hardest not to impose this on my children.  They are very social and enjoy being with people.

With all that said, I bring you to today.

The day started out stressful, as many often do during a deployment.  I didn’t sleep well the night before, so when morning came around, I was rushing around and tired.  That’s the perfect time for satan to sneak into my mind where I lose patience and my temper.  I had an issue with USPS and a customer order from my Etsy shop.  I know exactly what happened; my mail carrier scanned the package as delivered instead of picked up, so tracking information was dropped. I am thinking the package will still get to my customer, but I called USPS anyway.  Trying to get a hold of an actual person on the phone is unheard of anymore. At the beginning of the phone call they say there will be a short survey at the end for quality assessment purposes.  I would have loved to give them a little bit of my mind in that survey, but I couldn’t get to the end of the call to do it.  Frustration, annoyance, temper.  I think I hung up and called back 4 times. Anyway…

During the same time as I was on the phone, the boys were loud and excited.  You see, I had planned on taking them to the Pumpkin Festival about an hour south of us.  I had asked them to get their socks on so we could get ready to leave.  Tanner was wandering around the house like he never heard a word I said.  Wesley lost his socks, then found them, and then lost them again in a span of 5 minutes.  I grabbed an easy cereal and breakfast bars for them to eat in the car on the way to the festival.  We were running 10 minutes late.

Surprise!  I needed to get gas.  Running 20 minutes late.

We were finally on the road, and my mind was screaming at me to just go home. That this must be a sign as to how the rest of the day would go. Why deal with all of this when it would just be easier to stay home in my comfort zone.  It’s hard to do things like this when it’s just me.  But, after the CC timeline song ended (because Wesley just HAS to listen to it every single time we are in the car), I turned on the local Christian radio station.  Song after song spoke to me.  It was the strangest feeling.  For the rest of the drive I could feel this heavy weight being lifted off my chest.

Why did I allow myself to feel this way?  We really were only a little bit late.  I was meeting friends there.  Friends who would TOTALLY understand if I was late.  They didn’t care.  Only my mind did.  This wasn’t a torture sentence.  This was supposed to be a FUN day!  How skewed our minds can make things.

It ended up being an amazing day.  We spent some time with our friends, and I spoiled the boys rotten (this was their daddy’s treat, even though he couldn’t be there with us). I got to see joy on the boy’s faces over, and over, and over. Even with the smallest of things, like catching butterflies and studying their features and colors.  The boys could have stayed in that spot the whole time. We spent 4 hours at the festival in the 90+ degree temperatures and humidity, and truly had the best time.  If I had caved and listened to my mind telling me what the easiest option would have been, I would have missed out on so much.  Today, I chose joy.  Thank the Lord.

I want to step out of my comfort zone more often.  I think I’m going to give it a go.