Here's a fun thing about me only a few people know.
I've been a professional sleepwalker and sleep talker my whole life. Former roommates, outreach participants and family members have funny stories about me taking pictures off the walls, alerting them to invisible intruders, and/or putting socks on their feet in the middle of the night. It makes for fun cocktail banter.
It's an anxiety thing and I've done it forever, but recently, this little habit has morphed into something much much uglier. Several nights a week now, I have nightmares, where unspeakable things are happening and I wake up with crushing worry, panic and fear.
Then other times, I have what some call prophetic dreams, like the one recently where I am wearing a white dress, kneeling in the dirt like a child and enjoying such perfect calm, people think I've lost it. Oh yah and I've got three dead snakes in my hands, which I killed - myself.
Fun getting to know me huh.
This behavior is not new exactly, but the intensity of it is. It makes me want to quit, shut my mouth, get a normal life and job so maybe the anxiety will subside. On Sunday morning, before I even woke up I thought, "It's official. I'm in a full-blown battle for my mind, and I'm losing. Maybe I'll just skip church and stay in bed."
Right on its heels came, "That can't be right, because if I submit to this, the enemy wins."
I don't mean to sound dramatic. Maybe I just need therapy, but a good friend told me recently: "When you up-level your life, your career, your devotion to the Kingdom of God, every bit of your unresolved crazy will come roaring to the surface, and the enemy will use it against you."
I don't talk about this much, except to the home team because I work in the personal development space, where the temptation to be a shiny, sparkle-princess all the time is fierce. But that's bullshit because everybody struggles with something and we'd do each other a great kindness by admitting it, so we could team up and handle it together.
I teach this, preach this, coach this all the time. Isn't the Lord gracious to let me eat first what I plan to serve everyone else? At Girl Catch Fire, there is no theory, it's all experience.
So on Sunday, I got up, washed my face and went to church. Thank God, because Pastor Andy was talking about beating his alcoholism. His demon was the hole in his heart that he was filling with booze.
Besides good rehab, regular accountability and Jesus, the thing that helped Andy most was actively serving someone else. You see, when the enemy can keep us obsessively focused on our own lives, he can worry us into paralysis.
But God wants us striding into places we can't see, just following his voice. It's not that my worries are irrational - no they're pretty legit - but through Andy, I felt the Lord saying: "I know. Keep going. Don't Quit. You take care of someone else and let me take care of you."
So in case you've got the same problem, here's my list of things that need taking care of way more than my my crazy-pants nighttime behavior does.
1. Syria - Together Rising.
If you're not reading Glennon Doyle you should. She is a blogger, author, activist who raised half a million dollars last SATURDAY from her followers! She's placing the cash in the hands of relief workers in Syria. Incidentally, Glennon's blog Momastery is all about fear, anxiety, motherhood, Lyme disease, addiction, Jesus and how to love people well. Like Moses, she acknowledged her frailties, took what was in her hand and threw it down. Look at what happened. If you want to get your mind off yourself - Glennon will help you put it on Syria.
2. Church - Invite someone.
I said in yesterday's post that I often struggle with the me-centrism of the North American church - somehow it's a little too safe, too comfortable, too easy. This morning I considered the flip side. Who else is standing by to help people walk through addiction, pain, loneliness? I don't know about your church, but mine: First City Church in Pensacola and Tyler House of Faith in Tyler, Texas are both brilliant at that.
It overwhelms me to think of walking the whole road with a recovering addict, but what if that's not my job? What if I just need to get them into my awesome church and introduce them to some whose job it is? #Teamwork!
3. Pray - It works.
At least five members of my hometeam are praying into this fear thing for me. You know why they're praying? Because I asked them to and they love me. I know prayer works because I'm here this morning writing about all this to you, not lying in my bed with the lights out.
I pray for people every day. Sometimes they pray for me. Who needs you today? Pray for them.
Is this work going to cost you something? Probably. But as Russ, one of my very wise coaches says,
"So what? Get Busy."