Gratitude Project

Embody Me

(In an effort to jump-start the writer’s block that Zoloft put before me, I’ll try to write every day this month. Most won’t be long and I might try a few different things. This is a stream of consciousness writing from yesterday that I didn’t get to edit until today. So this is from yesterday…)

It wasn’t until I started anti-anxiety meds that I realized how much of my life was motivated by anxiety. Big surprise, right? Like the perfectionist, super-nerd who was always on time and could do a million things at once was able to do all of those things because of anxiety. I think a large part of my activism around social issues was probably due in part to some anxiety. Truth be told, after much reflection, I think that my faith might have been raised at the bosom of anxiety, or, at the very least, visited there once in a while

Faith is perfect for anxious people. Especially since so much of faith centers around what is right and wrong. That’s so clear-cut. So wonderful. So easy. If I’m anxious about being a good person, why not throw myself headlong into a faith that will tell me exactly what I need to do to be a good person.

I can look around at the world and see that things are not great. Social activism helps me feel like I have some control over the issue. (Don’t worry. I don’t have any control and social activism punched that out of me in the first month).

Which leads me to the question…

How do I relate to God without anxiety? If anxiety was a prerequisite for caring about what God wanted and more specifically, what he thought of me, then what happens when that anxiety is removed (artificial or not).

Welp. I can tell you.

The Kid and I went to a baptism recently and on the way, he asked me if baptism was a requirement for heaven. I heavily sighed and said I didn’t think so but I also wasn’t sure that heaven was real and he should probs ask Alex about that.

Since the anxiety meds kicked in, I’ve done very little in the way of faith. Meaning I’ve done very little motivated by faith. COVID kinda stopped our church routine (although the Kid and I agreed that it was good to be around people). I don’t pray. My Bible sits untouched in a pile of Christian books.

Sometimes though, God sneaks up on me in moments when I’m caught unawares, like a particularly poignant moment of family brevity or a beautiful vista and I just get a deep sense of awe and understanding.

How could there not be a god? For now, I’m feeling completely at ease with letting God drop in with her presence once in a while. God gives us the loveliest surprises, right?

Most recently, we had a fire in our backyard firepit and I leaned my head back to glance at the few stars that make it through the city lights, watching the embers float and float and bob and weave on the wind, with The Baby’s happy screaming echoing in my ear.

Damn, this is a good life.

I hope God is real because I’d like to meet him/her/it someday and shake their hand and say thanks.

2 thoughts on “Embody Me

  1. This one really hit me, Beth. How do I understand and have relationship with God now that my anxiety isn’t driving that relationship, now that I am not agonizing over how to best please Him? The way I have always related to God has been about worrying I was never enough or doing enough. When I take that away (which took more than Zoloft and lots of therapy), it has been hard for me to understand what a relationship with God could look like. Excellent post again, as always.

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