Monday, April 28, 2014

The Strangest Secret

Have you ever taken the time to listen to "The strangest secret " By Early Nightingale? It is about 30 minutes long and i strongly suggest listening to it, we try to listen to it every day. This is the recording that is wreaking havoc on my life.

In a good way.

Let me back up.

Several weeks ago my oldest daughter Lucy, now 5 1/2, had a major meltdown at the zoo. She is such a beautiful, loving and adventurous kid that this panic attack seemed completely out of character.

We were eating lunch at a picnic table when some sort of leaf- possibly small harmless bug- got caught in her hair, she quickly brushed it away, mentioning it to me offhanded so I assumed it wasn't a huge deal and assured her there was nothing in her hair. She continued to repeat herself over and over and over until she was in full blown tears and begging to go home so that she could wash her hair. She was so anxious she could barely breathe. This thing had touched her hair and now it wasn't perfect and she wanted to wash it NOW. I tried to console her many different ways and when none worked and my little kindergartner was acting like a gigantic baby Bryce and I hauled her to the car.

This was the beginning of a string of strange obsessive and anxious behaviors that I began to worry that my sweet adventurous girl was gone for good. She began obsessively washing her hands, dunking her hair in the sink if the dog walked by while she was laying on the ground, talking about the dirt and the bugs and the lights. I would have to change her bedding at night because she would swear she saw things crawling on it. She had become obsessed with concern that something would happen and her dad would die and thus every time he left she would break down. She would refuse to go outside, to church, to  bed, to touch anything that might have a fleck of dirt on it. And dust- well since it was in the air she walked everywhere with her fingers up her nose to keep the dust out of her brain.
Every one of those is so out of character for her that it really shook us into reconsidering what may have caused it. We had spoken scripture to her, given her little placebo type chamomilla calming medicine, we had tried new routines and lots of talking- those things would help her mellow a small amount but did not find a solution.

Then one day it hit me. She is anxious because of what she sees in me.
My daughter was suffering from serious anxiety and panic and worry and it was all my fault. I could try to teach it out of her all I wanted but until I was willing to practice what I was preaching there would be no change for her.
So, that night I realized my error I got really mad. REALLY mad: At me. How could I have done this to her? I am supposed to protect her, not create these little worry warts! So Bryce and I sat in our room for an hour while I yelled- and I'm sure at first when I started with "I'm really mad" he thought I was directing it at him, but I was mad at myself.
And I remembered something incredible that night- the strangest secret. "We become what we think about."
If we think about fear, anxiety and worry then our life will be come filled with it.
Mine had. Hers had. And I had had enough.

That night I made a commitment to cancel out the anxiety and stop letting it rip the joy of my daily gift of being a mother out of my hands. I chose to stop allowing anxiety to show on my face and steal my precious moments with four sweet little girls while they are still young. And I decided little ones do not need to grow up so fast while so young, believing they need to also be fearful and anxious.

Our lives have never been so blessed. It is a battle that is worth fighting, a daily war with myself and any concern that may momentarily cross my mind- but I ask you- what does your anxiety give you? Does it bring you any closer to your family? Does it take care of your kids? Does it allow you to feel free and joyful, playful and silly? If you focus on anxiety does anything extra get done? What is the worst that can happen if you choose NOT to be ruled by anxiety? Even if the things you are fearful and anxious about happened, what would that mean? If it is a bill that you cannot pay, what is the worst that will happen? Won't you still have your family, your ability to bless others, to show grace through a difficult circumstance?

I have realized that when my life is not run by anxiety and worry everyone around me comes ALIVE. I don't mean that to say that I have some special quality about me, but really when you're around someone that is so excited about life and comfortable in their own skin, their face isn't hung low or tight with concern, instead they beam with joy and bubble with excitement for the day they've been given- it makes you want to be that way as well and for a while you feel that your life is a gift, and your problems aren't so big.

After all- everyone has things they can be stressed about. The difference between joyful, graceful people isn't that their life is different, it is that their thoughts ARE. They've discovered the strangest secret and thus alter their state of mind, and their life follows. The "I can't" becomes "how can I" and the negative becomes positive.

Life will never be the same.
Literally, think about it :)

Romans 12:2 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."