Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Ugly

In my blog description I mention that I will reveal some of the “ugly” stuff I’m going through in this season of my life. A few Sundays ago, I reluctantly shared this with my congregation. Here’s the big news: I’m battling anxiety and it sucks.

You’re probably not too surprised if you’ve ever read my “About me” description. Being a church planter, a full-time producer on a live TV show, a master’s student, and a mother of 3—you’re probably saying, “Well, duh! Didn’t you ever hear of burn out?!”

You might be wondering what anxiety looks like. I’d never experienced anxiety until I started working on a live TV show, and it took about 6 months to overcome my symptoms. I noticed I started having trouble taking a deep breath. That led to an endless feeling that I needed to yawn, so I would constantly yawn. I would come home from work on Friday and by Monday I could breathe normally again and I felt ready to face the week.

About the same time I overcame my anxiety from working on a live show, we started the church. I no longer had the weekends to wind down; instead, we get amped up for Sunday services! Sunday mornings begin with a 7:00am set up at the theatre and Sunday nights include leadership team meetings. During the summer we even added a 2-week missions trip to Israel to our schedule. By the time my kids were back to school in September and we were getting ready for our one-year church anniversary, I began experiencing shallow breathing again. On top of that, I began my last class necessary to complete my master’s degree. A few weekends ago, we went to Houston for a minister’s conference—and that’s when the dam broke.

The following week at work I was a frazzled mess. I left work that Friday and told my husband that while speaking to our show's guest that morning in the makeup room, I had a panic attack(Nobody knew, I managed to hide it well). It came out of nowhere and it scared me because I felt completely out of control. That entire weekend I couldn’t function—we skipped our date night and the next day my husband took the kids to an amusement park (a yearly event that I normally look forward to) because I knew I couldn’t go. I sat on the couch all day and tried not to move. My nerves needed an extended break. I needed to sit with Jesus and just hide in the shadow of his wings. And that’s what I did all day.

I got out of bed the next morning determined to go to church. I usually wrap up the worship time of the service with a thought or scripture the Lord has given me. That morning the Lord said, “Tell the church what you’re going through.” I argued with Him. I didn’t see the wisdom in telling the church about a problem I was having that I hadn’t overcome yet. I soon realized arguing with the Holy Spirit was pointless, so I went ahead and revealed my secret. Newsflash everyone! Your pastor’s wife is not perfect! In fact, she’s currently a nervous wreck!

Something unexpected happened--many people thanked me after the service for sharing my struggle. For some reason, I thought people would reject me when I admitted weakness, but the opposite was true. I felt my healing begin the day I shared my secret, but that’s not all God did that day. 10/10/10 will be remembered as a phenomenal day of new beginnings. 5 people accepted Christ. That night we baptized 7 people in our backyard hot tub, and that was followed with a new members meeting. After listening to my husband share his vision, 14 people joined our church.

Now back to reality. I am experiencing what happens to people when they do not have a “Sabbath” rest. For you working pastor’s wives, this will be your greatest challenge. I don’t have all the answers yet. I just know God will help me to complete this difficult season, and He will help me come back into balance. Meanwhile, I cling to two scriptures:

“As thy day, so shall thy strength be. . ., ” Deut. 33:25. This was a promise to one of the 12 tribes of Israel and I claim it as a promise to me.

“in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” Isaiah 30:15. I must get still in God’s presence and allow Him to refresh me. (This is SO important that I would add 1,000 exclamation points to it, but you get the point!)

That’s where I’m at now, and I’m looking forward to the day that Jesus helps me to overcome the ugly beast of anxiety once and for all!

1 comment:

  1. Remind me to tell you about my first year of Line Producing. It will make you feel much better!