Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Where Do I Put My Trust?

In addition to OCD, I also struggle from GAD. While the worries that accompany OCD are very often irrational, GAD is marked by worries that are generally based in reality, though they commonly are distorted and exaggerated.

One of the big things that really affected my anxiety symptoms was the economic woes of the last 4 or 5 years. Particularly, in the Fall of 2008, my husband and I were hit with some setbacks. We experienced some significant financial losses. Even with those losses, we were alright. There was never any question of whether we could pay our bills or keep food on the table. We were never in "trouble." We were, however, faced with having to make some changes with regard to our financial plans.

I was struck with deep anxiety about what the future held. Moreover, I was, at the time, pursuing a degree in Accounting/Finance. Many of my homework assignments were to read news articles about the economy and to write reports about them. These assignments forced me to analyze and think about the failing economy day after day. This only intensified my fear.

I had been a long time follower of Christ. My trust should have been in Him alone. Unfortunately, I discovered that a lot of my security actually rested in material things, rather than in my Lord. This stress led to an exacerbation of my anxiety symptoms. Of course, the vast majority of my anxiety symptoms pre-dated 2008. However, I believe this fear and panic partly encouraged my illnesses to worsen at an accelerated pace, until I experienced a near break-down in the Fall of 2009.

During that Fall, I was so very sick and so very angry at God. I felt completely alone, and utterly abandoned. I realize now that was not true, but it certainly felt that way. By December of 2009, I slowly began to work my way to recovery through my therapy. I was still angry at God for several months. I told family members I didn't want to pray with them because I felt it was useless. I even considered permanently walking away from my faith. Thankfully, my family did not listen, and they continued to pray for me. I reached out to someone on staff at my church and he helped me to see God's goodness through my pain and my tears. Finally, after much soul searching, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to follow God, in spite of my struggles. I did not understand what was happening in my life, and it hurt so badly, but I just knew I could not walk away from Him. In my heart, I renewed my commitment to follow Him regardless of my circumstances.

That was a little over two years ago. A tremendous amount has happened in my life since then. I have recovered much of my health. My marriage is stronger than ever. My trust in my Savior has grown. I was very humbled by my mental illnesses, and though that was unbelievably painful, I learned a lot from it, including how desperately I need God. I've been given a new purpose in life. Material things can never provide me with the security I'm looking for. Trust is still a struggle for me, but at least I recognize it now. I'm choosing to trust, even though I don't necessarily feel it. I often have to keep reminding myself to trust, and that monetary security is just an illusion.

Some years ago, I remember reading the following example. I really wish I could recall where it came from because it is so beautiful and has meant so much to me (it may have been Corrie Ten Boom who wrote this). Basically, the author told us to think about a tapestry. On the unfinished side of the tapestry, it's a big mess. There is thread going every which way and it can be difficult to make out the picture. However, right side up, the tapestry is a thing of beauty. Our lives are like that tapestry. We only see the unfinished side. God sees the beauty of the finished work. My life is that tapestry. Your life is that tapestry.

12 comments:

  1. Sunny, Thank you for a lovely and inspiring post! I needed to read this tonight. Trusting in God is very difficult for me. I tend to give in to worry and fear and forget that there's more to life than what I can see in front of me and what I worry about. It sounds like you were made stronger by your struggles. That's truly a blessing.

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    1. Thank you, Tina. I'm so glad it was helpful. It is really easy to forget that there is more than what is right in front of us. Life just rushes by us at a fast pace and it can be all consuming just trying to stay afloat. Trusting is still difficult for me, but not as much as it used to be. Yes, I definitely feel stronger after my "crash." (I'm like the 6 Million Dollar Man - "I'm made better, stronger, faster than before!" ha ha ha) You are right - it definitely is a blessing.

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  2. It is so easy to get angry at God because of mental illness. I was there, too, for a while. But it is better when we turn back to God, huh? :)

    Your post reminded me of this poem I've heard often. Perhaps it was what you were referring to?

    http://www.sermons.org/story11.html

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    1. Yes, Shana, it is MUCH better turning back to God. I've learned that I'd rather accept His help and comfort instead of fighting Him. I think I have a hard head though. It took me a while to get that point!

      What a lovely poem. Actually, I've never read it before, but it certainly is on point.

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  3. This is such an inspiring post. I also have GAD in addition to the OCD so I know what you mean about the subtle differences in the fears.

    Again, this is such an inspiring post!

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    1. Aw, you're so sweet, Elizabeth. From what I understand, it is extremely common to have both OCD and GAD.

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  4. Lovely post. Thank you for sharing. I hope to get to that point.

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement. I'm definitely still a work in progress!

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  5. I have been working on leaving my OCD on God's shoulders..sometimes I wonder if that is my lesson in life, to trust in Him and not put so much into what I am doing or not doing. Lately when I feel the urge to check, I just remind myself to hand it over to God..not that I want to start a ritual doing that, but so far it hasen't become anything more than a reminder that God has better things and a bigger purpose for me than make sure a picture on the wall is straight.
    Beautiful post.

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    1. Yes! I have also come to believe that this is my lesson in life. Truly, He does have a bigger purpose for us than just straightening or cleaning things. It can be difficult to see that though, when in the midst of panic.

      Thanks for sharing, Krystal Lynn.

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  6. Your faith is inspiring.....thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Janet! Your support is much appreciated, as always. : )

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