Thursday, January 28, 2010

guilt and anxiety

My name is Sophie and I am a very anxious person (if you haven't figured that out from reading this blog). I know why I'm like this, I've psychoanalyzed myself enough to know why, but that's beside the point now. It's time to get past square one.

I'm the type of person who likes to plan way in advance. The more control I have over a situation, I tell myself, the more relaxed I feel. I falsely believe that when I have this control, I "know" what reactions to expect from myself and other people; I "know" how things will unfold (with my silly schedule in hand, of course); I "know" how I'll be emotionally influenced by decisions; I "know" security. I've noticed that I even make mental lists for myself in the morning each day. I'll get out of bed, eat breakfast, shower, then maybe I'll make dinner early so that I don't have to worry about it later, etc. The minute my eyes open, the process begins.

The funny thing is, I don't have insomnia and it's never really been an issue. I go to sleep feeling good that the day went as "planned". And when it doesn't? Hmmm... the anxiety gets much worse. But it's not the kind of anxiety that exists solely in my mind, as an intangible idea or a negative thought that I keep entertaining over and over again.

It comes to life.

It's an ugly monster.

Actually, I become the ugly monster in my most anxious moments. I mentally rehearse an uncontrolled event that's going to take place (and it will, because life is about following someone else's plans sometimes) and I get... mad? Yep, that's it. I instantly imagine the worst case scenario and then I start behaving as if it's already happened, even though it hasn't. Then, as if that's not enough, I say and do things that are against what I believe (and in that moment, actions speak -- actually scream -- much louder than words and it appears I'm a person lacking morals). I am a false representative of my faith. God gets sad and, eventually, so do I.

I say eventually because when I'm "in the moment", I am so blind that I cannot see or hear how ugly my words and actions are. I get so sucked into the anxiety that my understanding of what common sense is goes out the window. Eventually, I come back to reality with plenty of baggage. More baggage than I'm capable of carrying on my own. It weighs me down, and when the guilt sets in I really can't move. I get stuck and regret replaces the anxiety.

The only thing that can move me at that point is God himself, and he does. His presence brings me peace, but only when I can look at the mess I've made and hand it over to him, and apologize to those I've wronged. But even that is a struggle sometimes. Because I am a control freak, I want to sort through the mess, organize it, label it... and then he says no. He wants me to let it go so that I can receive his peace. When my hands are busy sorting through the mess, I'm unable to focus on the grace and forgiveness he offers. He already sorted through the mess, that's why his hands are still scarred... he did it so that I wouldn't have to.

So why hold on to it? Why hold on to the guilt when I've already acknowledged my sin? And why hold on to the need for control when he's already in the future? There is no need to do either; all I need has already been offered, his forgiveness and his peace.


Jose A. said...

:kiss: We all have our inner battles that we struggle with, no matter how calm and peaceful we my appear on the exterior. I'm thankful to God to have found someone (you) who can accept my flaws while helping me mend them. I love you.

Dionna said...

I think all women have a struggle with control in some form or another. But I love how you analyze it by saying you think you'll feel more relaxed when you know what to expect from others. I can relate! :)

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