I see you, finding safety in a clean, orderly house. You’re not able to go to bed at night until everything is back in its rightful place.
I know the lies anxiety tells you. That you’re a failure because you didn’t finish everything you should have today. That your kids deserve a better mother, a mother who is able to do it all.
Worry about everything and nothing simultaneously gnaws at you. There are even times when you worry that you aren’t worried enough!
The simplest of tasks become nearly impossible since it feels like you are doing them while walking through thick mud, in heavy fog. The prospect of any seemingly insignificant change to your carefully crafted schedule is completely overwhelming and sends you into a panic.
Papers cluttered on top of the counter and toys on the floor, along with the spills, make you cranky. You hold your kids back from a lot of “projects” because you just can’t deal with the mess and extra time it would take you to clean it up.
While you’re playing with your children, your mind is a million miles away. You are not engaged with them because you’re obsessing over the never ending list of tasks for that day and focusing on all the messes your precious children are making in the process of playing.
You desperately want to abandon that to-do list, and just be able to give all of yourself to your kids; to be truly free to live in the moment. It’s tempting, but that list keeps sucking you back in.
You obsess over whether you’re feeding your kids enough, if they’re getting enough sleep, or whether you’re spending enough time with them. You worry all the time that you’re not a good mother, and believe there is no way to really know whether you are doing anything right.
You try to hide your anxiety from your children, but you’re already seeing signs of it in your oldest.
When you’re at a low point, it’s really easy to forget how it feels to feel good. Normal. It seems like you’ll never find normal again. But you will.
I see you, because I am you.
This has been my struggle for as long as I can remember. It’s only been exacerbated by motherhood. And I didn’t think it would ever get any better.
Here are ways that will help you overcome:
Use the sword of the Word.
Each time Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, He answered him with “It is written…” The Word of God really is our most powerful tool to defeat the lies of the enemy, besides prayer.
A scripture that is neatly tucked away in the book of Colossians has helped tremendously in shifting my perspective of what I am responsible for as a mother. Verse 17 of Chapter 1 says, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Our responsibility as parents is to guide our kids on their faith journey and provide an environment which fosters a love and respect for the Lord. We instruct them according to the Bible’s teachings and lead them to Jesus, then we let the Holy Spirit do the work of convicting.
So the next time you’re feeling anxious over your to-do list, the well-being of your children, or your ability to handle the concerns of your family, speak what is written: “In Jesus, everything is held together. It does not depend on me to keep things from falling apart.”
Pray for God to help you believe and trust that He is sovereign.
Anxiety robs us of joy, contentment, and peace. It robs our kids of the best thing we could offer them- ourselves.
Anxiety always carries along with it a sidekick called control. They’re basically partners in crime. The more anxious you feel, the more tightly you grasp for control.
Controlling our kids and our environment gives us a false sense of security. We micromanage everything thinking it will make the anxiety go away.
But that control is simply an illusion.
In reality, we are powerless over so many things. But God is truly sovereign over every aspect of our lives, and He is never surprised by what comes our way. When we give up control to Him and quit striving, only then do we find peace.
Focus on the truth.
One of the biggest tactics the enemy uses to trap us is deceit. Anxiety is completely irrational in that it makes you believe that everything is all up to you, and something terrible will happen if there’s a mess somewhere or something is out of place.
Another blogger described anxiety as a “terrorist attack on your mind”. If we’re not grounded in the truth of God’s Word, we fall prey to believing the very convincing lies of the devil.
Words, events, and relationships from our past usually continue to inform us in the present of what we think, feel, and believe about ourselves. When a particular trigger comes up, we automatically default to the lie that was planted earlier on.
Many of us believe that there are certain rules for acceptability. We feel like we have to keep doing, doing, doing all the time for us to be good for anyone, that life is just one long, exhausting performance.
That is a lie. But there is truth that can set us crazy-free: “It is finished.”
Christ has set you free, mama, from all strongholds including anxiety. He has not left us here alone to struggle through it by ourselves.
If you suffer with anxiety, what have you found that helps alleviate it? How does anxiety impact your ability to mother?