Sometimes we find ourselves caught in the perfect storm. It’s a precarious position when one of your own vulnerabilities collides with a weighty situation that pushes that weak spot to its limits. Your feet are on the edge of the rock and it’s only getting more slippery.
On any given day, I am aware of my tendency to give into anxiety. Prayer, deep breaths, and keeping my thoughts in check (no catastrophizing! remember who is in control!) help me keep it at a level that doesn’t interfere with my day-to-day life. But then, there are those storms–those situations that push me beyond the point where I can control the anxiety with my autopilot techniques. The intensity rises, the fear increases, the sense of helplessness shoots up.
There’s a lot about having a baby that makes everyone anxious. There’s the impending life change and lifelong responsibility. There’s the physically having the baby. There’s the unsolicited advice (so much unsolicited advice!) and the deciding how to organize all those tiny, unfamiliar clothes. Oh yeah, and there’s the fact that you are HAVING A BABY.
The anxiety is normal, I know. What I also know is my own weakness, namely the tendency to fall face first into a pit of such worries that I feel physically suffocated. So, I’m not letting myself off the hook; I’m battling.
How do we do battle as Christians? There are a number of ways, but the two I find most helpful at this point in my life are prayer and Scripture.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19 NKJV
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
When I’m nearly overwhelmed, I find myself begging God to just take care of it, to take the weight of the burden from my mind and work for His glory and our good in that situation. I often ask for the intercession of the Holy Spirit (“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26 NKJV). Then, when the worries wallop my mind again or the panic squeezes my chest, I remember the prayers and the promises from Scripture.
In the most acute moments, though, it can still be frightening. Compared to the seriousness of raising a child, spending a couple of days with needles and IVs probably shouldn’t be registering so highly on my radar right now, but I am utterly terrified of the prep for my c-section. Needles everywhere. Big needle in my back. I’m afraid I’ll be sobbing so hard they won’t be able to do the spinal right. The thing is, though, I can’t escape it. I can’t get around it. I’m going to have to take it, so I’m preparing the best I can with Scriptures to recite and prayers for peace that will guard my mind and my heart.