My Thanksgiving

by Rhonda, November 23, 2018

Yesterday was the day.

I cooked for several days beforehand.  I ordered table decorations off of Etsy so the table would be beautiful.  I sent out Facebook invites two weeks prior.  When the day arrived, I got up early to put the turkey in the oven.  By noon, Thanksgiving was in full effect in our house, and I made sure everything was perfect.  Well, as close as possible.

The food was good.  The house smelled nice.  We had five different kinds of pies.  We had fruit trays shaped as turkeys.  We had deviled eggs and snack mixes and the gravy didn't have any lumps.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  After an afternoon of food, football, and card games, we said goodbye to the last guest around 9:30 p.m.  I gave my husband a high five as I retreated to my favorite place - my nice, peaceful bathtub.  When my head hit the pillow, I quickly fell asleep.

I planned to sleep in today.  My goal was complete and total relaxation today, because I worked hard all week to do the Thing.  The Thanksgiving Thing.  And, we did the Thing.

But, today didn't go as planned.  Against my wishes, I was up early this morning.

I should mention that I suffer from anxiety.  No, let me say that correctly.  I suffer from severe anxiety disorder.  There are times I function well and there are times I don't.  Today, anxiety showed up in full force.

The thing about anxiety disorder is when it rages, nothing helps.  Not food, not isolation, not even my beloved Mastiffs.  No one can help me.  The kids can't soothe me.  When it reaches a certain threshold, I am simply out of commission.

My disappointment made it worse.  Today was supposed to be my day of relaxation.  Yesterday was about everyone else's Thanksgiving.  But, today, between God and myself, I was going to have my Thanksgiving.  I was going to spend my day in peace, with a grateful attitude towards my creator.

Instead, I could hardly get out of bed.  I was sure the pies weren't good yesterday.  I was positive people didn't have a good time. I imagined my family was disappointed in me. I argued with my daughter.  I tried to take a nap but with anxiety, there's no sleep.  I worried about everything from work commitments to finances to whether my kids are normal.

What a disaster of a day.

I wish I could tell you I have the solution for this problem, but I don't.  Just as Paul had the thorn in his side, this seems to be mine. I have a good therapist, coping strategies and yes, medication.  However, I am always working to manage my reactions to stress in my life.  There's no end-all, cure-all fix for anxiety disorder.

But, tonight, I wonder if perhaps I need a shift in perspective.  One strategy I've used in the past is to simply try to distract myself from my anxiety rather than trying to continuously fight it.  So, perhaps some study time will serve as a good distraction. I am going to continue on my Bible quest that I've been on for the past few weeks.

Exactly who is Jesus to me?

I've been jotting down every verse that I come across for the past few weeks that describes Jesus.  My notebook has become a bit of a collage as I try to view Jesus through a different lens, attempting to put together a holistic picture of Him through various descriptions in the Bible.  Tonight, as I look through my notes, one verse stands out to me.

Psalm 18:2
He's my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.

Considering the day I've had, I have to remind myself that He is indeed, the power that saves me.  Often when I see verses throughout the Bible mentioning that He saves, I think of salvation.  But, today, I need Him to save me from myself.  I need for Him to save me from my worries, my irritability, and my stress.

I need His presence in this moment, this struggle - in my weakness.  And, let me tell you, I am definitely looking for that place of safety.  The words of this verse are a welcome sight to my eyes.  They're soothing to my tattered nerves, but more importantly, they are providing a much-needed moment of clarity:

He's protective of me.

Every phrase in this verse tells me so.  He's defending me, He's saving me, and He's sheltering me.  I'm not alone in this battle.  What a revelation after a day of loneliness, fear, and sadness.  Knowing He's my shield, protecting me through this attack of anxiety allows a bit of calm to filter through the worry.  Hearing He's my place of safety allows me to imagine myself in a fortress, protected from all of my fears.  Reading He saves me reminds me that He's saved me many times before.

He'll save me this time, too.

All of a sudden, I finally have the mindset I wanted today.  I can sit back and allow myself to relax, taking a few deep, peaceful breaths.

Thank you Lord.