Lately, I've had a lot going on in my head. For those who remember, in my last blog post, I was stressed and overwhelmed. I have good news for you that I've been resolving things. When I first published that post, I wanted to take it down. It seemed too personal. Yet, when I received comments on Reddit that people really related to what I was going through and that it helped them, it was worth it.
I thought I was doing too much, pushing too hard. I even thought I was on the verge of hypomania. I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and he said I'm doing better than he's ever seen me. He said the last thing I need to do is worry about how I'm doing. But, growth hurts sometimes. It's tough.
Last week, I wrote about trying to learn how to stop myself from driving myself crazy. The odd message I felt God wanted to give me is that I didn't need to stop His love. What I felt Him say confused me. It made no sense and wasn't the answer I was looking for. But, now, I understand. Let God out, let Him run free through my body and soul. Give God unbridled access to living through me. Then, I don't have to worry about stopping. I just need to let Him start and not stop HIM.
This doesn't mean I don't take breaks, rest, meditate, pray, know when I've gone too far and quit activity. It means exactly that I DO need to do all those things. I need to do those things because if I don't, I put limits on God and what He can do. Just like He told us, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
I'm an intense person, no doubt about it. I have the wide feeling range of a bipolar, the laser like focus of an autistic and sometimes, anxiety attacks on top of it all. So, I can relate to just about anybody who is a little crazy.
I remember years ago, when I worked as a mental heath case manager, I had a client who called me up and said, in a terrified, gasping voice, “Laura, I NEED you, I need you, come here.” I asked her why and she just cried and repeated, “I need you.” So, since I made home visits, I drove way out to her trailer in the Appalachian mountains. When I opened the door, there was my client, with a shotgun pointed at her mother. I won't say much further except to say that all survived, she went to jail and I quit my job.
Sometimes, I have felt that way myself. Now, I don't mean I've felt like I would point a gun at anybody, but I've felt that desperate, terrified need. So many times, I pray to God in that voice, “I need you! I need you!” I will often flash back to that client when I feel that, thinking, “Wow. The pain!” Anyone with anxiety disorder can relate, I am sure. It isn't even logical.
I used to approach communion like that quite a lot. I wanted to be fed with God's comfort and love. I would return to my pew and sometimes cry with joy. Jesus became a drug. So, my spiritual director asked me, “What kind of way is that to treat anyone you love? Next time when you receive communion, pray that the sacrament will give you the strength to serve Him.”
Wow. That was around nine months ago that we had that conversation and I have always said those words in prayer before communion and after. It's made a huge difference in my life. I've learned things this year about the great sacrifice Jesus made for us. He gave us everything. My job is to learn to give everything back, to learn to give as He did.
I've had thoughts spinning around in my head this week about how Jesus told St. Peter that if he loved Him, he would feed his sheep. In other words, if St. Peter loved Him, he would show mature love and give until it hurt.
Over the past nine months, I've learned more every day about how to grow in maturity and love. The secret to my happiness is to push forward instead of sliding into anxiety verging on despair. For instance, instead of crying, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” as if in panic from the bottom of a well, awaiting rescue, I've learned something that feels really novel and unique to a former Protestant.
I've learned how to offer Him up. I can lift up my arms to God and hold Him high and say to God, “Behold, your son. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! There is nothing worthwhile I can offer you except for this.” Jesus died because we had nothing at all to offer God without Him. If I don't offer Him up, I still have nothing. To give Jesus to God, as the gift Jesus wants to be, is amazing. We do it every time in the mass. We do it every time we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Jesus is the only worthy gift to give to God, but if we seek to merge our lives with His, we will grow in holiness and love. How do we merge with Him? Give like Him. Give like he does, and that means all we have and all we are. Yet, I have to remember that when I'm keeping myself insanely busy, trying to justify myself and prove myself, impress people and get approval, I'm not making any room for Him to live in me. Everything I do is absolutely worthless without Him. Remembering this is a constant challenge for me.
There is so much pain in our world, so much tortured misery. We have extreme violence erupting all over our planet and we have since the day we left Eden. We cry out to Jesus, “We need you,” and then we make ourselves crazy with activity to try to kill the pain, when really, we need to learn to serve Him. Only then can we have peace.