Anxiety… control… two very common threads that we as women deal with. They wreck our hearts, our minds, and our health. What does it take to break the vicious cycle and not allow them to wreak havoc in our lives?
In my case, it was pneumonia and a three day stay in the hospital.
God used pneumonia to force me to be still so He could reveal some things to me that I could not see. He allowed me to be physically unable to breathe, but emotionally I had not truly been breathing for at least ten years.
Every day for the past ten years, my anxiety and my need for control had ruled my life. There was hardly a minute in my day that I wasn’t consumed with anxiety. It colored how I made all decisions. The anxiety ruled.
One of the areas where anxiety controlled the most was money. I was in charge of the finances in our household; and though they provided hundreds of hours of stress, I could not let go and allow my husband to help me with, or even take over the finances because I had anxiety about what that might mean.
As a result, I did everything based on how it affected us financially. I always wondered why money was such a big deal to me, since I’m not a materialistic person, and I eventually learned that money wasn’t the problem: the problem was needing to control the money. My anxious thoughts about our finances made me feel out of control; so in my mind, if I could control my money, I could control my life.
My anxious thoughts also controlled my marriage. My husband has never given me any indication of wanting to leave or divorce me, yet that was my biggest fear. My most frequently-occurring nightmare involved my husband leaving.
In my mind, I had determined that if I did not do a good job with the finances, he would divorce me. So instead of letting him do the finances, I did them and kept things covered, because I knew that we didn’t always have enough money to pay all our bills. That is what consumed my anxious thoughts – the constant struggle of figuring out which Peter I would rob to pay Paul. It occupied my mind full-time.
I never wanted to have to say, “No, we don’t have the money,” to my husband when he would ask to go out to eat. So, instead, I’d allow us to go out and then worry, fret and work my tail off to make up the difference. This made for an exhausting cycle of always working harder and harder to make more money; and there was never enough, so I never stopped.
On top of my anxieties over finances and my marriage, I also allowed the anxious thoughts to invade my parenting. I wanted my children to be happy; in order to do so, I spoiled them. I did everything for them, from fixing drinks to working even harder so I could buy them the latest desires of their little hearts.
This had me physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, unable to breathe -just like pneumonia that landed me in the hospital. And what was it that had actually landed me there? My anxious thoughts. I was so worn out from worry that my body could no longer fight to stay healthy.