That is how I’ve been explaining my mood lately. It seems that my emotions remain very close to the surface just waiting for the slightest brush, the smallest offense, the tiniest confusion to flare into a bout, often intense, of resentment, doubt, or anger. The prolonged disconnect from the people and the routines of the past acts like a scalpel peeling back the skin and exposing nerve endings.
For the past three years I have been praying Psalm 139 each morning –
Search me and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts, point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me in the path of righteousness. (italics mine)
The last few weeks God has responded to that prayer. Not in the way I would have asked or desired, but an answer nevertheless.
For these weeks have been a testing that has laid bare my insecurities and my anxieties in no uncertain terms. It has shown me where I’ve placed my trust in something other than God. And while not baring too much of my soul here, it surrounds being appreciated, valued, and respected. My testing has led me to see that I have been placing my self-worth on a response to a sermon, or blogpost, or leading, or well, you get the picture. And while all these are part of my gifting and important to the work God has called me, I realize now how much that I tied my well-being to the fruit of the gifts and not the love of the gift Giver. I deeply desired my identity that was built upon the work of ministry and instead of the work of the Gospel. In other words, they have become idols.
I am praying a prayer of thanksgiving for how God is not wasting this season of life. Without it, I may never have wrestled with these anxieties so often or intensely. Please do not hear me saying God is responsible for the trials – but rather please hear me say God is using a trial – beauty from ashes.
Oh, and I have a long ways to go. Identifying is but the beginning of the journey. My prayer is now focused on the end of the Psalm – lead me in the path of righteousness. May God bring about restoration to the brokenness within me.
I write all of this as a reflection mostly and perhaps a helpful encouragement if it sounds all too familiar. If the description of emotional shingles strikes a chord with you – know that it may be revealing something to be considered instead of something to just get through.