Someone recently recommended that I solve my unemployment issues by becoming a full-time blogger (don’t worry, it’s not going to happen, not least because writing every single post is a major exercise in working through anxiety. “Did I get the tone right? Is that heresy? Do I perpetually sound like a whiny, self-important child? Is that quote from the revised or original Lay of Leithian?”). Anyway, this person thought full-time blogging would result in me diving headfirst into a swimming pool full of gold coins because “you write about your anxieties and people like to laugh at that.” Which was, you know, super helpful for my anxiety.
To be honest, I can admit that sometimes my anxiety is funny. The other day I worried for literally 15 minutes about if I could escape being counted as a hipster according to Jonathan Franzen’s definition because I only occasionally listen to Cream, I don’t collect their vinyl albums. Then I spent 5 more minutes worrying about how I was probably a hipster because I spent 15 minutes worrying if I was a hipster because of something Jonathan Franzen wrote. Then I realized I was being ridiculous and I forced myself to think about something else.
But most of the time it’s not funny. Sometimes I can’t function at social events because my anxiety is overwhelming all my of normal functions, including speaking and moving my limbs like a human. A lot of the time my anxiety has me collapsing in tears because I can’t find a job, because I don’t fit in anywhere, because I can’t meet expectations. Because I’m that stupid Millennial stereotype. Because other people my age are moving on with their lives and I’m not. Because I can’t do a single thing right. Because I’m a bad friend and faithless and inconstant and a general waste of space.
It all just churns and shouts and drums and spins in my mind. The parts that are true and the parts that are lies get so mixed together that I can’t tell the difference anymore. The hard things that are true get separated from the true things that make them bearable. And it just takes so much energy to slow it down and stop it and sort everything out again. It’s a lot of work. It hurts.
I have to go over everything and throw away the lies and reconnect the hard things with the bearable things and return the unpleasant things to the feet of Jesus.
It takes so much effort and time and spoons that I wish I could spend on other things. It happens more often than I want to admit. It’s happening as I write this. And the weariness that comes in the wake of my anxiety makes me wonder how I’m supposed to keep going, how anyone keeps going, for years and years more.
(Where would I live in Arda? Lórien. Proper Lórien in Valinor. Somewhere near Lórellin.)
But I know that if I was stronger I would trust my own plans.
I know that if things were easier I would lean on my own understanding.
I know that if I wasn’t so tired I wouldn’t long for Jesus so much.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal…So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
So we do not lose heart.
* 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 5:6-8. Also all the verses in between.