The house was quiet, the sun was just coming up, it wasn’t too hot and there was a nice breeze blowing in the windows. I sat there clutching my coffee mug with all my strength. I was staring at the wall, seemingly doing nothing, but my mind was very active. Overly active one might say. It was June, the beginning of summer holidays would soon be upon us, an end to a busy school schedule. But before I could enjoy the lazy days stretching before us, I had to finish a list that included many, many deadlines.
I was thinking about the exam that needed to be completed, the school grades that needed to be submitted to the Department of Education (we are a homeschool family), the gathering and packing that needed to be done for me and three of my children as we were going to camp in a week or so, the checklist that would need to be made for my husband who would have to pack for a family vacation on his own, the house that lay in shambles because my work schedule had dominated for 9 months, and on, and on, and on….
I felt my eyes growing wider and my heart rate quicken, I knew I was on the verge of an all-out anxiety attack, feeling like a huge wave was crashing over me and it wasn’t waves of God’s peace. I was called out of my place of panic by the blood curdling screams of my eight-year old who would not stop shrieking long enough to tell me what was wrong. There I stood, with my mouth open not knowing what to say because I no idea what this was all about. After he tore his shirt off like a WWF wrestler in the hallway he managed to tell me that while holding one of the wildflowers he and his sister had gathered the day before, a giant red spider, jumped on him. I was completely unaware that we had red spiders the size of golf balls living in our backyard. In the seven years we’ve been here I’ve never once encountered one, but he insisted this was the case.
I inspected the kitchen and dining room, turned up no trace of the giant monster, to which I am entirely grateful, God really does protect us. The situation was a perfect distraction, getting me off the road to the panic attack and back onto the path of being calm and ‘in control’. I began to feel a stirring in my spirit, like God was about to show me something, and I was desperately needing to hear something from Him that would help me feel able to face all that I was being presented with.
In Matthew 14, Jesus had sent the disciples out in a boat at night, and a strong wind had come up. Jesus went to them when He saw them straining at the oars, walking on the water. When they saw Him they were scared, but He assured them who He was, and Peter said, “Lord if it’s You, tell me to come to You on the water”. So Jesus told him to come, and out of the boat he got. Now this is the part that made me think, helped me to recover my drive to get things done. Verse 30 ‘But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”’ And Jesus reached out for him and caught him, asking him why he began to doubt. Now, when I began to get my eyes fixed on what needed to be done in an extremely short time period, I began to panic. I became anxious.
So many times in life we fix our eyes on our circumstances, on our to- do- lists; on the things that lie ahead of us, and we become overwhelmed. We try and try to come up with some plan, some system of organization that will help us to reach our destination, in our own strength, and I can tell you from experience that this leaves you exhausted and looking for a place to hide. What I was reminded of that morning was this: when we fix our eyes on our Heavenly Father, He will help guide us and keep our heads above the waves. He will help us to order our days, keep everything moving along smoothly and accomplish the things we need to have done. My prayer for all of us is that we will make Him the first focus of our day and allow Him to help us out of those anxious places that will come our way.