Thursday, December 21, 2006

Waters to Swim...

Have you heard about the frog that was born at the bottom of the well? He thought life couldn’t get any better till one day he looked up and saw daylight. Climbing up to investigate, he was amazed to find a much larger pond than the one he lived in. And going further afield he discovered a lake that was bigger again. When eventually he came to the ocean and all he could see was water, it dawned on him just how limited his thinking had been. He thought everything he needed was down in the well, but that was a drop in the bucket compared to the things that were out there for him to enjoy.

Maybe you’re living today in your own little “well,” reluctant to leave your comfort zone, settling for limited and safe existence while God has rivers “deep enough to swim in.” Wouldn’t you like to step out in faith, experience new depths in Him and go where you’ve never been before? Remember, the enemy will do everything he can do to keep you focused on your background, your lack of formal education, your appearance and your limited resources. But Bruce Wilkinson says, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re short of money, people, energy or time. What God invites you to do will always be greater than the resources you start with.” You don’t have to let fear limit your vision when God is your source, because His supply is unlimited! One idea from him, just one, can change your life and the lives of others. He’s got great things in store for you today – so start thinking outside the box! ~The Word For You Today

Lately I’ve been starting to feel “limited” myself. Discouraging thoughts such as, lack of education, low self-confidence, anxiety disorder which prevents me from venturing out to new places and fear of failure has me in my own “well” too. I’ve been through numerous office and accounting jobs to customer service and bartending positions. I must say I enjoyed the jobs that interacted with people. Other jobs such as accounting and office work made me feel isolated from the world. I was bored. Writing has brought me to a different level in my life. I’ve met many other writers who taught me many things, and readers who had me looking at life in a different perspective. I learned a lot about the writing business, publishing houses and the difficult task of making writing into a career. Writing is much like art or music. There’s a lot of competition. This doesn’t mean you can’t do it- it’s just all the more difficult to just go into a publishing house and say, “Here, this is a great book I wrote, publish this!” Of course, submitting your work is a whole different ballgame altogether. And who’s to say what you think is great will be great to them? It’s a rough business. There are so many rules and regulations as far as just throwing your work on some publisher’s desk. In fact, a new writer usually isn’t even seen, unless he/she has a reputable agent.

There are many hobbies which I love that make the people in my life say, “You should really consider doing that for a living.” Things such as painting, photography, music and writing are all things I’ve dreamed about doing for a living. I tried photography in galleries and made a few cents in spare change. I even tried eBay, selling my prints online. The shipping was almost the amount of my print- which is where a lot of people make their money. It was pointless. It was too much work for such low income. I didn’t have the right printing equipment. My photography is for my living room only now.

Many things in life discouraged me from pursuing a career in a corporate office, which is where I made the most money. My anxiety attacks disabled me to where I was afraid to even leave the house at times. This is most commonly referred to as agoraphobia. It’s not as bad these days, but the fear of getting an anxiety attack during a work day paralyzes any thought of getting out there again. Of course, anxiety and depression are all related. Some people wonder why doctors prescribe an antidepressant to someone who has anxiety disorder. When I’m having a full-fledged anxiety attack, that sometimes lasts for an hour or so, the next day it will literally have me wiped out in bed. I can’t move. I have no strength. This all leaves me with negative thoughts, which leads into a depressive state of mind. So that’s where the depression links in. Thoughts like, “Why do I get these anxiety attacks? I can’t even go out without having an attack! Am I the only one like this?” With all those negative thoughts, it can determine my mood for the next several days leaving me drained of any energy.

Why am I telling you all this? I guess it’s because most people who read my blog seem to think that Deb’s all “together.” I’m not. I’m human and trying to cope. I may have some great advice for a lot of people, but when it comes to myself, I seek out advice from others. This is one of the many reasons why I created a blog. There are so many people out there that amaze me with their God given ability to reach out and help someone with their words of wisdom. Their advice is like gold to me. Yes, I see a doctor on a bi-weekly basis, but I don’t take anything other than ativan to relieve an oncoming anxiety attack. I refuse to take anything that alters the brain or has more side effects than cyanide.

They say that the mind is a powerful thing. I truly believe that. I know that when I pray and mediate, I feel the sense of encouragement pour over me. Thinking, “I can’t do it,” will result in just that. But if I could just say, “I can do it,” it may get me out of this well. I’ve been trying, but for some reason it’s been a bit slow going. When I’m closer to God, my entire day is different. I have hope. I find myself going out doing things that I normally wouldn’t. My fear is diminished and my anxiety level is low. Some could say it’s the power of the mind, but in my own opinion and experience, it’s the power of God. Not one therapist is going to tell you that though. My therapist doesn’t tell me much actually. He sits there and makes me analyze myself. Don’t I do that enough though? His job is pretty easy! (Or so I think!)

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7

The above scripture helps me realize that praying to God is the most important thing. People always seem to emphasize on the word “independent”. “Oh she’s so independent!” And that’s supposed to be a very good quality in a person…or is it? God wants us to be “dependent” on Him. Maybe that’s what I was trying to do. I was trying to be more independent like everyone else wanted me to be. Or maybe, I should stop trying to please other people and realize that God is the only one that I need acceptance from. Maybe some of you find yourself doing the same thing. It’s easy to fall into that trap of trying to please everyone but yourself. It happens to a lot of us and it can definitely get draining.

What does God expect of you? What do you expect of yourself? Do you have faith that God will be pleased with whatever you do in your life? Do you have faith that you’ll be pleased with your lot in life? And most of all, are you pleased at this very moment with your lot in life?

These are questions I have to ask myself as well. But, in the meantime, I wouldn’t mind hearing your answers.