Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Strength in Weakness

We have a home again!! Everything went well today. I got a chance to get into the house after closing today. I got some things put away in the kitchen and cleaned the carpets downstairs. Josh is going to continue to move some more things out of storage this week. We will have some help moving the big furniture in on Saturday. My mind is swimming with all the things I want to do to the house... Painting, organizing, tearing down that awful wallpaper that is straight from the early

So, on another note...I have been contemplating blogging on this next subject for awhile. After you read you might understand why I have struggled so much with the "to blog, or not to blog" decision. Recently, I set out to understand more about an issue that I have with occasional anger outbursts. Not very often, but occasionally when I am feeling very overwhelmed, I have an adult sized hissy-fit. I usually feel better if I slam a door or kick a toy across the room. (not very typical behavior for the wife of a youth pastor, right?). Josh has fallen victim to these tantrums many times. He is a very patient man.

In my research, I came across descriptions of "Social Anxiety Disorder" which pretty much fits me to a T. I'm always afraid to talk around new people and in new situations for fear that I might say something humiliating or embarassing. For example, a couple of months ago, we had a discussion in our Sunday school class about whether or not a woman would be a good Senior Pastor for our church (we are in the process of finding a new Pastor). I stated my opinion, but ever since I have been haunted by it. "That one guy didn't agree with me....What if I offended her?...I'm sure he thought I was an idiot?...What an awful impression i've made of myself"... Okay people, that was TWO MONTHS AGO and I'm getting a sick feeling in my stomach just thinking about it....this is not normal.

I also used to sing in a christian band. I don't know how I did it then. I guess that I felt comfortable with the people I sang with. Lately if I tried to sing I would run people out of the sanctuary since my voice shakes terribly with the nervousness. In fact, the last time I sang at church, I had to tell my duet partner, Laura, to finish the song because I seriously thought I was going to have a heart attack and could not catch my breath.

I know my fears are irrational but I have them anyway. That's another aspect of the disorder. Anger outbursts tend to go hand in hand with this....I guess the anxiety just builds over time until you blow.

I've been reading this blog by the lead singer of "Addison Road", a christian rock band. She also has had issues with Social Anxiety (not cool when your job consists of singing in front of huge crowds of people). I have been really comforted by it. I have even changed some of my opinions about people with "issues". I used to think that people who took medication for mental illness were just looking for an excuse to get "doped up." But, I have realized that most mental illnesses are caused by chemical imbalances, much like diabetes which we treat without even thinking about it. For some reason, when the problem is in our head we turn it into a faith issue. I'm not saying it's a bad thing to have faith in healing. Just saying that the healing doesn't have to come in some kind of spontaneous, unexplainable, miraculous box. God put doctors and scientists on this earth to work His miracles every day. Even if it's not as dramatic, it is still a way in which God works. I am also not saying I'm gonna run out to the pharmacy and get me some Zoloft. But, I think the important thing here is to not judge people.

God has been teaching me that just because I am a "Pastor's wife" (you guys don't know how badly I want to throw up when I say that) that I do not have to wear a mask. I am who I am. I am by no means perfect. I don't have it all figured out. God's still working on me. I have issues. And I beleive that God can do amazing things through people's weaknesses. Being vulnerable is hard for anyone...opening yourself up for criticism like that. But, I think that God appreciates our willingness to "expose" ourselves so that others might see our need for Him....maybe, through that, they will discover their own need for Him as well.


Adam Wallace said...

I'm praying for you Courtney.

gabriel said...

Wow, Courtney! Thanks for sharing. I had no idea that you were prone to fits of rage. It makes sense though. You're always calm, and quiet, and pleasant. When you bottle it up, it has to come out somewhere.

I identify with a lot of what you shared. One way that I combat these anxiety attacks is to immediately start praying about them. I ask God, "Is there something I should really be concerned with? Have I stepped on someone's toes, or was it within my liberty to say/do/think that?" (For example, opinions are opinions... and you shouldn't be ashamed of that. But sometimes there really is something that we need to be concerned with and take action.) Then, I remind myself of who He is, and what He has said/promised: "I know that you're in control. I know that you love me. Please help me to calm down and trust you. Help me to know the right thing to do/say." Go to your prayer closet. Don't leave until you've calmed down (or know what you should do next). I've literally had to go find a place to hide at work (to pray) because I was anxious, or freaked out, or scared, or mad.

And what could you possibly have to be upset about while starting a new job, moving to a new town, moving to a new home, and living with your in-laws??? (Ha!)

Just stay away from sharp objects, will ya?

I love you guys! I miss you.

Valarie said...

I can so sympathise with you on this. Mine is a little different though. Can you believe that my doctor diagnosed me with AADD. Adult Attention Deficit Disorder!! I wuold feel like the whole world was revoling like a merry-go-round, and I was watching and could not get on. I would try, but fall right back off. So she prescribe Strattera for me. I cried in her office, because I did not want to have to be fixed with a pill. She told me its like if I had a blood pressure problem, I would have to take medicine. So I went ahead and took it and I feel much better now. No more anxious feelings. I have tried to not take it, but boy can I tell a difference when I don't. If you want to call me, please do and we can talk about it together. Just know your not alone. :o)

Lisa said...

Here is a scripture that has recently brought me comfort. I hope you are blessed by it.

....Be strong and courageious. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Love y'all, Lisa

Lisa said...

Funny thing, I posted a bunch of other stuff to you as well, but only the last part of my post showed up in the comments above. Hmmmm, maybe that was the part God wanted you to hear. :) His words...not mine.

Be blessed, Lisa