Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Surprise - Day 2

Let me begin by noting that I've heard from several folks at our church who are really wrestling with this whole "Surprise!" thing. Many express trepidation over the idea of asking God to surprise them. I keep hearing the same thing from just about every one I talk to: "I don't want God to surprise me. I've got enough surprises to deal with."

While I certainly understand this concern, I look at surprise in a completely different light. This experiment, to me, is not an attempt to ask God to do something new. Instead, it's an attempt to make us more aware of what God is already doing. God is already surpassingly surprising. He doesn't need our permission to surprise us. What He wants is people who actually take the time to train their eyes and ears to see His surprising activity in all things.

With that clarification in mind, I must report that today was one of those negatively surprising days that none of us enjoy. I woke up at 5:45 and got the kids ready for school. Everyone dressed, everyone fed, everyone's lunch made, and everyone out the door at 6:30. I'm pretty sure I was sleep walking through the entire Hayes morning routine. After Kim and the kids left, I was pretty certain that I was going to struggle through the day. I could just feel the signs.

About 4 years ago I had a really bad incident with what I later found out was an anxiety related episode. Some folks call it a panic attack, but at the time it just felt like I was going to die. Since that horrible occasion, I've consistently struggled with the effects of anxiety. Today was a pretty severe and surprising anxiety struggle.

Even though I've been dealing with this for 4 years, I'm still surprised every time I start to feel the room spinning, numbness in my fingertips, and intense light-headedness. It still surprises me that I don't have any better control over myself. More than anything, it's miserably perplexing for an optimist like myself to be overcome by a tidal wave of panic. It just seems so out of place.

At the end of the day, when the panic has finally given way to peace, I always feel like the I've been trapped in a burning building, and just before I pass out from all the smoke, I finally hear the distant sound of sirens. When I'm calm again, I feel rescued by God. I don't find it at all surprising that God would rescue me, but I am surprised that I spend so much time needing to be rescued. After knowing Him as long I as I have, you'd think I'd quit running into burning buildings!

So, surprise!! I'm a weak, anxiety-riddled sinner! I guess God thinks that every now and then I should be reminded of the fact that I still need to be rescued.


Truth is Stranger than Fiction said...

I gotta tell you that this very week I was dutifully studying in the study my life group is doing, which I have accused of being "fluff", and I was quite stunned by 2 little sentences buried in the intro story that day. Those 2 little sentences caused me to type out 2 bullet points on an index card to carry around and keep in front of me. The first bullet point says "anxiety".

I struggle with anxiety, although I have never had a panic attack, so let me say right here that I cannot imagine what that must be like, and I'm sorry you struggled with that horrible experience. I also gotta tell you that the bullet points are things God wants me to give to Him and let go of. But I'm loathe to let go of that one, because it's one of my comfortable, old house shoes.

Wednesday, I prayed "Surprise me, God", and I was surprised to find that this grandmother is a little rusty (did I say a little?) in caring for 2 babies under the age of 2. I was also surprised at how well it went, and how excited I was, and how much I enjoyed it all. I was giddy as a teenager, and my husband things I should have been filled with dread.

I didn't mention the 6-year old brother, but he's just alot of fun.

It's been a looooong time since I juggled 2 in diapers, and had another one I was forced to park in front of the TV because of the 2in diapers. It took everything both Timothy and I had to pull it off, but we did it, and I think we deserve a medal.

What does that say for you guys, who juggle all those little ones like you do, every day? :-)

Steve Hayes said...

Good stuff, Steph! Nothing like little ones to keep the surprises coming! Glad you enjoyed it. Grandparents should enjoy their Grandchildren! And, isn't it funny how those fluffy little life group lessons can actually have a profound effect if you actually participate with them? I'm pretty convinced that depth is sometimes determined by how deeply involved we are in the process. Thanks for writing in. Keep it up!