Yesterday, I looked at a few different meanings of the word rest and how I was applying them to my life. Ultimately, peace of mind and spirit is the rest that I seek. Support is the rest I desire God to be. While I was reading the dictionary yesterday (I seriously did this a lot when I was younger), there was one definition that jumped out at me. To be at rest meant to be free from anxieties.
I'm not exactly sure when anxiety started to creep into my life, but I think it started slowly and then came all at once. There was a span of eight months in college where I went through some pretty scary and terrifying things. Literally, within eight months I had experienced two life-changing, hopefully once-in-a-lifetime, events that I hope to never experience again.
The fall of 2010 I was in a bad car accident with a college friend. Thankfully we walked away with just bruises and I had a small burn on my elbow. But, the other driver did not walk away...and our lives changed that rainy Sunday morning on a country highway. I walked away with memories that I will never forget and a slight fear of cars pulling into the road while I'm driving. I also walked away with a new sense of forgiveness that day. As we met the family of that dear man on that country highway and they hugged my friend and I as they assured us that nothing was our fault and they didn't want us to think otherwise. I didn't tell my parents the extent of the accident until a few days later after I had apparently been having some bad dreams in the middle of the night and my roommate encouraged me to finally talk. Painkillers, muscle relaxers, and the power of prayer filled the next weeks as I slowly watched bruises fade. Yet, I still don't like sitting in the passenger seat of cars very much.
The spring of 2011 I witnessed a town I had grown to love get destroyed by a F-4 tornado. I will always remember that beautiful, blue-skied day turning into blackness as we lost power and all communication with our friends and families. I remember how my friends and I hunkered down on the bottom floor of my dorm building, hearing the wind roar and rush outside. And how almost an hour later we found a friend who simply said, "it's all gone." Besides cell service, internet, and power being gone for a few days, I didn't lose anything that day. The semester was cancelled, but I stayed in Tuscaloosa to help with clean-up and deliver food. Besides not taking finals that semester, I was able to pack up all my stuff and move home for the summer like normal. Yet, that city doesn't look the same. Not just because things are rebuilt in different places, or even the fact that it's just bigger now, it all changed that day in April. I didn't lose anything, yet, the memories flood back when I hear a tornado siren and it could be perfect summer day, but I will still look for my place of shelter when I walk into a new building or move into a new house.
I drive everyday and I've been through plenty of thunderstorms and severe weather since those eight months a few years ago. But, anxiety still comes. I hate driving at night and in the rain, combine the two and I will change plans to stay home or wherever I may be. I pace the floor and watch radar maps intently when meteorologists say that things may get bad during the day. I get overwhelmed at the thought of the future and all the things I must do as an adult, but I also can't stop thinking about it and what I must be doing right now. I think about all the ways that I'm "behind" as a twenty-seven year old, but then remind myself that all paths are different.
The same God may be directing us down our paths, but each one looks different. What a marvelous, mighty, and loving God to know us each so well, that He guides us differently as it is perfect for us. He knows the anxieties that I face, He knows the root problem of them all, and He knows all the moments that they will suddenly appear.
My God also knows what it takes to overcome these anxieties. He knows the fears, the worries, and all the questions that come with them. And He shows me that He has the protection, the provision, the rest that I need. To be with Him, walking with Him, reading His Word, resting in Him is where I am free from anxiety.