I've had a really hard, much dreaded week the last six days. My stomach has been in knots for most of the six days. My mind has been overrun with worry and anxiety. My patience has been short and my love small.
What could be causing such a stressful week you ask? Two words.
Wait, did she just say the stomach flu is causing knots in the tummy, worry, anxiety and a lack of patience and love?!
Yes. Yes I did.
I have come to recognize an idol in my life. I guess you could call the idol health. But it's even more specific than that. I don't mind coughs, sniffly noses, fevers....I can deal with those. The stomach flu, I cannot. I have an intense fear of it. You may even call it a phobia.
You see, a few months back, I got the stomach flu for the first time since I was a kid. Horrible stuff. This stomach flu lasted for over a week. And I haven't been the same since. Seriously, I haven't been the same. The flu changed something in me, so now I feel nauseous almost every evening. Food doesn't sit well in my stomach. I can't drink carbonated drinks anymore. A stomach bug did this, you guys. I didn't even know that was possible.
So now I have a phobia. Of getting the stomach flu again and having things get worse.
Six days ago, two of my daughters woke up with the bug. Then they were totally fine that afternoon. Then the next day, 36 hours later, my oldest threw up again. Freaked me out. What is this thing that leaves and then dares to come back?! It was pretty much a dreadful waiting game after that, just WAITING for the other two to get it. I knew they had to get it, though I always held on to the slim hope that maybe, somehow, they would escape.
First one fell. Then the other last night.
Why am I telling you all this?
I realize that some of you will think I'm crazy for "overreacting" to something as inevitable as a stomach bug. But we all have our "thing" don't we? That thing (or things) that drive us to insane worry. That thing that causes us to lash out at our kids and husband for no reason. For example, last night I caught the last standing healthy kid brushing her teeth with one of her sick sister's toothbrush. I freaked out. I caught myself yelling, "WHY are you doing that?! We don't do that!!!" Similar things came out of my mouth when catching them sharing cups. "NOOOOO!!!!" I'd shriek while telling them to switch their cups!! Don't you know that "YOU are the orange cup and YOU are the green cup?!" Then I would realize that I was talking to 2-year-olds. 2-year-old twins. They've shared everything since before birth. They ALWAYS share drinks, we used to only have one toothbrush for both of them to use when they were babies....I mean, come on. The poor things didn't know that mama turns into a nutcase when the stomach flu enters our house.
I was getting to the point of overwhelming worry. It was making me sick to my stomach (and still does sometimes). I decided I needed to quit trying to deal with this on my own (duh) and start doing what God tells me to do in His Word. So I went back to a favorite passage of mine:
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
The first thing we are called to do is "be anxious for NOTHING." I wish it was easy as reading it! God doesn't leave us there though. He tells us what to do INSTEAD of worrying. Pray!! Go to God with your worries and your requests. Oh and don't forget the thanksgiving. While you're talking to God, remember to be thankful. There are always things to give thanks for.
So I started doing that. And you know that peace it promises? It's real! My heart has calmed down, my stomach has lost most of its knots! I'm able to be thankful for the little things, like having a semi-calm and uneventful morning!
When I start to dwell on the what-ifs, WHAT IF I get this nasty thing and can't get out of bed and J is working? WHAT IF J gets it and can't go to work at all? What if, what if?! then I make myself think on the truth (verse 8) above. I ask myself questions (really I do!). Am I sick right now? Is J sick right now? And then I thank God that I'm feeling good and that J is feeling good.
I know the real trial will be if I get sick too. I will need to be thinking on the truth and trusting in God's grace to get me through. He always provides what we need.
Do you have a trial you're going through? Are you worried about something? Remember God's grace and mercy to us! And obey His word: Be anxious for NOTHING! Be thankful!