I retreated to my bedroom as soon as my husband walked in the door. The heaviness in my chest pressed on my lungs so that each breath took a little extra effort. Nothing had happened, necessarily. I inhaled, letting the air pass through my nose, letting my shoulders drop along with it. I didn't have to look at my phone to remember my therapy appointment tomorrow. I knew it would help. But I hated that I had to go in the first place.
If only I was more organized, I wouldn't need...
If only I had more balance to my life, I wouldn't need...
If only I took better care of myself, I wouldn't need...
If I could just look on the bright side, I wouldn't need...
I fingered the cover of the book on my nightstand and flipped it open to my bookmark. But I did need it. I really needed a professional to help me navigate my complicated past and the waves of emotion now. Sometimes, it was just too much all at once. I could feel myself shutting down. A page of my handwritten notes and marketing ideas slipped out from the pages and landed on my blanket. I shoved it to the back of the book. I couldn't think about work now. I couldn't think about Keith trying to put the kids to bed in the other room. My cluttered house glared at me--if I really wanted to, I could use the quiet time to catch up on where I fell short. I didn't want to.
I nestled against my pillow and read until my eyes lost their place and the book began to droop in my hand.
When I woke in the morning, I snapped at my son for not getting up on time. I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel, snarling at the lines of morning traffic--who decided one road to the high school was a good idea, anyway? I checked my watch. By the time I got home, it was too late to exercise, but Keith grabbed me by my shoulders and told me to go for a walk anyway. It wasn't Keith who caused all the knots in my stomach. It wasn't my son, the traffic, the exercise, or a lack of breakfast. It was my appointment.
I ate, showered, dressed, and dropped my son off to the sitter. I left in plenty of time. I rehearsed in my head some of the things I wanted to discuss and took a few extra minutes in the car once I arrived. My therapist smiled and invited me to his office.
I don't know why I dread appointments. They always seem to be exactly what I need. I will spare you the details.
I left the office lighter, more prepared with some ideas to better face my struggles. I saw them in a different context. I felt like more of a fighter than a failure. I felt proud of myself for facing my anxieties and going.
When I got to the car, my watch buzzed. It tracks my fitness, my movement, my breathing. When I looked down, it said three large words: YOU DID IT! Now, I know it probably meant that I met my movement goal for the hour, but I couldn't help but think of it another way. What if it wasn't coincidence?
My Heavenly Father knew about my appointment. How could He not? I brought it up constantly in my prayers. He knew about my anxiety surrounding it. He knew that going to the appointment meant that I wished I was doing better emotionally. What if (now stay with me here)--What if YOU DID IT was perfectly timed. A little high five from a loving God? What would He have said to me if He had met me personally in the parking lot? Probably the exact same thing.
Now you might not have a watch that tracks your movement, but there is a God, and He knows everything about you. He loves you! Is He sending you little messages, little reminders, coincidences just to let you know that He is aware of you? He might not be able to take you into His arms to give you a warm hug, but is He sending someone else in His place? What are the subtle things today that you might have missed?
Try not to zero in on the heaviness in your chest or the things you don't want to do. Don't focus on where you fall short or "If only I was..." Look past the cluttered house and traffic gridlock. Look for your own YOU DID IT! right in front of you. I'll bet it's there.