Posts Tagged ‘simple living’

on anxiety and it’s cause…

This is a letter I wrote to a friend who’s struggling with panic attacks and felt compelled to share here.  It’s sort of  ‘my story’ I guess and what’s led me to where I am.

*****,
I just want to tell you that I really feel for you here!  As a very young child I suffered from panic attacks (mostly dealing with death and hell etc) but somewhere along the line they stopped and it just morphed into a milder edition of social anxiety (not being able to speak in front of people in school, as an adult not being able to go places alone, feeling very nervous and incapable of going to new places, things like that)  I’m 31 now.  Just over a year ago, I was stricken in the middle of the night with my first panic attack… after 25 or so years of not having them.  It was completely out of the blue, but once they started, I had no control at all.  It would start slowly in the morning and by evening I was barely able to breath.  My husband was terrified I was going crazy.  I was terrified I would get stuck in a panic attack and be forced to live out the rest of my life in sheer terror.  It was by far the worse thing I’ve ever been through.  I worried desperately over all kinds of things but mostly dying and my children’s salvation.  What’s odd is that it really was the physical symptoms that would bring on the mental anxiety.  The rapid heart beating and stuff like that.  Something was causing the physical symptoms to kick in.  Finally one morning we awoke and it had never eased from the night before.  My husband took me to the ER and they gave me Xanax.  I spent the next week in a sleep stupor.  I couldn’t even keep awake enough hours to eat enough food.  I was so ill.  At the ER, by the grace of God they found some medical problems I didn’t know I had.  I saw a primary care doctor and I began taking an antidepressant called Lexapro.  It began helping and took a couple weeks to make big progress but it helped.  Even though it helped, I still felt that medication wasn’t the long term answer.  I was completely torn.  I took my medicine cause I did NOT want to go back to that.
Well to make a long story short, I got my medical problems dealt with.  I took the meds for about 7 months and felt wonderful the whole time.  Finally I just really felt like I needed to get off it.  I didn’t want to get addicted to living on a medication that altered my mood.  It was hard.  The symptoms were milder than before and I could recognize them quickly.  I was prepared.  I knew what to expect and I could control my reaction so much better. 
I’m not saying this is how it is or will or should go for you, I just want to offer you what I’ve experienced.  Now, a year later, I do believe the Holy Spirit was convicting me and I was just at a point where I couldn’t run any longer.  This is crazy to say!!  I grew up knowing who Jesus was!  Even in my marriage, we’ve spent our entire married years in church, serving, worshipping the Lord and yet here I sit, convicted by the Holy Spirit.  It’s just crazy!  But I know that’s what my anxiety was about.  I was struggling with secret sin and God was not gonna let me be overtaken by it.  Plus, He had plans.  Plans that involved getting all the distraction of what life in America has become out of my brain, and show me what my true "Christ-centered Dream" is supposed to be.  Not just for me, but for my family.  During those times of anxiety, I desperately craved Christ and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  For a moment, I really was (finally) willing to *listen* and give deep attention to His Word and search for the peace that passes all understanding.  These cliché phrases had a meaning for me in a more real sense than they ever had in any of my worldly circumstances.  The course of events over the past year or little more have set my family on a trajectory that is leading us straight to Christ and slowly dropping away are all the things we’re trying to carry with us to Him.  It’s been hard at times as things have fallen away and we watch them go til we can’t see them anymore.  But every time something goes, the weight of what we’re carrying to Christ is so much lighter and we can run all the faster. 
I’m glad I took meds for the months that I did.  It really did help me to  get control of my thoughts so that I could recognize what it was all about.  But I’m glad I quit taking them too.  Because it required me to let go of things I was clinging to (and I don’t just mean stuff – but people, circumstances, beliefs too) and cling only on the hope that Christ would cling to me even when I let go. 

I still struggle with sin.  At times I still fight anxiety.  But when I do fight it, I know that it’s a warning sign.  I need to look at myself – what’s going on in my life?   What am I doing that’s useless?  I remind myself that all things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial.  What isn’t beneficial in my life that I spend more than 10% of my day doing? 

Consider this, what IF anxiety is a warning sign from the Holy Spirit that we’ve got some things out of order?  What IF we ignore it and decide to suppress it with medication, calling it a ‘disorder’ so we can find comfort in having it.  I’m not saying this is every case of anxiety and there’s never a reason for long term treatment, but hang in here with me for a minute.  Imagine the millions of people in America walking through life with the conviction of the Holy Spirit heavy upon their lives and daily medicating themselves just so they can get through another day.  If Satan wanted a perfect situation, he just got it – call conviction a disorder and come up with a bandage for it so we don’t have to see it or feel it.  This is where I truly believe we sit in America.  We have enough people willing to tell us that anxiety is just ‘part of life’ and ‘a normal medical condition’ and enough fear ourselves to trust and believe it. 

But I ask you, as a Christian, do you think God cannot or will not cause physical changes to a person in order to draw their attention to their sin and/or Himself?  Can He or would He not use physical changes we’ve named anxiety to shake us from our sin-filled lives?

-knittingprose

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on anxiety and it’s cause…

This is a letter I wrote to a friend who’s struggling with panic attacks and felt compelled to share here.  It’s sort of  ‘my story’ I guess and what’s led me to where I am.

*****,
I just want to tell you that I really feel for you here!  As a very young child I suffered from panic attacks (mostly dealing with death and hell etc) but somewhere along the line they stopped and it just morphed into a milder edition of social anxiety (not being able to speak in front of people in school, as an adult not being able to go places alone, feeling very nervous and incapable of going to new places, things like that)  I’m 31 now.  Just over a year ago, I was stricken in the middle of the night with my first panic attack… after 25 or so years of not having them.  It was completely out of the blue, but once they started, I had no control at all.  It would start slowly in the morning and by evening I was barely able to breath.  My husband was terrified I was going crazy.  I was terrified I would get stuck in a panic attack and be forced to live out the rest of my life in sheer terror.  It was by far the worse thing I’ve ever been through.  I worried desperately over all kinds of things but mostly dying and my children’s salvation.  What’s odd is that it really was the physical symptoms that would bring on the mental anxiety.  The rapid heart beating and stuff like that.  Something was causing the physical symptoms to kick in.  Finally one morning we awoke and it had never eased from the night before.  My husband took me to the ER and they gave me Xanax.  I spent the next week in a sleep stupor.  I couldn’t even keep awake enough hours to eat enough food.  I was so ill.  At the ER, by the grace of God they found some medical problems I didn’t know I had.  I saw a primary care doctor and I began taking an antidepressant called Lexapro.  It began helping and took a couple weeks to make big progress but it helped.  Even though it helped, I still felt that medication wasn’t the long term answer.  I was completely torn.  I took my medicine cause I did NOT want to go back to that.
Well to make a long story short, I got my medical problems dealt with.  I took the meds for about 7 months and felt wonderful the whole time.  Finally I just really felt like I needed to get off it.  I didn’t want to get addicted to living on a medication that altered my mood.  It was hard.  The symptoms were milder than before and I could recognize them quickly.  I was prepared.  I knew what to expect and I could control my reaction so much better. 
I’m not saying this is how it is or will or should go for you, I just want to offer you what I’ve experienced.  Now, a year later, I do believe the Holy Spirit was convicting me and I was just at a point where I couldn’t run any longer.  This is crazy to say!!  I grew up knowing who Jesus was!  Even in my marriage, we’ve spent our entire married years in church, serving, worshipping the Lord and yet here I sit, convicted by the Holy Spirit.  It’s just crazy!  But I know that’s what my anxiety was about.  I was struggling with secret sin and God was not gonna let me be overtaken by it.  Plus, He had plans.  Plans that involved getting all the distraction of what life in America has become out of my brain, and show me what my true "Christ-centered Dream" is supposed to be.  Not just for me, but for my family.  During those times of anxiety, I desperately craved Christ and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  For a moment, I really was (finally) willing to *listen* and give deep attention to His Word and search for the peace that passes all understanding.  These cliché phrases had a meaning for me in a more real sense than they ever had in any of my worldly circumstances.  The course of events over the past year or little more have set my family on a trajectory that is leading us straight to Christ and slowly dropping away are all the things we’re trying to carry with us to Him.  It’s been hard at times as things have fallen away and we watch them go til we can’t see them anymore.  But every time something goes, the weight of what we’re carrying to Christ is so much lighter and we can run all the faster. 
I’m glad I took meds for the months that I did.  It really did help me to  get control of my thoughts so that I could recognize what it was all about.  But I’m glad I quit taking them too.  Because it required me to let go of things I was clinging to (and I don’t just mean stuff – but people, circumstances, beliefs too) and cling only on the hope that Christ would cling to me even when I let go. 

I still struggle with sin.  At times I still fight anxiety.  But when I do fight it, I know that it’s a warning sign.  I need to look at myself – what’s going on in my life?   What am I doing that’s useless?  I remind myself that all things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial.  What isn’t beneficial in my life that I spend more than 10% of my day doing? 

Consider this, what IF anxiety is a warning sign from the Holy Spirit that we’ve got some things out of order?  What IF we ignore it and decide to suppress it with medication, calling it a ‘disorder’ so we can find comfort in having it.  I’m not saying this is every case of anxiety and there’s never a reason for long term treatment, but hang in here with me for a minute.  Imagine the millions of people in America walking through life with the conviction of the Holy Spirit heavy upon their lives and daily medicating themselves just so they can get through another day.  If Satan wanted a perfect situation, he just got it – call conviction a disorder and come up with a bandage for it so we don’t have to see it or feel it.  This is where I truly believe we sit in America.  We have enough people willing to tell us that anxiety is just ‘part of life’ and ‘a normal medical condition’ and enough fear ourselves to trust and believe it. 

But I ask you, as a Christian, do you think God cannot or will not cause physical changes to a person in order to draw their attention to their sin and/or Himself?  Can He or would He not use physical changes we’ve named anxiety to shake us from our sin-filled lives?

-knittingprose

talkin bout a revolution…

I recently got my hands on a copy of Shane Claiborne’s book, Irresistible Revolution.  Shane is a Christ follower, originally from east Tennessee, living in the city of Philadelphia as a member of an intentional community called the Simple Way.   Okay, that was a lot of information for one sentence.

You may now be asking what an intentional community is.  From the Intentional Community wiki…

An “intentional community” is a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values. The people may live together on a piece of rural land, in a suburban home, or in an urban neighborhood, and they may share a single residence or live in a cluster of dwellings.

 

Think Christians living as the early church once did – supporting each other in a common life.  Taking on each others burdens, sharing in wealth as well as suffering.  Everything belonging to all, etc.

Now, intentional communities do not always mean Christian intentional communities.  There are many groups of people choosing to live this way.   The Simple Way is one such Christian community in Philadelphia.

Shane Claiborne is a founding member of the Simple Way and has since written a few books on the topic of being a Christ follower and lover.  Irresistible Revolution is the first one he wrote and the first I am reading.

It was a month or so ago that I was first introduced to these crazy new monasticsand their strange ways of pursuing a life lived for Christ.  Their commitment to showing Christ’s love to the world and taking care of His creation and church are very attractive.  I am drawn to their simple love for Jesus and the desire to share it.  I’ve often told my husband in discussions of politics that my views of what our government should look like could never exist because the church does not and will not take the responsibilities it was given by Christ.  (think widows, orphans, healthcare, homeless, etc.)  Instead of trying to change laws, we should be trying to change hearts.  So after all my hours of discussion of the utopian church (haha), here I come across people all over the world living in tiny communities putting the Bible and their beliefs into practice in the most real sense.  By golly, it’s encouraging!

Here I am, stuck in middle class America with debt wondering what it is I can do to live out Christ’s love the way people do at the Simple Way.  What would it look like in my city – my community, my neighborhood?  What am I doing to be a real working member of Christ’s church?

These are the questions I’m pondering as I read Irresistible Revolution.

knittingprose

talkin bout a revolution…

I recently got my hands on a copy of Shane Claiborne’s book, Irresistible Revolution.  Shane is a Christ follower, originally from east Tennessee, living in the city of Philadelphia as a member of an intentional community called the Simple Way.   Okay, that was a lot of information for one sentence.

You may now be asking what an intentional community is.  From the Intentional Community wiki…

An “intentional community” is a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values. The people may live together on a piece of rural land, in a suburban home, or in an urban neighborhood, and they may share a single residence or live in a cluster of dwellings.

 

Think Christians living as the early church once did – supporting each other in a common life.  Taking on each others burdens, sharing in wealth as well as suffering.  Everything belonging to all, etc.

Now, intentional communities do not always mean Christian intentional communities.  There are many groups of people choosing to live this way.   The Simple Way is one such Christian community in Philadelphia.

Shane Claiborne is a founding member of the Simple Way and has since written a few books on the topic of being a Christ follower and lover.  Irresistible Revolution is the first one he wrote and the first I am reading.

It was a month or so ago that I was first introduced to these crazy new monasticsand their strange ways of pursuing a life lived for Christ.  Their commitment to showing Christ’s love to the world and taking care of His creation and church are very attractive.  I am drawn to their simple love for Jesus and the desire to share it.  I’ve often told my husband in discussions of politics that my views of what our government should look like could never exist because the church does not and will not take the responsibilities it was given by Christ.  (think widows, orphans, healthcare, homeless, etc.)  Instead of trying to change laws, we should be trying to change hearts.  So after all my hours of discussion of the utopian church (haha), here I come across people all over the world living in tiny communities putting the Bible and their beliefs into practice in the most real sense.  By golly, it’s encouraging!

Here I am, stuck in middle class America with debt wondering what it is I can do to live out Christ’s love the way people do at the Simple Way.  What would it look like in my city – my community, my neighborhood?  What am I doing to be a real working member of Christ’s church?

These are the questions I’m pondering as I read Irresistible Revolution.

knittingprose

Herbs…

medicinal herbs This week I spent some time making herbal remedies and trying my hand at infusions.  First, I made an herbal healing salve.  Using comfrey, calendula, plantain and St. Johnswort I ended up with a wonderful salve scented with lavender.   It feels very nice on the skin and I’ve gotten into a habit of using it as a lip balm.  One thing is for sure, I’ll have healthy soft lips all winter!  = )

My batch of dried herbs made 4 tins and 2 nice size jars of salve.  This was so so quick and easy to make.  Next time I may make a batch of lip balm and will definitely cold infuse the oils.  I used the stove for fast results this week. 

Next I tried an herbal infusion of nettles.  I didn’t finish the whole jar but I drank most of it over the course of two days.  I mixed it with some pomegranate lemonade and the kids had a few sips.  I love all the nutrients you get from these wonderful infusions.  The best vitamin ‘pill’ you could take. 

 echinacea Soon I’m hoping to start an echinacea tincture.  I just need to get some vodka from the store.  This will take about six weeks to finish so it will be awhile before I have echinacea tincture on hand to dispense out for colds – mid December maybe? 

My herbs and flowers in pots are coming along.   I’ve got catnip, calendula, lemonbalm, chamomile, lavender, feverfew and flax all sitting in my window sills stealing as much sunlight as they can.  The lavender looks like its seen better days but there’s a big patch of it out in the yard, so I’m not too worried about it.  I think it’s okay.  I’m using what was left of my nettle infusion to water them a little.  Give em a boost.

elderberryMy mind has been set on elderberries here lately.  I missed harvest season as I know of nowhere to harvest around here.  I’ll be on the lookout all spring for the plants, though.  I’m considering ordering some dried berries from Mountain Rose.  They have very reasonable prices on the berries and I’d love to have some elderberry syrup.  We’ll see how finances hold up this week. 

 

**P.S.  Just as I was writing this post, my poor Mags came down with the flu.  It’s getting very likely the elderberries will be on the way soon.**