Okay, this is a little raw and honest. Since I got back from vacation, I’ve been struggling with anxiety.
It’s been strange. Since I’ve been doing Children’s Ministry full time I’d usually have one of “those days” every year or two. It was when t felt like the sky was falling and I couldn’t breath. My solution was to usually close my office door, turn out the lights and cry for a few minutes. Then I’d get a Lemon Berry Slush and things would be better. This was a pattern, it would happen every year or two and when it would happen, I knew what to do.
Until this year.
On my way home from Canada, I started to get those feelings of anxiety. My first day back was pretty bad. I just felt like I was walking through mud. The next day didn’t get any better. All kinds of thoughts would jump into my head. Thoughts of self-doubt and worry. The next day was a staff meeting day and I shared what I was going through with several staff members and that helped a lot. I think that some of the anxiety is related to my not practicing the discipline of solitude. It’s something that Gateway really values and encourages every staff member to take a solitude day every month (which I haven’t yet). So, I felt much better.
But then for the next two weeks, I’ve still didn’t feel like the anxiety was gone. It was like it was in the room with me, I wasn’t overwhelmed or depressed, just a little anxious. If you know me, this is totally not like me at all. Even on Monday I had a long talk with my wife about how I had been feeling. I think she really needed some encouragement from me, but ended up being a source of encouragement for me. (Thanks sweetie) Then something curious happened.
On Tuesday night I had a meeting at my house with some CM people. For about 45 minutes we talked vision. Not policies, tactics or plans… just vision. It lit me up. Sara was there and she commented later that she saw me more energized than I had been in a long time. I know this was only two days ago, but anxiety hasn’t shown it’s ugly head since that night. I’m re-energized and focused.
So, this is still new to me. I’ve never struggled with depression or anxiety before. However, it seemed like a shot in the arm of vision really got me going. The self-doubt is gone, I see what is before me and I know I’ve got the goods to get it done. So, I don’t know if anyone else has ever experienced this or has a similar situation, but that’s jus what I’ve been living these past few weeks.
Oh, and in the midst of all of this, Carlos posted this blog post that was encouraging to see.
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Kenny, thanks for ‘ stickin it out there. I go through these feelings often – inexplicable and unreasonable tiredness, moodiness and lack of motivation. You know that it my line of work there are a ton of highs and lows – I imagine it’s the same for you. I used to think it was medical but I’ve learned that it is has everything to do with vision and perspective.
When I lose either or both, I slump. For me, the best cure is to go out deep into the village and interact with CPs there or directly with the kids. 2 days of that and I’m cured. Too many days of office work and I’m slumped. I try to do 1 village trip a month now (I’m due!).
Stifled vision has definitely led to increased anxiety and depression this year. At my wife’s prodding, I’m seeing a doctor tomorrow. I’ve told my pastor about my feelings of isolation (even among staff, a problem I never had in other churches) and my scoring of 20 out of 100 on a strength engagement survey, but he didn’t have anything to say about it except “welcome to the club.”
where there is no vision, the people perish.
vision creates a plumb line to keep us on the right track. it works wonders for keeping us focused on what matters most. we are easily weighed down by others’ expectations of us. vision helps us distinguish which expectation will propel us forward and which one will one drag us down.
i understand where you’ve been and where you are right now. praying for His Hand to continue to direct and lead you.
Thanks for your openness. I’ve found that I get discouraged/anxious when I have too many tasks that aren’t within my gifted area. They may be necessary, and valuable, but they sure wear me out. One of the best cures has been to spend time doing what God has given me a passion to do–activites that involve creativity, vision casting, or just dreaming. It sounds like visioneering is something that gets you excited. One more thing that you can add to your list of remedies for anxiety.