Remember those annoying toys you would settle for when you didn't have more than fifteen tickets to spend at Chuck E. Cheese?
You wouldn't dare exit the building without redeeming the few tickets you won while playing three mediocre rounds of skeeball.
I remember one of the choices during my childhood were those Chinese finger traps. They were just kinda odd and pointless, but intriguing nonetheless.
I settled for a few back in my early years. Insert one finger on one side and the other finger in the opposite side. When you pull from both ends, you cannot remove your fingers...no matter how hard you try.
Two weeks ago, I reached out to an amazing woman who knows all about what I've been going thru this year. You see, she lost almost everything because of an anxious spirit. She spent more years in psyc wards and ER's for hypochondria, among other things, than I've ever heard of anyone previously. Her husband gave up on her, she struggled with being a mother to her three children, she was a complete mess.
Now, she's on the other side and eager to help and educate us anxious ones on how to deal with anxiety, depression, and panic. I reached out to her in desperation. I was doing so much better recently, but then, my husband collapsed unconsciously for the second time in less than a year and it did me in again.
What a cruel joke, God, I thought to myself. The very thing that sent me into an anxiety-driven world nine months prior has happened once more. Thanks God. What are you doing?!?
She told me something I didn't quite understand the first three times I read it. She said, "your anxiety will leave the moment you give it permission to stay." What sort of crazy advice was that!? Then she said, "spending your life trying to make something stop, only makes it grow."
So I reread and reread those statements until I got it. And a few days later, in the quiet, God gave me the visual of the old Chuck E. Cheese toy I would settle for with my fifteen skeeball tickets. The more you pull, the tighter the grip. Like a vice, like that Chinese finger trap toy, anxiety will grip your heart and mind the more you try to pull away from it.
Just let it go...
...invite it to stay...
if it doesn't want to cooperate, then tell it "so what."
Those of us who suffer from anxiety and its cousins (depression and panic), we've already settled for the cheap fifteen ticket finger trap. We can't exchange it, we've already spent the tickets. But, we can choose to not fight against it. To not pull from both ends. To just allow it to be there and purpose to keep living. Who knows, maybe one day we will wake up and have misplaced the toy entirely. And we'll know then and there that it's never worth it to settle again.
Just save your tickets for something more.