season as a stop gap in a time of crisis. It bought me time until
I could more holistically deal with this unwanted companion.
Even today, I have an anxiety “rescue medication” that I take
as needed. I gave myself permission to seek and explore
various leisure pursuits as I figured out what filled my soul. I
began to practice the discipline of paying attention to the
whispers of both body and soul as I move through life. It was
the beginning of a slow awakening.
I have noticed that within many of the Christian
contexts of my life, there is great reluctance, and even stigma,
associated with giving voice to authentic struggles and seeking
professional help. This seems particularly true when the topic
of mental health or difficulties with a child are involved. Do
we sometimes think God should be sufficient for absolutely
everything, and we are failures if we need this kind of help? Are
we afraid of what others will think or say about us if they find
out? Is it that we are admitting some kind of defeat or weakness
of character when we reach out for help? I am sure there are
myriad thoughts and reasons around this. Maybe the American
values of being self-made and self-sufficient are all tangled up
in it.
I think back to two conversations that I had during the
early years of my self-care awakening. The first was with a
minister friend who expressed something along the lines of
“Surely there are other people in this church who have
struggles with their children–why don’t we talk to each other
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