Anxious

I am not, by nature, an anxious person. And by this I mean not that I never worry or over-consider things or get excited in that really exaggerated way; rather that I am not one to submit myself to undefined worry or excitement. If I'm jumpy and nervous or breathless and excitable, I always know why. 

I've been rather alarmed, then, by this inexplicable grip of anxiety around my throat and heart lately.

While I'm not an anxious person, I am admittedly melodramatic; but let me clear things up and be frank: the other day, I was pretty positive I was having a panic attack. I couldn't catch my breath and my chest felt tight like someone had tied the pipes between my lungs into a knot just to see if I could inhale through it. 

I will assure you, there is, to my knowledge, absolutely nothing in my life currently that should be causing me anxiety. I can see the horizon, and it looks like smooth sailing and happy sunflowers and rainbows and unicorns at the end. In fact, we have a lot of actual good stuff that we are looking forward to. 

So I'm either some sort of involuntary psychic, premonitions manifesting themselves as anxiety; or I'm actually allowing myself to become physically panicked over the happiness looming before us. [Oooooooo, ooooooooo! Scary happiness!] I guess if that were it, you could say--sometimes "anxious" can be a good feeling? It's maybe not the best word choice, but suppose, in some cases, it accurately describes a feeling. Like waiting for an upcoming vacation, for example, or starting a new job. But this is not that. 

Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about being "anxious for nothing." Because if you grew up churched, as I did, this is a verse that you know, not necessarily because your Sunday school teacher made you memorize it, but because it is quotable in just about any situation. I should point out, that when I say "situation," I basically mean "small crises;" and so maybe this verse has always had a gray cloud hanging over it for me. ("Hey! Here's some encouragement if you're worried about something bad!")

But last night, when I couldn't sleep (because, now, if a baby isn't keeping me up, this wretched worry is), I started thinking about how the verse isn't telling me to not be anxious about bad stuff; it's telling me to be anxious for nothing. Good or bad. This troubled me because I typically rather like excitement and anticipation and all of these really fun emotions that sort of walk the line of anxiousness. 

Then it hit me: If you're anxious, you're not present. 

Whether you're fearing the future or willing it to come faster, anxiety means that you are there instead of here. This is something that I don't want to be; thus, even if I really was just excited-anxious for the good that's coming, it's creating a sort of negative reaction in me by taking me away from where I want to be. I want to be here. Right now, right here, not missing anything. The good will still be good when it arrives and I can enjoy it then; to try to enjoy it now could be to deprive myself of the unexpected joys of the present moments. 

Just a good thing to realize on a Monday, I think.