Guilt and Anxiety: The Mystery to Smashing Burdens

April 25, 2016/April 29, 2016

Moving is ranked pretty HIGH on the stress charts - that's no mystery! We'd made the BIG decision and told the family, but with each stress-boulder we smashed, another would take its place. The mystery wasn't in our stresses, but rather in the joys that came through them.

Breaking our BIG news to my workmates was another boulder-sized burden lodged simultaneously on my back and in my stomach. It was tough. This wasn't just a place I worked, but it was a family. We prayed together, cried together, worshipped together, cleaned up poop together (preschool, remember?), and we laughed, a lot.

First, there was Graham, the minister of youth and children, my boss, and the reason we started attending our church in the first place. After Lisa, he was next in line.

Graham’s office is a dim, but cozy cave in the back corner of a line of offices. The walls are lined with bookshelves. The floor is often littered with VBS leftovers, depending on the time of year, or random props from games. Here and there, the office is dotted with family photos and homemade gifts from his children. His son, Patrick, is one of my son’s best friends.

I plopped down in the corner chair, already tearing up. The story spilled out of me, all of it. He listened, understood. We both cried (before all this, I wasn't an emotional kinda woman).

When I explained how God had shown us what to do, he said, “Wow, you should write that down.”

Working on it.

Though Graham has known about my writing hopes for years, that he mentioned it rang a bell in my head. Chronicling this journey had been on my mind. A lot. Not that I feel (or have ever felt) that I have something mind-blowing to say. But, God does. And if He’s sending us on this journey, it’ll be share-worthy. Graham’s off-the-cuff suggestion was another God-nudge that I needed to hear.

When everything was out there, Graham admitted to being relieved. Whenever someone asks to speak in his office, closed-door, worst case scenarios come to mind. He feared that my marriage was in trouble. From a minister’s perspective, I suppose that would be one of the worst things. We were both glad it wasn’t that.

And, on the same vein as being a guy who has to listen to difficult situations, I scolded him for being a minister who didn’t have tissues on hand in his office. Preachers should always have tissues! He laughed and dug through the papers on his desk. He pulled out a purse-sized thing of tissues, ironically given to him by one of my former co-workers, and laughed. They said Bless You on them.

Each time I tell the story, especially if I can tell the whole story, a chunk of anxiety drops off my back.

The biggest portion of that, though, was coming next. Telling the Ladies.

For many people, quitting a job is a fantasy. And, sure, there have been times over the years that I’ve fantasized about it myself, particularly when something difficult was going on and I had to deal with it. But, leaving the Learning Center isn’t like leaving a job. I pray with and for these women every day. We’ve handled crises together. We’ve dreamed together. Joy and laughter has been shared up and down the school hallways, and not just from the children. We know each others families. We’ve shared in our personal struggles. How do you bail on all that?

And that’s what it felt like. Bailing.

I brought them together on a Friday afternoon, said what I had to say - quickly - and I was met with words of support, love, and encouragement.

“Are you going to write?” Jeannie asked with a big smile.

“Yes, I’m going to write,” I answered in a relieved breath.

What I can’t write about, not yet, are the personal moments I shared with each one of these amazing women that day and in the days to come. I’m a wimp and cry too easily. But, let’s just say that though my world is changing, they’re permanently affixed to my heart.

And, they better come visit!

Breaking up is hard to do. But, smashing up the burden by sharing my news with people important to me was an incredible relief. And the joy I felt in their love and encouragement will carry me far - a mysterious bonus out of something painful.

"Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

Galatians 6:2 New King James Version (NKJV)