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Anxiety and Separation

Last week, I posted “Prioritizing and Honor,” a life lesson from the movie The Big Year about prioritizing my marriage and thereby displaying one of the highest forms of honor. (Pause for laughing at myself.) Sunday night I was definitely not displaying the highest form of honor. I learned a great lesson from it, and  I hope it will be of benefit to you–kind of like the prophet Nathan was for David.

As I’ve shared in the past, I’m not exactly going through my closest period with God. I’m used to peaks and valleys, and I’m thankful that God has all the answers we need this side of Heaven. Our church started a new series a few weeks ago called “The Mandate,” which is based on the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20. I’ve been a little challenged by this command to “make disciples” because I stopped doing door to door evangelism last summer and can really only say I’m obeying this command through teaching Sunday School–something I’m really struggling with as I consider doing it again next year. If I don’t, then I’m not making disciples, and yet the work sacrifice Sunday nights really drains me. I love the kids, the opportunity to show them why God matters, and the feeling that God has given me a gift in teaching them, so I doubt I’ll stop. But, it’s hard. Your prayers for God’s will in that decision are appreciated.

This Sunday night I was struggling because we finished dinner at 7:50 and I had to go to bed at 8:30 to be well-rested for another big day at work writing. (Pause to praise God that I can say that instead of big day at work answering phones.) But, even though I like my job, I’m still stressed about it. I am frustrated with my blessing of a job because while it allows me to write, I don’t like having people come in every other minute and want to know how my day is. If I had short term memory loss, it would be great, but I’m trying to work through thoughts and the interruption is hard. Okay, enough complaining.

My praise is that I get to work on a flash fiction contest for Shock Totem Magazine, editing the fourth draft of my novel (at 29%), writing a fun zombie novel (at 41%), and editing a podcast for Wednesday where I got to talk to the cast of Adventures in Scifi Publishing. Sunday night, I was anxious because including all those projects in the next few days would be a lot to do.

Another praise is that as I write this (Monday night), I was able to polish and submit my flash fiction piece by 10am, then spent the rest of the day drilling my brain with edits on my novel. I’m dealing with some heavy character and science issues and it’s hard to keep it all straight and make it shine, but God helped me make progress.

Okay, now that you have the context, here’s what happened Sunday night. When I let my anxiety overwhelm me, my wife’s countenance fell. When her countenance falls, I feel more anxiety, and thus begins a cycle of separation when what we really should be doing is reaching out to each other and pulling the other close. Of course, I didn’t realize this is what we were doing, and my anger festered.

My pastor said that when we notice we’re in a rut, we need to stare at the cross of Christ and all that His act of love entailed. After I decided to stop being mad, I asked God for forgiveness and help. (I was scared that the path I was on was the same that other guys have gone down that has caused hard hearts and divorce, and that’s my greatest fear.) I asked my wife to show me grace when I’m angry and depressed, because when she acts fearfully or angry herself, I hate myself even more and things only get worse. After asking my wife for that, I thought about God’s act of grace, and His offer of Christ to restore our relationship that my actions had soured. That was God’s answer to my seeking for answers at the cross.

I told my wife that, ideally, she should never have to reach out to me in my sin, but when my heart is hard, she can help us both by reaching out in love and grace and be Christ to me. Yes, the man is supposed to lead, but that doesn’t mean we’re perfect. Sometimes we need our wives to be pictures of Christ’s love, as they were on our wedding day when we beheld an illustration of our standing in Christ through their white dress. Here’s a prayer that I won’t forget this love when my anxiety threatens to blind me with fear that I’m alone in this battle. There is not a single problem not answered in God’s action on the cross, and I regret that I was so foolish to forget this in my trial. I’m thankful that I now see, and am rejoicing in victory.

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About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward writes SF/F/and Horror during his day job, and podcasts in the evening on Adventures in SciFi Publishing. His first short story publication is "Cornhusker: Demon Gene." His first non-trunked novel, Kaimerus, is described as “Firefly crashes on Avatar and wakes up 28 Days Later.” His dream is writing full-time where he can snowboard and play with Huskies. Currently, he lives in Des Moines and his wife lets him have a Husky wall calendar, so he’s “this” close.

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