Now that the holiday season is over for oh, the next 300 days or so, this gray fog of dullness has started to settle in the world around us. It could be the idea of losing those 15 pounds you gained over the break, or the mere thought of heading back to work and school, but either way it seems the fog is unavoidable. For me, the fog came in the form of being miserable in my own circumstances. I felt like I had held it together pretty well for most of the break, being positive and enjoying some actual quality time with friends and family. But as I drove up to College Station for CARPOOL training a few days before school started, my chest tightened up as if someone had stuck me in a 19th century corset, and tied the strings beyond their capacity. Memories, thoughts, emotions flooded me like a tidal wave from this turbulent last semester. In September/October, I nearly lost my best friend Brianna to a rampant infection, and the world around me crumbled with my depression and heartache over the idea of life without her. Meanwhile, my friendship circles drastically changed, my vision for life suddenly got cloudy, and honestly, I nearly lost sight of myself. My faith in Christ was the single string that kept me grounded- every other string had snapped, split, or dissolved right before my eyes. So there I was, back in College Station, paralyzed with fear over the upcoming spring semester, and there was nothing I could do but face the fear head on. I sobbed the entire drive home, chest still tight with fear, and heart sickened with sorrow over everything that had happened. Yet in typical Britta fashion, I tried pulling it together for my parents when I got home that night because there's nothing I hate more than crying in front of people. There was no hiding it though- my eyes turn bright green when I cry, and I stop talking entirely. Not a peep. Nothing. It's not that I don't want to talk, it's that I physically can't get the words out without crying, so I just stay quiet. But it was in that pure moment of vulnerability that I finally let my mama in to teach me one of the most important lessons I've yet to learn in my life:
Happiness should not stem from your circumstances, but rather from your attitude.
Personally, that sounds kind of "newage-hippyfreelove-listentomeimsowise", but it makes sense. I can't keep basing my happiness on what's going on in my life. I have to make the conscious effort every day to choose joy by choosing how I'm going to let it affect me. Let's be real here though- I have about as thick of skin as a caterpillar; my feelings are hurt easily, I take many things personally, and I have this awful way of overanalyzing things to make them worse off than they actually are. It's hard for me to let people truly get to know me. But I trust and know that the Lord made me this way for a reason, because without these ever-present struggles, I would not rely on Him.
So here's the deal. I wear this basic rubber band on my wrist, and every time I worry, I pop the band. I'm not talking some dinky little "pop", but more like a SNAP. Yeah, it's loud, and yeah, people look at you, but big deal, not their problem. This is my reminder to myself that fear and worrying produces nothing but pain. In that split second after snapping the band, I thank God for being a fountain of joy, and humbly ask to mold my mind around Him, and everything He encompasses- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. You should try it too, then let me know so we can be band buddies. That's right I said it. I'm actually kind of serious though.
I'm going to try blogging more throughout the process of overcoming fear, so I pray you'll follow me every step of the way. Go getchoo some rubber bands now.
“I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”