It was 2am the morning of Grayson’s staff picnic and I was wide awake.
Everyone else had drifted off to sleep hours before, but my mind was wandering and I was tossing and turning.
Suddenly, I began to question my decision to make deviled eggs for the picnic, worried about what I would wear, and thought of every worst case scenario of two year old temper tantrums that could possibly happen in front of everyone.
But it wasn’t that simple. I had crossed the line from little worries to completely letting my mind and heart go on a bunny trail lit should have never followed. My mind was racing. Let me just give you a little glimpse of the chaos:
I bet all the women there are the kind of women that don’t even look like they’ve ever been pregnant right after they have babies.
I shouldn’t make deviled eggs… I don’t want to smell like boiled eggs.
It’s supposed to be so hot tomorrow… I’m going to be a sweaty, frizzy mess. I bet all the women there are the kind of women that don’t sweat and have perfect, naturally silky hair.
I bet all the other kids there will be so well behaved. Landon will probably pitch a fit when we try and get him to come sit down to eat, or say “ew” when he tries someone’s food and they’ll hear him, or yell “NO” in front of everyone and make me look like I’ve never taught him anything.
I don’t like the way any of my clothes fit. Am I ever going to lose this baby weight? Is this even baby weight?
What in the world am I going to talk to these people about? I bet they all spent their entire summer in Bora Bora and have never tasted fried liver mush.
What if I get a hair in my deviled eggs?
Will these people even like deviled eggs? What if no one eats any?
What if I spill my drink? Then I’ll be the clumsy, frizzy, awkward girl who smelled like boiled eggs and should have had a lid on her cup.
It seems so ridiculous now, in retrospect and after typing it all out, but let me just tell you the honest truth – at 2am, it didn’t seem ridiculous at all. I was gripped by anxiety, and it didn’t matter that I knew in the back of my mind that I was letting the Devil run away with my imagination, all that mattered was silly fears of a mischievous toddler and smelling like boiled eggs. All my insecurities came to the surface and the Enemy magnified every fear.
I was so worried about timing the babies’ naps just right so Landon would be well rested and in a good mood and timing Harper’s nursing schedule just right so I could pump and have a bottle to take with me in case she got hungry. I wanted to take a shower and look my best and give both babies a bath so they smelled good and dress them in cute outfits. I wanted the deviled eggs to be the prettiest deviled eggs anyone had ever seen and be the best deviled eggs anyone had ever tasted and put them on my prettiest platter. I wanted Grayson to be proud of me and for conversation to come easy and to just hit it off with a few of the other women there so I would know I had a place there and not have to worry about feeling like I don’t fit.
I finally fell asleep, and spent the entire day running around like a chicken with my head cut off. It was a miracle, but I got us there on time and we were all looking our best and I have to admit, my deviled eggs were pretty. Grayson introduced me to a lot of people, Landon said his funny little, “HAAAY” to everyone, and my deviled eggs were gone in about five seconds flat. I wished I had made more.
I sat at a picnic table and found plenty to talk about with several sweet ladies, one who nursed her baby discreetly right there at the staff picnic (I was so excited, like yes! these are my people!). There were a few with toddler age children who played with Landon, and several babies close to Harper’s age, so we all had so much in common. I was a hot, sweaty, frizzy mess, but so was most everybody else ( I told them I think they should have their next staff picnic in December instead of August).
As I drove home with two exhausted sleeping babies in the backseat, I realized how anxiety had almost stolen a sweet memory from us. I literally almost backed out.
Sorry, Landon isn’t feeling good, I don’t think we can make it this time.
It’s really just too hot for the baby, I think we’ll just stay home.
I had already thought of every possible excuse, and if I didn’t want to support Grayson so much and try and find our place in the community there, I may have very well used one of them.
Anxiety is a thief. It wants to steal your memories, your confidence, your sleep. It comes straight from the Enemy, and we know that he comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). I wonder how differently this whole thing would have gone if I had nipped the thoughts that kept me up all night in the bud? What if I had preached the Gospel to myself and prayed through my anxious thoughts instead of wringing my hands and stressing myself out? What if I had a mindset of grace, not perfection?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I share this very vulnerable story with ya’ll with hopes that you will be encouraged and that if you struggle with this kind of anxiety, you’ll know you aren’t alone. When our mind is at war, we have to lean into the One who we already know is Victorious! We have to permeate our minds and hearts with His Word and then, just like it says in Philippians, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.”
I will say that I am truly grateful that anxiety is not something I battle on a regular basis. I’ve noticed that since having babies, I’ve struggled with it more and it’s made me so much more understanding of people who deal with it on a day to day basis. I realize that this story may seem like “nothing” to those who do struggle with severe anxiety and I am in no way trying to pretend that I understand what that’s like, belittle the issue, or insinuate that I have any kind of remedy. I’m only sharing my experience with hopes that Jesus somehow uses these words He’s impressed on my heart in a way that blesses even just one reader.