And it was hard and it was frustrating. I realized that it is an emotional topic for me - much more than I thought it was.
In our Bible study group, we've been studying parenting through watching videos and talking about our thoughts and experiences afterwards. Last night's study centered around discipline, and the idea that discipline isn't strictly punishment, but also a way of setting our kids (and others) on the right path to benefit their future; to shape their values to be the values we hope for them to have as adults who will successfully function in society.
We focused on a passage from Hebrews 12 in our discussion, and in my newly learned understanding of discipline as preparing for the future, verses 11-13 really stood out to me.
11: No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12: Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13: "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed."I addressed the group and said that I have an experience that I can relate this passage to. I read the first verse and my voice was already shaking by the end of it. I wasn't going to give up though, so I went on, sharing that my discipline in my sudden affliction with life-numbing anxiety was awful, but through it, I was able to help my boy through his own intense struggle. And I was able to guide him through with a confident attitude of righteousness and peace and gentleness and understanding because I, myself, knew the path.
I said all this through tearless sobs as my brain and mouth stubbornly forged on to share this message and my heart screamed at me to stop talking. I know I sounded awful, but I just couldn't quit. I've learned not to quit. My second oldest son heard me from a nearby sitting room and came to rub my arm as I spoke (which made me tear up over his heart that bursts with compassion).
I pointed out (still sobbing sans tears) that as my boy struggled and fought his own way through the all-encompassing pain of anxiety that was worse than my own, my husband told me that he could not be patient and I had to deal with the boy...fix him.
I know I've said it before, but this reminder of the other meaning for discipline, and seeing these words right there in front of me...it gave a renewed purpose for the anxiety journey that I have traveled, and continue to travel. Even though I have NO IDEA why I suffer from panic attacks and no idea what my triggers are, I know that they exist for a reason. Reasons are revealed to me every single day. I know that my strength and my fight and my journey make a difference to people in my life. My husband and I can see our own son taking the strength I've demonstrated as an example and using it to help others through their anxiety journeys. This is a discipline that I am proud to teach.
I really struggled though the worst of my anxiety because I couldn't see God. My faith still is sometimes weak and shaky - even as recently as last month I was questioning the beliefs I've held for so long - but this study combined with these verses...they were a spotlight on my struggle, and the disclosure hit me a lot harder than I anticipated as I started to speak.
I wonder if this emotion that burst forth last night will be within me for always, or if it will ever just go away. I don't like to show emotion...I know it makes others uncomfortable, and that makes me uncomfortable. Hopefully this is just one more step of the journey, now taken and complete.