My husband and I stood staring at the tile that was newly caulked to our soon to be shower. "It's not straight. It looks like the leaning tower of Pisa," I commented. "It's going to bother me forever!" I have the weird ability to hang pictures without the use of a level and it being aligned . My husband stood next to me staring at it. I grabbed a level (left by the contractors, I'm not that anal that I carry a level with me..as I mentioned I don't even need it) and handed it to him. Sure enough, the telltale bubble in the fluorescent green tube was not in the middle. Ok, not all of it. Three quarters of it was in the bubble and the rest gravitated toward the right. I felt my anxiety start to rise.
Let me insert here that I learned earlier in the day of a close family member in the hospital with chest pain. I went into protective mode and became numb. I absorbed the news as if I was back working in the ER. (Oh yeah, I'm an RN). I asked all the right questions to glean a prognosis and continued to just "go with it" until the askew tiles set me off.
Praise God I didn't go into full panic attack mode but I could feel myself headed there. My brain does this thing called catastrophic thinking where it takes the worst case scenario of a situation and carries it out from start to finish. I have been doing this for years, before my diagnosis of OCD. I imagined my loved one coding with all the medical staff rushing to her bed in an unsuccessful attempt to revive her. I went next to the receiving "the" phone call and imagined carrying out funeral arrangements and what life would be like without her. I imagined walking into her house and her not being there.
Catastrophic thinking sucks. It's different than the intrusive thoughts of OCD. It's not the same images, words, or thoughts repeating themselves over and over again. It's more like witnessing a car crash and rubbernecking to see it as you slowly drive by. You can't take your eyes away from it, but it's as dangerous as looking directly into the sun light and it blinding you. When left to it's own volition, it prompts your brain to believe in this false reality and brings emotions out associated with the rumination.
So, as my brain started to go down that path, I pictured a big red stop sign in my mind and then gave her to God. I can't do anything about it. I have no control. (Though I wish I did). I slowed my breathing, played my "sound machine" and went to sleep. I praise God that His Holy Spirit has been working in me and that progress is being made in my thought life.
My intent wasn't to share the above. I wanted to compare the leaning tower of tiles to my spiritual life and how a relationship with God demands walking a straight line that we cannot walk. We stumble along this path of life like a drunken sailor (ok I really wanted to use the term "beer goggles" here but then I thought that might reveal a bit of my previous sin) unable to choose the best for ourselves. We cannot please Him with our own efforts. Being "good" doesn't cut it.
But you know who does? Jesus. My Jesus has allowed me to know my Heavenly Father and I am accepted despite my stumbling of sin. I sit in my chair at this moment in total awe and wonder of my Risen Savior. His bloodshed for me has covered it all.
We hear that in church so often, but fail to grasp the enormity of it. We sing "Amazing Grace" but don't ponder how amazing it is. We take our salvation for granted. We can't even ask for it. He has to draw us to ourselves before our blindness can be taken away.
Recently a friend said to me "He can scrape all the gunk out that is inside of us and turn it into something beautiful." Amen sister. Gratitude fills my heart as I am healing inwardly from a severe postpartum mood disorder and it is beginning to reveal a beauty I didn't know existed.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18