My New Friend

I have a new friend.

He follows me everywhere I go. I try to make him leave, but he always reappears at the door. Sometimes, he’s even in the shower with me reminding me that it’s been two days since I’ve washed my hair. He sleeps in the same bed as I do, infiltrating my dreams with vivid visions that make no sense, which can be very uncomfortable for my husband and I. He rides in the car beside me and points out every single car that slightly crosses into my line or decides to turn in front of me with no blinker. He stands with me while I cook dinner and feed the animals, and whispers negative thoughts in my ear. He’s right beside me when I’m helping with homework, looking for the right opportunity to make me feel annoyed with my child. I mean, I CANNOT, get him to leave.

He gets in the middle of my relationships and causes worry and fear to linger. Sometimes, he tells me I’m not good enough and I should have accomplished more during the day. He expects a certain level of perfection and keeps the wheels turning in my brain until that level of perfection is attained. He causes my body to sometimes shut down completely. Its frustrating when he makes my body tremor from head to toe, causes my limbs to go numb and weak, and removes my ability to speak. He causes fear to rush over my family members as they watch me lay in bed unable to function. Yet, there my friend ALWAYS is, waiting for me to rise every single morning so he can interrupt my daily routine.

Who is this friend, you ask? He has lots of “nicknames”. Some refer to him as “generalized anxiety disorder” or “panic attack”. Others refer to him as “conversion disorder” or “functional neurological disorder”. And, some can’t seem to give him a name because he’s so random!

But, his name really isn’t important to me. His identity, thoughts, and actions don’t define me. You see, I have a BEST friend, who is much more powerful than this new friend. My best friend is with me in everything I do, just like this new, annoying friend. Except, my best friend is different. He doesn’t cause worry and grief. He doesn’t cause my body to quit functioning properly. He doesn’t send negative thoughts and whispers into my mind. He can control my mind, just like my new friend, but He does it with peace and joy.

What’s my best friend’s name, you wonder?

He has lots of nicknames too. Let’s name just a few:

• Prince of Peace

• King of Kings

• Savior

• Lord

• The Beginning and the End

• Rock of Ages

• Jesus

• Christ

But, my favorite name for Him is FRIEND. I met Him when I was 12 and chose to have Him spend His days with me. I didn’t choose my new friend, but I chose, and still choose, Jesus.

His name matters to me because He determines my identity. He tells me I am chosen. He tells me I am worthy. He tells me I am enough. He tells me I don’t have to be perfect. He tells me I’m forgiven.

And, when my new friend is more than I can bear, and physically takes over my body’s well-being, Jesus goes to battle for me. I may spend a few days, or weeks at a time, resting, but I’m letting Jesus fight my battle because I know when I am weak, He is strong.

Do you have a best friend like my Jesus? If not, I’d love to chat with you about the abundant life He came to this Earth to give YOU and I. He’s waiting and willing to be your best friend too!

Being Still and Quiet

Let’s talk about silent struggles for a minute! 

In today’s society, we get so caught up in what looks •perfect•. We want our social media photos to be edited and “filtered” until they look worthy of being on a magazine cover. We want to be the mom who serves restaurant quality meals to our families. We want to create Pinterest worthy crafts and projects for our homes. We want to do all of these things (and more). But, the reality is, rather we openly admit it or not, we all struggle silently with different adversaries each and every day. This makes successfully completing the above list absolutely absurd.

Your silent adversary may be an autoimmune disease, a mental health struggle, diabetes, pain, grief, fatigue, or one of the many other things we tend to hide and conceal behind the smiles on our faces. But, what happens when your silent struggle appears and takes over your life?

This photo is during a flare of my own silent struggle, conversion disorder. This particular flare affected both sides of my body, paralyzing my face and producing an inability to smile.

A few months ago, I was diagnosed with conversion disorder. It’s a neurological disorder occurring when the functional part of our brain functions improperly. I’m learning that it affects everyone differently, and is triggered in a plethora of ways. Most days, it stays hidden and undetected in my life. But, some days, it appears suddenly and cannot be controlled.

When I am in the midst of a flare, my face becomes paralyzed, my speech becomes distorted, and my hands tingle. Sometimes, I struggle to move my arms and legs. My brain becomes foggy and I experience extreme fatigue. 

It’s so easy to get lost in a pit of self-pity, bitterness, and frustration. It’s so easy to lose myself in worry and anger because I haven’t received a successful treatment plan.

Yet, it’s in those moments I learn to be still. I learn to focus completely on Jesus and the will of the Father. I learn to listen intently for guidance and how to rest completely in Him.

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

We don’t have to know all of the answers to the situations we are facing. We don’t have to strive to reach unrealistic expectations set by this world. We don’t have to worry about tomorrow. We don’t have to hide our struggles. We simply have to BE STILL and trust that He is God.

Whatever your silent struggle is today friend, know that He has it all in His hands. Lay your worries aside. Take a break and trust Him. Lay aside the need to be perfect and learn to appreciate the still, small moments. Sometimes, it may mean serving frozen pizza to your family for dinner! And, guess what? It’s ok! I promise it won’t hurt them!

Head to your local Walmart and grab the Totino’s party pack for $4.88. You can thank me later. 🙂

We aren’t called to be perfect. We are just called to be present.