anxiety, perfection, and Love

I woke up early Sunday morning, really anxious.

I knew what I was anxious about:  speaking at the women's retreat in Nicaragua at the end of April.  

During the night, my brain had gone into default mode, considering about all the "what if's" and imagining scenarios in which my failure in some unspecified area might result in the total destruction of the retreat experience for the 83 participants and the 2 friends who surely would live to regret the fact that I conned them into going with me on this gig.

That's 85 people, with their retreat weekend totally ruined because of me.  

My brain needed the rest of my body to deal with Impending Doom, so it woke me up.  And there I was, shot full of adrenaline at 5 in the morning.  (Who needs coffee when you've got an adrenal system like mine?)

I lay in the dark, listening to all the anxious thoughts, and remembering what my friend Anna posted on Facebook the other day:

"I will let it pass through me and only I will remain." 

So I said to my brain, we're going to let the anxiety pass through.

Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.

And after the whirlwind, there was a still small voice:

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, who mind is stayed on thee:  because he trusteth in thee."  Isaiah 26:3

"There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love."  I John 4:18

Then I went back to sleep for while.

Before church, I did a journal-doodle about my anxiety.  I took what was in my brain and put it on paper.

I had thought through this whole thing in my head a couple of hours before I ever put it on paper, but as I was doodling I saw a really important word in both those verses:


(This is why we journal, peeps:  we see different stuff when our actual eyeballs get involved.  Don't ask me to understand why.  The brain is a mystery, but I'm telling you.  It happens all the time.  Try it!)

I have been locked in an epic battle with perfectionism for most of my life.  My fears about this retreat are about my own need to be perfect so I won't wreck everybody's life.  

Perfectionism like this is, as we know, a bunch of hooey.  

I mean, seriously, do I really have that much power?  Do I really even matter that much?  


I am not the center of the universe.  

My kind of perfectionism is just not rational.

But there's a good kind of perfect, a kind of perfect that's real and true, and well, PERFECT. 

Perfect peace, perfect Love.

And perfect Love doesn't get all crazy with me when my anxiety rises up and tries to strangle perfect peace.


Perfect Love just keeps saying,  "Trust the Love, baby girl.  Trust the Love."

Also:  journal-doodle.  

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