We have reached mid-October. Although well into the PSL season (which seemed to start forever ago), technically autumn is in its earliest stages. Outside my window, summer’s sunny skies have been absent for quite a spell but the leaves have barely begun to show their colors. Evenings are cool – hooray for sweater weather! – but days are still warm. And I’m totally okay with all of that. I love my sweaters in the evening but I am still trying to soak in all the sunshine I can because I know what lies right around the corner.
Winter. My complete nemesis. While I am definitely not a fan of snow, it is the super short days and the fleeting hours of sunlight that really make winter extra miserable for me. And each year I seem to struggle more and more as the winter drags on far too long into March and April. Just thinking about it makes me anxious. I’ve noticed that as well. I seem to deal with anxiety much more the older that I get. You would think experience would be my friend. Would make me better equipped and able to deal with the things that truly make my soul unwell. Like dark days – literal and figurative. But, in truth, extra years and life experience seem to simply remind me (or mock me) of what lies ahead.
Of course, I don’t know all that lies ahead. I might know that winter is coming. But I don’t know what this winter holds in store. I don’t even know what tomorrow holds. But anxiety is deceptive like that – allowing me the create possible scenarios and “what if” moments and then embrace them, and mentally “deal” with them, as if they are real. That said, anxiety is something of a new battle that I fight. And I am trying to be preemptive with it before this next season envelopes us.
Much of the battle is fought in my own head. So much. Anxiety goes to a whole new level through my “self-talk.” Oh, the things I say in my head. I need much more prayer talk than self-talk. I need praise to saturate my thoughts. I need to retrain my thoughts to naturally gravitate toward God and God’s word. To meditate on His character and His promises. To rehearse His faithfulness and place my confidence there rather than on my ability to manipulate and/or control whatever may or may not be in the future.
This post is in no way an easy fix for anxiety. It really is not as much about anxiety as simply my disdain for winter – which, sadly, has lately captured my thoughts. “It’s right around the corner,” I seem to remind myself nonstop. I love fall. I really do. But I am relinquishing my joy for today – for this season – while I focus on the next one. The madness of that was behind my thoughts today. Not only am I refusing to focus on tomorrow – but I am embracing today. Enjoy all that is beautiful, refreshing and soul-satisfying about autumn. I might even enjoy a pumpkin spice latte. Ok, maybe not. But you get the idea! Here’s to a beautiful day!