Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: REFLECTION (10/10/19)
- TITLE: The Struggle
By Sandra Alsworth
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â€œThis is ridiculous. Itâ€™s not worth the stress.â€ She said to her reflection. She needed to call the pastor and tell him to find someone else.
When she found her phone, she noticed a series of missed texts from her friend, Penny. The last one said, â€œIâ€™m on my way over.â€
When Penny arrived, her first words were â€œWhatâ€™s up? You look horrible.â€
Bethany sighed and replied, â€œPastor Johnson asked me to speak at the Ladies Meeting this month. At first I was excited. I feel like God wants me to teach, but Iâ€™m terrified of public speaking. I want to help, but look at me. Iâ€™m such a mess. I actually had a panic attack this morning just trying to plan it.
Iâ€™m going to tell Pastor Iâ€™m not doing it. If God wanted me to be a teacher, He would have made it less stressful, right? Besides, what would I talk about? My great parenting and housekeeping skills?â€ She glanced over at the Cheerio mess.
â€œIâ€™ll put on some tea, and letâ€™s talk,â€ said Penny. â€œDo you still have some of that Moroccan mint? Thatâ€™s my favorite. You probably want chai, as usual.â€
A few minutes later, Penny poured the steaming water from the silver kettle over the tea bags in the cups. As Bethany blew on her tea to cool it down, Penny got right to the subject. â€œDonâ€™t ever, ever allow your anxieties to stop you from doing what you want to do! If you lost a foot, would you stay in bed forever? No! You would get crutches, a wheelchair or even a peg leg and get up and go do what needed to be done. Yes, it would be slower and harder. Yes, there would be pain and struggling, but donâ€™t give in and let anxiety win!
â€œA legless guy has to learn how to go up and down stairs on crutches. You have to learn how to handle a panic attack.
â€œThe legless guy has to exercise to strengthen his arms. You have to practice deep breathing and positive self-talk to get you through that next situation.
â€œNo, itâ€™s not fair that you have to struggle to do things others find easy. But life isnâ€™t fair. Yes, it can be excruciatingly hard, but you can do it!â€
Bethany was silent as she sipped her tea, and Penny continued, â€œHave you seen that Josh Sundquist guy on youtube? He lost his leg to bone cancer as a child. Now he exercises and does body building. With his crutches he can climb stairs faster than you or I can. He made this full-body Tigger costume, you know, Winnie the Poohâ€™s friend. His good leg is in Tiggerâ€™s tail. Tiggerâ€™s legs are stuffed and reach down to about Joshâ€™s knees. Josh then jumps all over the trampoline, a giant Tigger, bouncing on his tail. Itâ€™s amazing to watch.
â€œYou said you donâ€™t know what to talk about. Talk about what you know.â€
â€œWhat do I know?â€ asked Bethany.
â€œYou know anxiety. Share your struggle. Be transparent. Youâ€™d be surprised how many people will relate and want to hear about that subject. Itâ€™s OK to admit you are a work in progress and you donâ€™t have all the solutions. Just tell them a few things that help you cope. Deep breathing. Positive self talk. Prayer. Memorizing Bible verses on peace. Tea with friends,â€ she said as she lifted her cup. They both smiled.
Penny continued, â€œRemember those jokes you told me last week? You said it actually helped your anxiety to make fun of it. Try that.â€
Bethany replied, â€œYou mean like, â€˜Anxiety is a lot like a toddler â€“ it never leaves you alone, tells you youâ€™re wrong about everything, and wakes you up at 2 AM and wonâ€™t let you go back to sleep.â€™ And the other one, â€˜Iâ€™m a social vegan. I avoid MEET.â€™â€
They both laughed, and Penny said, â€œYes, just like those.â€
Bethany glanced over at the tea kettle. The reflection showed herself and her friend, sipping tea, relaxed and laughing.
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