Wood Floors & Anxiety Attacks

Cover Photo- Wood Floors

I Need You

Where have you been the nights when I needed to see you?

Where have you been the nights when I needed someone there?

Someone to walk with me, talk with me, tell me everything’s gonna be alright . . .

So where’ve you been those nights? 

Well I’ve been walking down this long road trying to find you,

And every turn I take is the wrong way.

But every breath I make, and every step I take, is leading me closer to you.

Yeah, you’re leading me closer . . . 

So what should I do? Where should I go? Should I walk the open road?

‘Cause I’ve been walking down this long road trying to find you,

And I must have made the right turn somewhere along the way.

 ‘Cause I need you more than anything in the world. I need you more than any boy has every needed any girl.

I need you.

By Chad Sutter [lyrics incomplete]

 I experienced my first anxiety attack 11 years ago. My oldest sister, Christel, had just passed away and my dad was undergoing treatment for an incurable brain tumor. I was 6 months in working a mail and file clerk position for a company in Des Moines; back in the day when companies still had rooms brimming of musty paper files.

I spent hours in the file room every day, replacing files that had been removed 3 or more times in the same day. This was my first experience in an office environment and my coworkers joked that the repetitiousness was job security. At the time there were so many duties to fulfill and emotions to process regarding my family that I welcomed the soothing monotonous motions of filing. I attempted to think of nothing but the texture of the Manila file folders in my fingers, softened by the years of extraction and the oils from different hands. This endless task I formerly disdained became something I coveted. All of the soft old paper made for an incredible place to have a still mind.

Being so young, newly married, with an educational background in art, I couldn’t have been more ill qualified for the legal and medical arrangements for Dad and Christel. My parents were divorced, and my other sister lived out of town, so the arrangements fell on me from closing up my sister’s estate to helping Dad with his late night bathroom breaks. There was a lot at stake and this 21-year-old was not prepared.

My sister, Chandra, had arranged for Christel’s friend to take her two dogs, with the promise of taking good care of them and their prompt return if it didn’t work out. Christel’s new little dog was valuable, but compared to the absence of sleep that was unimportant to me. With everything going on, I was just grateful something had been taken off my plate. “Found nice home for dogs; check.”

Understandably, my mother insisted we sell the small dog to assist with funeral expenses since she was paying for half. It had only been a few days in the other woman’s possession, so I began calling the friend to see if I could get the dog back. She had avoided my inquiry for several days by saying the dog was at the vet or getting groomed. After a week she finally left me a voicemail at work, full of accusations and bad language, admitting she didn’t have the dog anymore; she had sold it.

And it started happening. Tightening in the chest, dizziness, shooting pain in my head, darkening vision, numb fingers, gasping for breath. . . and I buried my face into those musty dirty files and cried, allowing the files to absorb the sounds of my heartache. I stayed there until I could breathe normally again, washed my face, and went back to work.

I have had several episodes since that day, all triggered by overwhelming unmet expectations from others, followed by the accusing finger of Satan. I was a people-pleaser, you see. And when I couldn’t please the people, I was nothing less than a failure. At the time, I was an unsaved Christian and had no idea how to be a God-pleaser. And Satan loved it.

 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” -1 Peter 5:6-8, esv

People often take the roaring lion part out of context. Yes, the devil is that, but back up to the verse before that. What is he devouring you with? ANXIETY. And how do you conquer anxiety? Back up one more verse . . . by HUMBLING yourself under the mighty hand of God.

You may be unaware, but your PRIDE is the best tool Satan has to distance you from God. In my pride I wrongly believed that everything in that situation rested on me to repair or perform perfectly. I had to take care of Dad all night, take care of my little brother, work full time, be a good wife, get the groceries, and on and on. It’s not as if I was unnecessarily overloading my plate; those things had to be done.

As important as it seemed to honor her, Christel didn’t get the funeral she had romanticized. As much as my brother Chad needed his Dad, I’m just a sister. As much as Nate needed a devoted wife, I was never available for him. As much as my work needed a mail and file clerk, there were weeks I was sleep walking and putting files in the wrong places. As much as my Dad needed healing, I couldn’t cure him. As much as Mom needed help with funeral costs, I couldn’t get the dog back. As much as I needed to be ok; I was exhausted and just not ok. In every single way, my pride told me I was failing.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

There are times, even now, when people ask for too much or are counting on me in impossible ways, and I can feel the anxiety start to build. And then I think about the song lyrics from I Need You.

All those nights I needed Him, was crying out to Him in the desperation of my pride, was one more night closer to my salvation day. And on that day, He made clear to me that the only thing I needed to worry about was pleasing Him by loving Him with all of my heart, soul, and mind. And this great task doesn’t leave room for getting upset over little white puffy dogs, pleasing the chronically dissatisfied, or beating myself up over mistakes of my youth. And when I feel the anxiety rising, I stop and humble myself before God, and He reminds me that it’s all about Him; and I haven’t had an anxiety attack since.

“Resist [Satan], firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” -1 Peter 5:9-1

Those events, that birthed my pride-filled anxiety attacks, were the same events God used to bring my little brother, Chad, to a humbling salvation. He wrote the song I Need You. There are more verses and chorus that he wrote about a girl and not God; but my need for Jesus is “more than any boy has ever needed any girl”. Although my own salvation didn’t follow for another 8 years, I am amazed at God’s ongoing theme of bringing new life into a situation of death. Please listen to a different side of this story.

For anyone interested in owning I Need You and other songs, click HERE to buy Chad’s CD, or HERE to download individual songs from Amazon. And HERE, if you can’t get enough of Chad. 🙂

Finding Wood Floors

Except for the kitchen, the whole first floor was recovered in new carpet before the purchase of this house.

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It wasn’t the best quality carpet, but it was clean and felt good on my feet.20160101_100435

But while I was removing the baseboards in the dining room, I spotted a corner of pretty wood floor and didn’t hesitate two seconds before tearing it back several feet with my pupils dilated about an inch wide.

wood floors close up

So pretty!!! So after I finished up the dining room (without Nate’s consent I might add) by removing one thousand staples and carpet tacks from all the years of recarpeting, he was pleased to help me with the living room.

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Pleased might be too strong of word. He was willing anyway, and very excited to get the carpet out of there.

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And even though this happened before Christmas, we are still removing staples from the floor. But . . . it’s beautiful. I’m waiting for the coldest parts of winter to pass before we do the hallway and bedrooms. We are so grateful to have discovered something so amazing that was right under our feet.

wood floor portrait

I was tempted to kiss the floor in this photo, but that’s gross.

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4 thoughts on “Wood Floors & Anxiety Attacks

  1. Truly Awesome!!! And of course it hit me like a ton of prideful bricks 😉!!! Why do I fall for the same stupid tricks every time??

    Sent from my iPhone

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    1. Thanks, Jeanne. We have to work hard at putting Jesus at the front, don’t we? It’s too easy to forget, and too hard to be obedient to Christ when we allow others to influence our emotions and actions.

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  2. Thanks for sharing Candice! This hit so close to my heart as I am a “people pleaser” and need to constantly remind to stop and get back on track with God. I enjoy your writing.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. I think it’s something we all have to strive for every day. Thankfully, now my anxiety acts as a reminder that I’m people pleasing, so it doesn’t keep me down for long. 🙂 Romans 12:2

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