Recently, I was tired. After a busy morning, I usually need a bit of time in the afternoon to rest. No big deal, right? Except that I have this obnoxious Voice of Anxiety in my head that tells me I shouldn't rest until I've accomplished all that needs doing. Of course, this is a fantasy. I haven't had one day where I've finished everything that needs to be done. Not one.
Do you have that voice too? The one that makes you feel like you need to get it all done right now, right away? Do you ever feel so tired you could drop and yet you keep going because rest seems too indulgent?
What if, instead of running away from the Voice of Anxiety, you confront it? What if you planted your feet on the ground, turned around, and came face to face with that Voice? Would all its bellowing hold up under scrutiny? I wanted to find out; so I decided to interview Anxiety. Here's how it went:
Me: Are you comfortable? Can I get you anything?
Anxiety: No, I’m not comfortable! I’m pretty angry actually. You have no time to be talking to me and you sure as hell don’t have time to take a nap. You need to hurry up.
Me: Hurry up and what?
A: Get going!
M: On what?
A: Cleaning the house, writing those e-mails, doing the grocery shopping and listing all that stuff on Craig’s list. Plus the cat box needs changing and the kitchen cupboards need to be redone.
M: That’s a lot. Especially when I’ve been doing stuff since 8am this morning. Can I just put my feet up for a bit?
A: No you may not. You have no right to do something so frivolous.
M: I get tired sometimes. I wish I was capable of more, but I’m kinda tired.
A: Fine. Then I’ll just sit here and tell you about all the stuff you’re failing at until you are done with all this “tired” nonsense.
M: It doesn’t feel much like rest if you’re yammering in my ear the whole time.
A: That’s because rest is for people who get stuff done.
M: You’ve listed a lot. I can’t do it all at once. What should I do first?
A: All of it.
A: Stop pestering me with all your whining.
M: You’re the one who started this whole thing. I just wanted to close my eyes for 30 minutes or maybe read a magazine.
A: For which you should be punished.
M: You are doing a pretty good job of that already.
A: Oh I’m not punishing you. I’m just telling you the truth.
M: The truth? So I’m supposed to be able to do five things at once; each of which require my undivided attention, hours of time, and both hands? There’s nothing even slightly true about that. It’s impossible. It’s not even reasonable.
A: If I say it loud enough and with all the shame I can bring, you’ll listen. You always have before.
M: Yeah, well, maybe volume has nothing to do with reality and shame has nothing to do with me. I’m beloved by God. There is no shame in His love. And He likes it when I rest. He's the one who invited me to it in the first place.
A: You’ll never get it all done if you listen to Him.
M: When I listen to Him, I don’t need to.
M: Yeah, that’s what I thought. This interview is over. I’m off to take a nap.