Monday, July 31, 2017

on anxiety, dear evan hansen, and being known

I took a job teaching third grade and thought it was my dream coming true, but my anxiety took over my life. I came home having cried and gotten sick at least once throughout the day, but I was determined that I wouldn't quit on this. I continued lying to myself. I said I was okay and that it was just a "hard year". I wasn't the only one saying this. Most of my colleagues and mentors were saying that "everybody has challenges their first year" or "you just have to be meaner to the kids". I began seeing a therapist, but I knew it was too late.

I quit my teaching job in the middle of the year to save myself. 

I was not okay. I was having panic attacks everyday and I was unhappy to the point of depression. When I quit, I immediately felt lifted of a huge burden, but I also felt deep shame. How could I be so selfish? How could I leave my kids like this?? What kind of terrible person quits their job like this?
Dear Evan Hansen is a musical about a teen boy with extreme anxiety. He can't speak to people without being nervous, he has trouble leaving his house, and he gets himself caught in a huge lie. He wants to be known. He begs for people to love him endlessly and he goes to unthinkable means to please people.

I particularly love the music in this work. Go look it up, it is amazing. Have a box of tissues with you, you'll thank me later. So much of it is hopeful in this place of deep despair. The characters share their hearts in every song. At the climax of the musical, Evan has to fess up to what he has done and he shares that he doesn't like who he is...

'Cause what if everyone saw?
What if everyone knew?Would they like what they saw?Or would they hate it too?
Being known is hard. What if people see the anxiety? What if people see the shame? What if people see me as a disappointment?
I saw myself as a disappointment for quite sometime, but I also saw myself as an imperfect human. I think Dear Evan Hansen and my anxiety come together through my faith in a knowing God.

Evan's Mom is a huge part of the musical. She isn't perfect, but she is a mom who wants the best for her son. She loves him deeply. She doesn't always love him perfectly, but she loves him unconditionally. Evan comes clean about his lies and she tells him one line.

"I already know you, and I love you."

When I saw the show, this line wrecked me. I have many people in my life who were telling me this throughout my rough year, but I was unwilling to listen. When I heard this line it reminded me of a God who is unwavering in Love.

My faith tells me that I will be imperfect, but that I will be LOVED. God knows that I am so many things, but again, I am LOVED. God knows every piece of my heart, and yet, I am LOVED.

I have anxiety, but God knows that and God works within it. God sees that I struggle with a deep shame, but God finds ways everyday to lift me up out of my shame. God understands that I am not everything I want to be, but God pushes me towards hope.
I am known and loved...deeply, deeply loved.

knowing and loving Lord,
for you, i am thankful

Sunday, January 17, 2016


My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

        All too often I am the quickest to speak and become angry and it's usually because I didn't listen. I am thankful that God calls us to listen and be mindful of our brothers and sisters. We were put on this Earth to love and if we can't listen to others how are we supposed to love them?

       God listens to God's people throughout the Bible and heard their cries. Maybe if I start listening I will understand more and forgive quicker. If I listen, maybe I will be able to love them more fully. As my week goes on I hope that I am able to listen and really hear what others have to say to me.