When the world threatens to fall apart.

It occurs to me that I have barely stopped to breathe in the past ten months. And now that I’ve paused to write, my whole essence heaves a sigh. They say that transitions, even happy ones, cause turmoil in our systems. We have to grieve when we move from one chapter to the next. Turning the pages can be traumatic.

Because sometimes, you’re catapulted like a rag doll. Other times, you have to place your hand on the doorknob of change and walk through, one baby step at a time. And I don’t know which one is more frightening. Its no big secret that life moves so much faster than we want it to.

My last semester of college, I juggled twenty-one hours worth of college classes that included an internship. In February, I got engaged. In April, I got hit with a fourteen hundred dollar bill on my student account and was afraid to tell my dad about it. I graduated in May and got married in June. At one point during the months since, I worked myself into a ridiculous state thinking I was pregnant, despite routinely taking my birth control pills. Because Craig works full time, I spent my days alone for the most part, in search of my own employment, and in late September, I finally heard back from one of my prospects. I got my first driver’s license at nearly twenty-three years old. And I now work as a case manager for the Division of Family and Children’s Services.

It has most certainly been a year of transitions. And looking back, I have been scared to death throughout the overwhelming majority of it.

There was a day at the tail end of summer that I told my friend Mat that I spent my days paralyzed by anxiety. I don’t think I had ever been so matter of fact about it as I was that day. We were in the middle of the woods, hiking down towards the river, and I could barely look up the entire time for fear I would step on a snake.

I’m not proud of my anxiety. It is the most gruesome limitation.

I can only describe it this way: no matter how many storms you’ve weathered, anxiety is constantly telling you that the next one will be different; the next storm will be the one to steal away your soul. No matter how many times that person has been sympathetic to your needs, loved you through successes and failures, the next one will be the one to strip away that faithfulness.The world, your world, is constantly threatening to fall apart.

Fear shrinks the heart.

Emily Freeman talks about how we tend to glorify people who appear to have it all together, and I think she’s right. I have spent the past ten months bracing myself at every turn, gripping my life and trying like hell to keep things together.

The past ten months have taught me that I don’t have to keep it together in my own strength.  They have reinforced the heart-knowledge that I do not have to strive.

Colossians says He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together. Romans says He is working all things together for my good. Psalms says He watches and protects me tirelessly, that He is my keeper. It assures me that when I am faithful to follow where He leads, that He will enlarge my heart.

Even when it seems like the world is threatening to fall apart. I am held together. 

Bob Goff says our actions should betray our uncertainty. And sometimes the most difficult action is simply choosing to fill our lungs with oxygen again.

  • Hi Erin, It’s been a while since I’ve had a post pop up from you in my WordPress reader, glad to see your post. I too struggle with anxiety and I suffered for many years from panic attacks. They have calmed down now, but I still worry a lot, mostly about my children and something terrible happening to them. I loved your Scripture passages at the end. Isn’t that the truth? We do not have to have it together, we are held together. I love that.

    • Erin Salmon

      It has been awhile, Rebekah. In the grind of everyday, words have just been put on the back burner for me. So sad to admit that. But I’m excited to start writing again. Thank you for your friendship and words of encouragement.

  • This is beautiful! I love how you culminated your anxieties and daily grind to the promises given by our Father. I love the craft of the three scriptures molding that God holds us together. Thank you for your blessed words. I needed them today.

    • Erin Salmon

      Yes! When I am weak, He is strong. Happy and humbled that you came to visit, sister.

  • Dropping in from Five Minute Friday and so very glad I did. I’ve been on a Keep Calm journey of my own as I sense the Holy Spirit inviting me to enter into the Father’s rest as He shows me gems in His word that I should cling to to calm my anxious heart. Your post was a much needed, very refreshing breath in this moment by moment voyage. Anxiety is real, I feel it everyday. Your bit about hiking and being worried about running into a snake made me think that we were twins for a moment there! That is typical me! Missing the beauty of the forest for fear of the possible dangers that lurk behind the trees. Very good post. Very well written. Praying for you as I pray for myself, dear sister.
    ~pamela t.

    • Erin Salmon

      You know what’s so funny, Pamela? I told my husband the other day that if one of us were to actually run into a snake, I feel like I could keep my cool and know what to do. I think I just began to focus all my energy on worrying about events that are beyond my control, and totally forgot the things that I know. I conquered a lot of fear this year. Eleanor Roosevelt said that we must do the thing we think we can’t do. Praying for your peace, Pamela. Thank you for visiting.

  • Well written! I love how you said, “Fear shrinks the heart.” That is a really neat visual image. It sounds like you have had a lot of really intense experiences in life. I would love to hear your opinion on my own thoughts about fear (http://horcruxesheroesandharrypotter.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/59/)…if you want…no pressure though.

    Thanks for sharing.

    ~Aspen

    • Erin Salmon

      It has been an intense year, for sure. Some parts were scary and uncomfortable, and then others were amazing. I feel like I’ve conquered a few of my fears this year. I will try to make it over to your blog soon. Thank you for visiting!

      • Oh, good. I hope the rest of your year continues to go well.

        ~Aspen

  • Darlene Debty Kimsey

    Faith in God and prayers from you loved ones (like me) will continue to see you through. I forget to breath sometimes too.

    • Erin Salmon

      Thank you, Darlene. So sweet of you to visit.