Anxiety, travel, and choosing love.
During the summer of 2016, I went to southern Utah with the Anderson family. I have the view from Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park in my living room, and I am so grateful that I got to see that view with people I love.
But when I remember that trip overall, I remember how anxious I was during that time and period of my life. I remember the trip being hard with some wonderful experiences.
The most wonderful experience for me wasn’t actually the top of Angel’s Landing even though the view really is amazing. The Narrows were the highlight of the entire trip to me, because I was able to forget my anxiety and be in awe the entire time I was there.
If you haven’t been to Zion National Park, it is hard to explain the beauty there. The whole park feels like it exists on another planet. I did not know green trees could exist thousands of feet in the air on orange rock until I was there. The streams, lakes, canyons, and formations are grand and great while still having hints of the ordinary world that we know.
The Narrows got it’s name because the trail is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon. Imagine tall and narrow canyons on either side of you with a glorious river in the middle. I loved every second of being there. I felt the Lord’s nearness without fear and joy in being able to experience such beauty with people I love. It was a rare and special experience. I don’t know if I have ever been in awe of God’s beauty in creation more than I was that day.
But I think it was also so memorable because of the lack of anxiety and fear. Because in the moments of that hike, the peace and joy in my heart left little room for the anxiety I am so accustomed to.
I listened to the song “Pluto” by Sleeping at Last today. In the song, Ryan O’Neal sings, “I’ve been worried all my life.” The older I’ve gotten, the more that feels true to me. There are times and seasons where the anxiety is more pronounced, but it is a theme throughout my entire life. I am anxious of making mistakes, of not being good enough, and ultimately, of being bad.
And trips with people I am not totally comfortable with increase that anxiety. Larger group trips, in general, stress me out, because I fear my narcolepsy diagnosis will not be considered in the group plans and thoughts. I fear I will be outnumbered and lose all control. I fear that the people will think I am difficult and bad.
I so long for unity and peace. I so long for deep connection and enjoying good times with people I love. And I love the Anderson family, but extended trips with them still bring me fear.
I am leaving for Nashville with the Anderson gang soon. I am hopeful but equally nervous. I chose to go because I love them. When Jon asked, I felt hesitant, but I knew that feeling was based on fear and not love.
I am praying for faith to believe that I am enough in Christ. And that Christ is enough for me. He promises to lead me beside still waters like he did during the Narrows hike. He promises to never leave or forsake me. He left me with his Spirit and his peace.