Anxiety Wars Episode II: Attack of the Nerves

Let’s start with a simple fact that our culture is desperately afraid of.  Ready? Sometimes, life makes you uncomfortable.  It’s okay to pause here and collect yourself for a few seconds.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Alright, though, in all seriousness uncomfortable and nerve-wracking situations are just a part of life and sooner or later, we all go through them.  Take me, for example.  My band Spinning Jenny just played our first show last night in three months.  On top of that, I’ve been battling a cold and my voice wasn’t at its strongest.  Nervous much? I was shaking in my boots.  I must have gone through our songs in my head a million times over.  I – well, let’s just look at a GIF for an example.

Not too pretty, right? RIP chubby Josh Peck.

No matter if your nerves come from a band, sports, your job, social pressure, school, or whatever’s going on in your life, they are going to come.  Now before you start googling “how to suppress nerves” wait a second! Maybe, just maybe, nerves can be healthy.  How? Let’s take a look.

I like to think of my pre-show nerves as my brain looking out for me.  Granted, it’s in a very uncomfortable way (and it’s tough on my poor fingernails) but the thing about nerves is that they keep you sharp.  I was nervous before the show, so I made sure I knew our songs inside and out.  I was nervous about changing settings on my guitar, so those nerves made sure I didn’t forget what I had to do on stage.  As a result, we had an awesome show! Now I’m not saying “Oh, let your nerves run wild! Terror and anxiety builds character!” I am saying, however, that a little nervousness can be turned into something positive and go a long way.  I would much rather be a little nervous and a little more aware of what I’m doing than just waltz on stage without checking over what I need to do.  Everyone is different, and I know that I tend to be a little more anxious than others, but the truth is that no matter your personality you will have to deal with nerves.  And though you can’t do much to control them, you don’t have to let them control you.  Let them make you sharper, let them make you put more work into what you need to do, let them keep you humble.  And just remember, at the heart of everything, you know you got this.  And no amount of nerves can change that.

 

– God bless,

Julia

On Lent

Lent is nearly upon us! I know what you’re thinking because I used to think the same way.  “Ugh, Lent is so dreary and now I have to give something up that I like.  Boo.”

Maybe we forget that Lent is not about moping around.  Lent is not just about making sure that we make our obligatory thanks and sacrifice to Jesus for what He did for us.  Lent is our reminder of how truly, deeply, passionately, and eternally we are loved.  Let’s take a look.

Do you remember a time when someone did something really nice for you? It could have been your mom, sibling, friend, anyone.  Maybe you appreciated it even more because you felt as if you didn’t deserve what they did for you.  Made you feel really good, didn’t it? And now when you think about what the person did for you it makes you smile.  It inspires you to be a little kinder to someone in turn.  You are grateful to have that person in your life! So what does this have to do with Lent? Well, it’s the same with Jesus.  No one will ever make the most perfect sacrifice for you in your entire life.  And guess what? He would do it all over again even if you were the only person on the planet.  Now we come to my second point.  I said that when you think of that nice thing someone did for you, it lights you up.  Receiving that unconditional love made you feel really, really good.  So I wonder why some people, including myself, seem to neglect that joy that we should feel when we think of Jesus’ sacrifice.  Of course, we need to be respectfully solemn about something so serious as our Lord’s passion and death.  Ignoring that aspect, ignoring the Cross, is a terribly wrong thing to do.  However, we need to join the sad part of Lent to our joyful gratefulness for what Jesus did for us.  To say “us” though, isn’t really proper.  As the ultimate Common Good of the Universe, Jesus made his sacrifice for everyone and each one.  In other words, for you.  Looking at the Cross shouldn’t fill us with sadness.  It should be a reminder of Jesus’ unfathomable love! And yes, even though you may be thinking “I barely talk with Jesus,” or “I haven’t been to Church in forever.  I don’t count,” I’m going to politely ask you to shut up.  Because you count more than you could ever know and Jesus is insanely, insanely in love with you.  Lent is the perfect opportunity to rekindle or even begin your relationship with God.  And if you’re feeling unworthy or wondering if you’re doing the right thing, look at the Cross.  Our Lord’s burden is the ultimate reminder of His love.  So take up your personal cross and follow Jesus on his road to Calvary.  As you follow him through him the darkness, He will lead you to the light of Easter.  And be joyful! Lent is for us.  Lent if for you.

God bless and have a wonderful Lent,

– Julia