And just like that, spring is on hold.
I woke up this morning to a gentle flurry of snowflakes falling on the earth. I don’t know when the snowfall began, but I can tell that it has worked quickly to blanket my backyard in a thin layer of white. And while the springtime sun is gone for the moment, when it returns, I know it will work just as quickly to clean up the mess. This is April in the northern prairies of western Canada.
My anxiety can be a little bit like this, at times. It comes on quickly, like a blanket of snow covering everything beneath it. Suddenly, all of the color is gone, and all I can see is white—the drab and colorless parade of anxiety symptoms descending on me like snow upon the earth.
When it snows in April, sometimes the snow stays on the ground for only a few hours. Other times it lasts days, or even weeks, depending on the weather. And so it is with my anxiety—it stays with me, suppressing the color in my life, just as long as the environment is right.
There is a central difference to these parallels, however, that I am beginning to recognize in my life. While I have absolutely no control over the weather and cannot influence the sun to come out and melt the snow from my backyard, I am learning that I actually do have some control over the sun in my own life. To some degree, I get to choose when it comes out and shines to melt away the pallid covering of snow and reveal the bright and vibrant colors of life beneath.
I am learning that I can “turn on” the sun by choosing gratitude. Gratitude, as it turns out, is one of the most powerful tools I have in my toolbox for fighting anxiety. With each thankful moment, I become more and more at peace with myself and the world around me. When I focus on being positive, rather than on stress and worry, the snow starts to melt.
I am learning that I can “turn on” the sun by being still. In my crazy, non-stop world, so much of my anxiety is heightened by the fact that I am constantly on the go at a breakneck pace. It’s only natural that my anxiety levels would soar through the roof if I never give myself a chance to catch my breath and let my heart rate slow down a little. So sometimes, I just need to be still. I just need to close my eyes, slow my breathing, and bask in the warmth of peace like it were the springtime sun.
And I am learning that I can “turn on” the sun by taking time to pray and simply deciding to trust. There is so much in life that is entirely out of my control. But fortunately for me, I believe in an all-powerful God who is in control of all things. And what’s more, He wants to hear from me! When I set time aside to pray, casting my fears, worries, and anxieties on Him, it reminds me that He is on top of things. I can trust that He knows what is best for my life, and that He will lead me to make wise decisions when I ask Him for guidance. And when I feel the comfort of this assurance, everything turns to color!
The snow outside my window won’t last forever. I just have to be patient and gracefully wait it out, knowing that the colors aren’t gone for good. They will resurface with newfound brilliance once this chill dissolves. And I must remember that it will feel like springtime again, soon enough.