SG...why does my stomach feel like I'm on a roller coaster?
"Somehow you're never done with me. So even when I'm done with me" Lord's Child, "Wars"
When my father passed away a little under three years ago, I didn’t just lose a dad and mentor, but an early stage dementia patient lost her husband and caretaker, a church lost their three decade long spiritual leader, and we all lost the person who we knew had an absolute faith in God. Every time I would worry about something, he would always tell me to pray and trust God. If my dad was a movie character, he definitely was Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid. At the time, it would be an infuriating answer to hear, “Just trust God,” when all I wanted was advice to change a situation right away. In an unintended consequence I see his answers also creating a sense of safety in so many of us. “Just trust God” is powerful when you can see a person’s reassuring face when they tell you that over and over again, but now that he is not here I have felt a lot of anxiety without his face and voice.
Since his passing I have had bouts of acid reflux and uneasiness in my stomach from time-to-time. Prilosec and Tums are nice, but only go so far. I had these issues in years before my dad passed as I’m just getting older (which sucks), and I know I need to eat better and exercise more. This has felt more acute. The way your body and your heart play off each other is a wild upside down freight train that I can’t figure out where my uneasiness comes from and what is its destination. It leaves me afraid and uncertain. Here’s an example,
last year I was on a plane back home from Phoenix, and I had eaten out every meal all week and didn’t make the best food choices. By the time I’m about to board the plane I feel a pain in my chest. Worry begins to set in because I happened to know a person who had had a heart attack not too long before my trip. That next night at home I still feel off and my worry is peaking so far that I devolve into a full on, cold sweat panic attack in my bed.
After checking things out with doctors, I was ruled physically fine, but needed to handle the acid of course. And since I hadn’t been sleeping well since the panic attack, how was I handling stress in my life my doctor asked via video conference. ”Do you have a way to meditate and handle your stress?”
“I’m a Christian, so I pray.”
“Then you should pray more.” He said. That felt ironic and a blow to my Christian ego coming from my doctor.
What was true beyond the need to improve my physical health was my emotional and spiritual foundation needs to be rebuilt. At times, It feels like I’m on an old wooden roller coaster not knowing when I’ll be getting rid of that fear of that sensation your stomach is in your throat every time I drop. God, I’m not sure the drop itself or the anxiety of the anticipation is worse. I feel anxious even just writing this.
There is a list of Bible verses I have accumulated that I go back to when I feel uneasy about something or even about my faith itself. In the end, I come back to Jesus as my true anchor and have to remind myself of my true identity in Christ. One thing my dad showed me was how God can heal and deliver the heart from sin and past hurts. Years spent with books from Christian authors like Neil Anderson and Charles Solomon who really illuminate our God as the great physician of the heart, helped him and in his own life and family life. Everything he taught me made sense to me, and I could explain those key restorative verses and principles to others. Apparently, now it’s my season to experience it for myself with Christ and his Holy Spirit and hear his voice tell me the same as my father told me….this time God saying, trust me without his face or voice. It’s just, some days feel like I’m climbing a hill just to hit a drop off on the other side when I don’t remember that word or God’s voice. But the promise to me is this: to paraphrase 2 Corinthians 4:8, you may be pressed down at times, but not destroyed. And I will always have his quote to remember too.
“Just trust God.” Dad
Leave us comments if you’ve lost someone and are feeling that bite of anxiety
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