The Antidote to the Sour Burn

There is a way I feel when fear and anxiety are crouching at the door of my mind and heart. It’s as if a mixture of lemon juice, vinegar and a splash of Sriracha hot chili sauce is seeping through my muscles, creating a sort of burn that is mostly sour and a little hot.

What I’m describing is just a feeling—a nasty feeling, to be sure, but not something chronic or requiring professional treatment. It comes on suddenly, and later—just as suddenly—it goes away.

cloudy road

Even so, I hate feeling this way. It saps my energy and makes me wander around aimlessly—even on weekend days that are absolutely perfect for gardening—unable to do anything at all productive.

I used to feel this way a lot; lately, not so much. Recently, however, there were a few weeks when the burn was back, with a vengeance.

I’m not exactly sure what brought it on. It might have been a delayed reaction to the changes of autumn—kids going back to school, adjusting to a new routine at home, that sort of thing. “All good things, all good things,” as the snowman Olaf says in my daughter Molly’s favorite movie. But change is change, and in my world, it tends to be hard.

A nasty sinus infection that kept me feeling bad long after I took my last antibiotic may have been the culprit. It might have had something to do with depleted hormones, or launching this blog—the excitement of starting something new coupled with the nervous anticipation of baring my soul to some tiny percentage of the online world.

Or it could have been some areas in my life where no news was definitely harder to deal with than bad news. Oswald Chambers wrote that the “nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty.” I’m sure he was right. But few things bring on the vinegar/lemon juice/hot sauce burn for me like waiting for an answer that may or may not come.

There are antidotes, of course. A 30-minute run on the treadmill. A short nap. A brisk walk in the sunshine. Lunch.

I tried all of these (especially lunch), and they all helped. But this time, the thing that brought the most relief were the words of an ancient shepherd-turned warrior king—the psalms of David.

I don’t care much for poetry. I can’t write it, and I usually don’t like to read it. But David’s verses—those speak to me. I love how he pours out his heart to God, holding nothing back, and how that always leads to praise.

“God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my life.” (Psalm 54:4)

“When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise.” (Psalm 56:3-4a)

“This I know: God is for me.” (Psalm 56: 9)

“I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me.” (Psalm 57:2)

“But I will sing of Your strength and will joyfully proclaim Your faithful love in the morning. For You have been a stronghold for me, a refuge in my day of trouble.” (Psalm 59:16)

These words? Sweet, peace-filled relief, more powerful than any combination of fear and vinegar.

I saw a friend in the bathroom at church on Sunday. She asked me how I was doing, and, after briefly considering various answers, I told her.

“I’m hoping this week will be better than last week,” I said.

And you know what? It was.


P.S. I’m linking up this week with Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragementThursday and Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart.

photo credit:John Mueller via photopin cc

12 Responses to The Antidote to the Sour Burn

  1. I know what you mean about Psalms helping. I love reading David pouring out his words to God, words that explain how I feel. Hope things are smoother now!

  2. Christ is such hope for our weary hearts. I’ve struggled with anxiety and it can be debilitating especially when we let our minds stray from God’s promises. Thank you for sharing so personally and for the encouragement.

  3. Hi Lois,
    I love this repost and think the sour taste title is so applicable for the grueling season we’ve just come through. But we have it made through to the other side and we will have the grace to move forward too, especially when we read those beautiful words from the Psalms that always soothe our hearts!

  4. Debby says:

    Stopping by from Holley’s. Lovely words that bring soothing, Lois. Thank you.

  5. Mary McCully says:

    Sunshine and God’s Word, a great antidote, dear one!

  6. Pam says:

    Great words of encouragement!

  7. Lydia says:

    Psalms and other scriptures always help, and so does a cat or two! : )

  8. I’m so glad you decided to bare pieces of your soul to my little corner of the online world. Through your honest words, others can find healing.

    I wonder how many millions have found healing through the life and honest words of David.

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