FEELING DOWN IN BARCELONA AND IMPORTANCE OF BEING CONNECTED

Lately, there has been a sense of disconnect - things are going fine, but something is missing. It's not the first time I have felt that way and in times Iike this I find the issue is almost always tied to my time of meditation on the word of God and communication with God either via prayer or worship. The last time I felt the disconnect was last fall in Barcelona. See , the weeks leading up to European trip last fall was busy with deadlines, early mornings and late nights. My head was buried in all of it, I did not notice how the busyness had disconnected me from my anchor until I arrived in Barcelona on November 17th.  

Barcelona was not my first solo trip and it was not the most challenging part of the twenty-five day trip, but for some reasons I was not myself.  That morning, I checked out of my Paris hotel at 6:45 a.m for the hour commute to Paris Charles De Gaulle airport. My excitement to get to Barcelona was on overdrive.

Barcelona was a last minute addition to the Europe 2015 itinerary, but it was the one I looked forward to the most. I had a comfortable flight. Luggage was slightly delayed (but nothing extraordinary). I found the shuttle bus from the airport to city center easily. There was a mix up at my hotel when I arrived, but the tray of sweets and complimentary cava made up for the mix-up; so why was I coming unhinged.  My emotions were on a rollercoaster.

From anxiety to fear to discouragement to intimidation all in a matter of hours (sometimes minutes). Fear and anxiety gripped me so much, I could not leave my hotel room for hours. I just sat in a daze trying to snap out of it (whatever "it" was). I decided to call a voice of reason aka mom and shared my emotional rollercoaster with her. She encouraged me, we prayed, and she suggested spending some time praying and mediating on the word and getting some fresh air. I  took some of her advice and went for a walk through La Ramblas.

Surely strolling the streets of Barcelona and fresh air will get me back to center - it did not. The events that transpired the rest of the afternoon did nothing to improve my mood. Eventually , I gave up trying to get into the tourist mode in Barcelona and returned to my hotel room. 

I was in Barcelona living my dream, but I was unraveling. Why ? Then it occurred to me  - I was becoming unhinged because I was no longer connected to my anchor. What anchors you ? Who or what keeps you grounded ? My relationship with God is what keeps me anchored in the busyness, instability and uncertainty of the world around me. However, in the busyness leading up to the trip and my whirl wind tour of Europe, I did not realize that I was no longer connected to who anchors me. It had been several weeks since I had a proper interaction with God (something more than the quick prayers whispers as I dashed out in the morning or shut my eyes to sleep). It had been over a month since I had a true conversation with anyone - communications with family was limited to text and wasapp informing my mom I was departing a city or arriving, I was disconnected from what mattered most, I was off center. 

I arrived back at my hotel and did what I should be doing every day (maybe multiple times a day); I turned on my worship playlist and had a worship session on the bathroom floor of my Barcelona hotel. I worshipped, I cried, I prayed. I did not pray for anything in particular, I just told  God about the day and the emotional rollercoaster I was on and feeling like I was spiraling. In that moment, I was reminded of two scriptures.

a. 1 peter 5:7 - Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (NIV); and

b. Matthew 11:28 - "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (NIV)

So I did just as the scripture said, I cast my anxiety and spiraling emotions on him. I told him about my unwarranted fears. I did not ask for anything, I just had a conversation with God and as I did, I felt the weight lift and the anxiety discipiate and peace and joy flood my heart. A short while later, I skyped with mom and we chatted for about an hour. By the time I called it a night - the anxiety and fear was completely gone. The next day, I had one of the most incredible time exploring Barcelona and left Barcelona with some of my favorite memories from the trip. 

Last week,  I had moments of feeling disconnected and I knew exactly what was off and the cure. Without meaning to, I allowed everything that did not matter take my focus and time away from my anchor. As much as this post is unlikely for a travel blog, I hope if you have ever felt disconnected, you find some encouragement. It is important that we don't allow busyness and schedule overload to pull us from our source or what and who keeps us grounded.