I’ve always had this problem with people who say that they deal with anxiety as if it were a disease. “Come on, just trust the Lord and he will take it away!” Well, life has a way of stuffing our judging back into our mouth and making us chew it up. We get to taste how bitter it was all along.
This past year, I have dealt with anxiety beyond anything I had ever experienced. It began after a couple months of really bad physical sickness and has not left since. It is kind of awful and it makes life feel a little crazy sometimes. It makes me feel like everything is wrong even when everything is great! It also makes me want to apologize to all those I carelessly shrugged off in the past. I’m sorry that I undermined your battle.
This is a hard issue because there can be MANY things that contribute to anxiety. Some of them are completely our fault and bad patterns we have built up. Some are caused by worry & fear. And SOME are caused by physical conditions and deficiencies. I was a fearful kid, I was terrified of everything, I know what fear feels like and God has freed me from so much of it. This is different. It is constant and comes without provocation. It is not based on an event or on my mental state. It is physical.
On my way to church, on a road trip, sitting in my room, going to hang out with friends, waking up, going to work, even doing things I normally LOVE to do, my stomach will tighten and turn as if I were about to speak in front of a thousand people. It is a physical reaction & my mind says “What the heck? I’m not nervous right now, why are you churning, stomach? Why are you making me feel like I have something to freak out about?”
This is hard! Life is SO much easier when everything is easy. I remember not long ago when waking up was an exciting thing and now for the last several months, it is something I want to delay. But one thing I DO know is that for the first time in my life, before I even open my eyes, I start praying. I know I can’t face the struggle alone and so as soon as my mind wakes up, I start talking to God. Real, heart prayers. And each morning is sweet and beautiful, though not always easy.
I’m being real here, guys. I told you, I judged this not long ago. But here I have sat and prayed hard. Harder than hard. As a result of seeking God, my heart comes to rest and peace and my mind knows the truth and at times even my body will calm….yet often my nerves will still be freaking out, going crazy.
So what do you do? Do you just let it ruin your life, keep you holed away and running from everything? Do you let what you are dealing with become what you are following?
This is were it gets real. This is where things that are out of our control meet the things that are truly within our God given power to overcome. This is where I am at right now. Literally almost EVERYWHERE I go and everything I do, I go into it with a massive amount anxiety. Maybe there is a better word than anxiety, but that is the only one I know for this gut feeling of causeless terror. I sit in my car, breathing shallow, my heart beat racing fast and I start speaking out loud. I say the truth aloud. I pray intense prayers and I listen to God’s answer. I tell myself what I know to be true even if my blood and heart rate tell me something else.
My physical state says “Turn around, you can’t do this, this is scary, everything is out of control, you are going to freak out and not be able to do what you need to do!” And so I speak back “You are just my body but God is my strength, I have nothing to fear. This moment is good and God is good. I don’t have to be great, because God will be great through me. Even as I walk on quivering knees. I am loved and I am free. I am a child of God”
Y’all this changes everything. It does not necessarily remove our need for further physical help, but it teaches us how to make it & make it well, even while struggling!! I pray that EACH person reading this would seek help from a trusted friend or counselor or someone who can help you physically. I want health and wholeness for each person and an answer! I have sat and cried with many people and sought wise counsel. I have learned some of the deficiencies in my body and supplements that I need to take for it. I am not writing this to get you to make some drastic decision or to say “Just trust God more”! I’m saying this because no matter WHAT path we take to seek help, we are still going to struggle and we are still going to have a journey ahead that will require a WHOLE lot of learning to see truth above the odds trying to block it out.
We have no control over what comes AT us, but we get to choose what comes OUT of us. How we respond and what we believe.
The bible says- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, though prayer and with thanksgiving make your requests known to God and the peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts in Jesus!
Do not be anxious about anything! How do I come to terms with that? I believe that there is an anxiety that comes AT some of us where we are NOT anxious about anything…we just have the symptoms beating on us, begging us to let them into our hearts. But this is when we start throwing every lie that flies at us into God’s arms.
There is also an anxiety that comes OUT of us when we stop holding onto truth and start believing what is coming at us. We stop casting our cares on God and we stop praising Him. This will damage not only our body but our spirit. And once you have lost hope, it is a quick decline.
The above verse says that if we bring our cares to God, with thankfulness, his peace WILL GUARD OUR HEARTS AND MINDS!! This is a promise and it doesn’t always look like smooth breathing, calm nerves and no heart racing. It looks like peace way deeper than anything that we feel in our body.
This is the choice we have. And it can be an amazing choice!
Slowly my physical state is improving with some health choices….sometimes we need to take PHYSICAL things to help with physical issues, but it’s slow and daily & I constantly face this fierce battle of who will I believe? What I feel or what I know?! And it is an amazing battle! I’m truly doing better than I can EVER remember doing in my life. And yet everything feels harder! It’s crazy! I continue to step forward in life and relationships and adventures and in many ways they are richer and deeper for the battle because a layer of pretense is pealed away. I am learning truth from lies and reality from what I feel and it is SO powerful!
Some of you have anxiety and fear and worry pouring out of you and you are making choices to embrace and follow it. You are contributing to the struggle. I know, I’ve been there many times as well. This is something WE cause and the ONLY remedy is to begin running into our Fathers arms and learning to trust Him.
And then are many of you who are facing what I have been dealing with, and even when you are in a place of peace, it feels like you must be doing something wrong because the intense reaction and feelings aren’t going away. Don’t be discouraged.
Have you ever heard of the girl who surfs without an arm, the blind and deaf woman who practices law, the guy with no arms of legs who does public speaking, the deaf man who composed masterpieces & the crippled man who ran races? SUPER inspiring right?! Your story can be too! It’ll be harder than most and so it will be more powerful than most.
I am learning to lean into the battle. Some of my most beautiful moments have come through struggling to breathe in the car, yet choosing to believe that God is enough for me, stepping out of the vehicle, heart pounding and walking ahead in the truth, and watching God use even an emotional crazy house like me.
I’m not a counselor, I’m not a psychologist or a doctor. I’m not telling anyone what to do. There are a hundred thoughts and suggestions for physical issues like this and I don’t pretend to be able to tell you what they are. That is a journey you will have to take. I’m just sharing what God is doing in me to let you know, you’re not alone and there is so much good right here even in the thick of it when we choose to listen to and believe God.
I promise you that dancing in the rain beats hiding inside! Don’t be afraid to be real and to “go there” in the depths of what is going on in your life! If you go there with God’s truth, you will come out MORE than alive!!
“we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor 10:5
“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:37-39