I’ve battled the tightness of chest, the shakiness of body and the uncertainty of what is to come for quite a while. Only recently have I been able to win the war against what seems incurable: my anxiety.
Do you suffer from it?
It’s a feeling you can’t get ahead…
It’s surviving, with generalized gnawing…
It’s living with overwhelming tenseness because you feel out of control…
It’s bearing with the weight of the world on your shoulders…
It’s carrying irritation from others actions…
It’s a true sense of your inability to change things…
For so long, anxiety crept up on me like a lightweight spider; I didn’t know he was on me until his poison sank in. Then I knew, I was in for it. He saturated me in a way where it felt impossible to get well again. To fix things. Maybe you’ve been there. I wouldn’t wish it on my greatest enemy.
Anxiety has ruined family vacations.
It’s made me snap like an explosive.
It’s caused many a sleepless night.
It’s broken peace.
It’s stolen moments.
It’s made me self-consumed.
It’s made me angry at myself.
What has it taken from you? What has this poison done in your body? Life?
Only recently have I started to make headway against it.
Step 1 of progress is in acknowledging this: My anxiety is due to a gap I do not internally believe I have the power to bridge, control or fix.
Step 2 is deciding I am in charge of my feelings. No one else has the ability to: 1. Tell me how to feel. 2. Make me feel a certain way 3. Force me to have feelings or to act a certain way.
With this, I can imagine a holy box of God around me. In this space, I am permitted to feel as I feel without feeling bad about it. In this space, I am able to present to God the actual emotion I am feeling and the cause that set it off, without living under the weight of crushing judgment. Why can I do this? Because Jesus is my advocate. He forgives, heals and helps. He is behind me and for me. He also wants me to discover his peace. He loves me.
Step 3 is saying this: God, I do not have the ability to figure ______ (insert the trigger of the issue here) out. I need your help with how to respond. Will you show me how to stay with you in this space and place that feels scary? Will you show me how to lean on you when I am not sure how people will react or how well I will do? Will you be my protection as I respond in a way that is truthful – to you and to others? I can hand over to you the person, place or thing that is troubling my heart and be with you in the moment. Here, you will lead me and prompt me to move with your love, grace and mercy towards myself and towards others. I can trust you to be with me, even when I feel all alone.
This 3-step process has literally been my saving grace. When I feel the poison starting to rise up from within me, God’s grace towards my constricting heart makes all the difference. It frees me. The secret is: you gotta catch it early. Right when it starts.
And, when you don’t, it’s okay. Just try again next time.
Prayer for women like me who struggle like this: Dear God, here we stand before you, women who don’t have it all figured out, women who want to be better, women who struggle inside our own bodies. God, will you help us to rely on your truth instead of our feelings? Will you help us to put up healthy barriers between us and the world? Will you help us to take your peace you’ve given us and to keep it? We need you. We can’t do it alone. Please be our guide, Lord Jesus. You are the answer every time. We trust your ways and want to die to our own. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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