For most of my teenage and adult life, I have dealt with a lot of issues concerning anxiety. After my kids were born (especially with Isabelle) I also struggled with a pretty long bout of post-partum depression. So, maybe I’m more prone to these feelings and times of emotional unrest, but I’m learning that there are things I can do to help myself if I’m going to live a life full of the joy of Christ.
I understand that I am a type A, high strung, stress prone, control freak type of person, but it’s more than that. Through this anxiety and constant over analyzing, I have found myself trying to reason my way out of many situations and circumstances rather than relying on my faith in Jesus. The enemy attacks my mind, imagination and creativity often….that’s how he tries to keep me from living in a place of joy and peace. I have constantly tried to figure things out on my own, compared myself to others, struggled with postpartum depression and dealt with much self-doubt. I have felt at times that, of all the people in the world, the enemy had chosen to spend all of his energy and resources on me, doing all he could to break me down to a place from which I could never recover.
For so long, and I still do now at times, I just came to conclusion that my anxiety came from situations in the world, people around me or life circumstances out of my control. I had to place blame somewhere, right? But, the more I have begun to recognize how anxiety appears and what it does to me, I’ve begun to analyze myself, rather than my circumstances, much more. At the end of the day, I have very little control over the circumstances that arise in my life, but I do have control over how I react to them, how I allow them to control my heart and mind, what I say yes to, what I say no to and how easily I allow myself to become offended.
No doubt there have been numerous situations in my life that I have allowed to make me anxious, but it’s not always the enemy that’s to blame. Many times when I’ve become anxious, it’s because of my lack of faith. Looking back, I can see how I took control of a situation into my own hands and didn’t allow the big, mighty, capable hands of God to take it from me and get it handled.
When Camp was sick, there were days of extreme anxiety. The bottom line was…he was sick and there wasn’t a cure, but I still worried myself into a panic….that’s normal I think (to some extent). But, then there would also be days of peace…on those days I had come to the end of myself and really tried to practice what I preached. I would turn my thoughts and my fears over to the Lord and do my best to soak up each moment with my sweet boy instead of spending my energy in worry. That’s so much easier said than done, though.
With any of us, it doesn’t take us many seconds of looking around or thinking about our life to find something we can worry about that will lead to anxiety. It’s there, we just can’t stay there. The bible clearly tells us not to be anxious, it just says don’t do it, don’t let anxiety be an option!
God told us not to be anxious, but He didn’t tell us we had to do it on our own. He told us not to be anxious, because He knows for us to do that, we have to fully place our life in His hands. Let him handle that sticky situation at work, let Him handle that financial struggle, let Him handle that person that’s so hard to get along with, let Him guide you on how to disciple your children, let Him show you the direction you need to take when you or your family member is sick, let Him open the doors you need to walk through when it’s time for you to walk through them.
But, to do that, we have to actually spend time with him and make him our closest companion.
Just because you are a Christian and have Christ living in your heart doesn’t mean that life will be easy and free from pain. It also doesn’t make handing over your control particularly easy…but, it does make it possible. And the more we do it, the easier it will become because he will prove to us over and over again that He is able to supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory.
Friday night at the cancer walk, another cancer mom asked me how I stay so positive…
First, I stopped and thanked God that she couldn’t see how “unpositive” I felt at the moment because Friday had just been one of those “not so fun” days. Secondly, I told her that when I am positive, it’s all because of the Lord. I have absolutely nothing in me that allows me to want to wake up each day and tackle life, other than the Lord in my heart and the blessings He has given me.
Pain, grief, heartache, betrayal, hardships…all of those downs in life are inevitable. As I grow and learn, I pray that I don’t spend my time and energy being anxious about them before they come or when they happen. Whatever life throws at me…it will never be too big, too hard, too fast, or too tough for Jesus to take and handle. Freeing my life of worry and anxiety is a daily struggle, but if you feel even a little bit like me, please be encouraged. God doesn’t want his children to life a life being a slave to that anxiety. He is the only one capable of helping us take control over that aspect of our lives. I’m sure I’ll be surrendering this to the Lord for the rest of my life…but, if that’s what I have to do, I just pray that He continues to give me the strength to do it. I want to live victorious as a child of the King, not a slave to the enemy.
Here are a few of my favorite podcasts, books, scriptures and songs right now…I hope they encourage you like they have me! —–>
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6 – 9
More food for thought:
Podcasts: “Why Am I Anxious” by Steven Furtick @ Elevation Church, “Keeping the Crazymakers from Making You Crazy” by Rick Warren
Books: “The Best Yes” by Lysa TerKeurst, “Anxious for Nothing” by Max Lucado
Songs: “More Than Anything” by Natalie Grant, “Wanna be Happy” by Kirk Franklin, “Different” by Micha Tyler, “In Awe” by Hollyn