For the past few years, I have really struggled with anxiety. It has truly crippled me in more ways than one and has prevented me from living life to the fullest. I have known people who have suffered severely from anxiety. However, until you have personally experienced full-blown anxiety for yourself, there is no way to truly understand it at all.
My anxiety journey started my last semester of college. Up to this point, I had literally been in school in some form since the age of two. School wasn’t just something I did because I had to, school was who I had become – it was a part of my identity. School for me, was my social network, my gym, my encouragement, my biggest challenge, and one of my most reliable constants. I may not have always wanted to go or enjoyed it, but boy did I realize how much I needed it when it was finally gone.
About three months after I graduated, I started my first official job. I was so thankful to finally be receiving an income and put the skills that I had learned to good use. Yet, I was so anxious and overthinking everything that my anxiety was physically crippling me. I was in and out of the doctors office for the next several months trying to figure out what was wrong with me. It was as if my body was betraying me. Every pain, every small issue that appeared to be out of the norm became so worrisome. I panicked over the smallest of things, feeling as if my world was coming to an end.
After about a year of this, I finally admitted to myself that I had anxiety and I needed to figure out ways to understand this new normal in order to eventually overcome it. Will I ever get rid of my anxiety? Probably not. Will I ever be able to learn tools and exercises that will help me work through it? You bet! In fact, I am constantly working through it and trying to navigate the best ways to calm myself through whatever situation I may face.
One of the tactics I have worked hard at utilizing more is my faith in God. My anxiety has a whole lot to do with my fear of the unknown. You see, with school, I knew what was next. I knew what classes I would be taking, what teachers I would have, the supplies I would need, etc. With life after college, I had SO many things I wasn’t sure about. I didn’t know where I would be working, how much money I would be making, if I could afford my student loan payments, if I could get my own place, and the list goes on.
My fear of the unknown was consuming me. It still does consume me in some forms to this day. However, now more than ever, I am holding onto the truth that fear (anxiety) is NOT of God. He is light and love and everything but fear. He made us and every single detail that makes up our lives. He is the past, present, and future. God knows ALL things, meaning that we can be confident in knowing that He has our backs. “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
God has equipped us with the tools to overcome fear. When we are experiencing fear, we must remind ourselves that we must run as close as we can to God like a child would run to his parent. In the book “Do It Afraid” by Joyce Meyer, it says that “fear is rooted in the lies the devil tells us.” This is SO true. Fear is of the devil, which means it does not belong anywhere near me. Of course, because of the world we live in, fear will always be a factor, but it will be a constant challenge for me to remember to run to God in the face of fear and anxiety.
My challenge for you is to acknowledge the things in your life that bring you fear and anxiety. Really think about where that fear and anxiety is rooted in and how you can use this knowledge to learn how to overcome it. Run to Jesus as He IS our redeemer. He will always be the constant that you need in your life if you only allow Him. I too, will work on this as I work on overcoming my fear and relying on the Lord. This world may be messy and full of unknowns, but we can always be reassured that the Lord is alive and well and far greater than any fear that we could ever face. Let us all be uplifted by this amazing truth! 🙂
This weeks reminder:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5: 6-7 NIV