That word comes with so much misconception, and pain. If you have experienced it you already know its damaging effects and how it deadens any hope of peace.
(I first want to clarify as in any mental health issue, there are extreme cases that may require therapy or counseling or medicine, and way more than just a small encouraging blog).
On a scale of 1-100, where do you find yourself IF you are someone who battles anxiety? I think I was at a bit of a normal level (if there is a norm) of feeling anxious in my life – raising 6 kids (before and after their dad passed away from cancer). I would venture to say the first bouts of anxiety were more regular stresses of a life with many children; worried about them, and money, and the future – worried if I’d get it right! After their dad died the worries tripled times 10 – or more. I tried to hold it all together and looking at me, sure – it seemed to be so.
Explosion of Anxiety
I think anxiety has been growing inside of me for a very long time; I simply did not truly understand it. I thought I was a very faith driven, positive, glass half full kind of person! Part of my anxiety (ironically) was trying to maintain being THAT person!
People needed me to be strong, to be happy, to cheer THEM on, to provide for them, to serve them, to love them with every ounce of my being. How I really felt got shoved way down, deep inside, and out of sight.
There can come a time when you just hit rock bottom, no matter how optimistic you are. Rock bottom despite all of its danger and fear and hopelessness, is indeed the place where Jesus becomes the solid ROCK of the bottom!
I fell apart on one particular day, due to an extremely painful situation in my life that pretty much leveled me flat. My faith in God was intact, but my soul was too shocked to remember how to apply all the faith principles I knew (I learned it’s okay to admit you’re NOT okay). At the time however, I still was not ready for that admission. In our frail brokenness God Himself is always holding us; even when we may or may not realize it at the moment of our hellish descent.
Rooted in Fear
So, anxiety. What is it basically? It is fear. We are worried or concerned about uncertain outcomes. It turns into agitation, tension, stress, foreboding, uneasiness (multiplied without number), and an overall sense of having lost our bearings. It sends you spiraling out of control – sometimes slowly, but other times it feels like you were shoved off a cliff into midair – flailing for your life all the while just falling – falling – falling.
The opposite of anxiety is so beautiful. Yes (shout, Amen!) there IS an opposite. It is PEACE. And it IS possible to find even in the midst of life’s worst moments. It is a journey, and it will probably be a solo journey. It is YOUR fight to find it. I love that pop song – “The Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. Part of the lyrics are: “…’Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.” When you get down to the bottom, there is this instinct that kicks in that says, THIS can’t be where it all ends!
That fight? That will to survive? That is God in you. Do NOT ever ignore it or make light of it. That will be the exact moment you will be able to look up (even just a glance upwards is enough) from the bottom of your anxiety, and hope will be ushered in – right from the depths of your OWN soul.
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast [THROW] all your anxiety on HIM – because He cares for YOU.” Memorize this; it’s short and sweet and TRUE, and it really is possible. I have lived through some hellish situations that looking back, I wonder how I am still here – how I still can be a glass half full person.
He Brings Peace
The reason is I threw it ALL on Jesus! HERE! You take it, and do what You want with it – I can’t take it anymore. There is something that transcends human understanding that happens when you really surrender the worries and pain and anxieties to God. It is a trade. HE takes it from me, and then HE gives me back something in its place. He brings peace, which is stronger and more powerful that anxiety.
Anxiety is laced with the poison of lies from the pits of hell, meant to suffocate us, diabilitate us, and ultimately destroy us. PEACE is the real deal, truth that brings strength and hope right in the middle of a situation that has not yet changed. Yes. THIS is true.
Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest…you will find rest for your souls.”
Visualize it as you take ALL your worries and hand them over to Jesus, however that looks to you if you were painting it as a picture. For me, it would look like broken, shattered pieces of glass with jagged edges. As I try to scoop them up the glass cuts my hands and begins to bleed. It hurts just handing it all over to Him. But I don’t want it anymore. I can’t! I can’t do it! I can’t handle it! It has sent me to rock bottom.
Then from the deep darkness of the bottom of rock bottom, from the depths of my broken shattered soul, comes the sweet exchange. I take my anxiety and fear and pain to the ONLY place where true relief can be found.
Call the bluff on the enemy of your soul. Let the fight song of your own life rise up! In that split second that you release the worry from your soul, God is there in that moment. Significant moments are tiny pockets where change is born.
Life still has all the elements of a tragic opera plot line. The change may not be in the outward circumstances, but the change will be inside of YOU. And this truly changes everything. “This is my fight song, take back my life song – my power’s turned on, starting right now I’ll be strong.”
The power is Jesus. The fight starts with US and the victory to win ends with HIS strength given to us as we surrender the worry. “Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” (Psalm 23:4) This is my go to – take a deep breath and press on – scripture. I am not alone. You are not alone. We are held.
It is a win-win. Slowly, but surely you will rise from the ashes. Fear will not hold you for ransom anymore. YOUR fight song is blasting in the background as you go from fight to flight!