There are different kinds of anxiety. There is an anxiety that comes from allowing yourself to be too distracted by things in your life. You let things around you occupy too big of a role in the day-to-day instead of relying on the God who said “Do not let your hearts be troubled” and it boils up and over your tolerance level and you crash down into a pool of worry. That type of anxiety is very common and a huge problem that definitely needs to be dealt with.
But that’s not the anxiety I’m writing about today. There’s a different kind that is much farther reaching than just troubling your sleep at night. I’ve experienced this type of anxiety three times in my life. The first two times was right after I had my boys. How bad was it? Let’s just say that those few weeks are enough to make me think twice about every reproducing again. The last time has been more recently, after a life-changing event I experienced. It started without my really noticing it. The newness of the change was wearing off, and the reality of a whole new way of doing life was finally settling in. It all began with a minor health issue I experienced that, at the time, seemed anything but minor. It was late in the evening right before bed, and I suddenly became absolutely convinced that I was dying. I thought the feeling would wear off by morning, but when I woke up, I was even more sure that I was in imminent danger, to the point that I couldn’t even eat. Luckily, a co-worker helped talk me back to reality, and I calmed down, but I for a while after I never could truly shake that feeling.
I dealt with that same feeling on and off for months. I would think I had it under control, then all of a sudden out of nowhere my mind would start spinning, and I would fight to maintain some sort of grasp on reality. Because that’s what it felt like; my entire reality had somehow slipped through my clutching fingers and who I knew myself to be at the very core of my being was utterly shaken. I could barely even settle my racing mind enough to pray. I felt like Sandra Bullock in Gravity, floating helplessly through space headed in the wrong direction with nothing to grab hold of to ground myself to life. Throughout that time, I developed a mantra that I would repeat over and over to myself, unable to formulate any more coherent prayer than this: “My heart and mind are stayed on you, and my soul is rooted and grounded in your love.” (Isaiah 26:3, Ephesians 3:17) The prayer did not fix everything; I still struggled to focus on even the fact that God loved me, but would never allow myself to give up completely.
I fought this way for months. I knew that God was going to bring me through, even though in the middle of things it felt like that wasn’t the case. Finally, just over a month ago I felt that God told me that I was over the worst of it. Since then, the anxiety hasn’t taken over, although there have been a few times that I’ve felt its presence try to make itself known. I’ve learned when it happens to stop, verbally speak the words that I submit myself to God’s peace and resist the enemy’s plans to dominate me. As a person who is usually extremely emotionally stable (like bridging on robot, stable) this fight with anxiety was especially hard for me, taking me on an emotional roller coaster, I was unable to dream possible. But I knew God had a plan for me in it and a plan to deliver me from it. And I believe that He has a plan now for anyone else dealing with this kind of life-consuming anxiety. That kind of anxiety is NOT God’s will for your life. He wills for you to be free from it, no matter how it seems in the moment. I’ve been so blessed to come through it and experience His freedom and peace on the other side. And you will, too. The perfect peace that passes all understanding is on the horizon!
If you’ve been struggling with this kind of anxiety, we would love to pray for you. Comment below to have one of our Pastors pray for you!