Anxiety

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Anxiety.

It’s a word that carries a stigma that isolates the people who experience it. The reasons for anxiety vary from person to person, but we all experience a certain level of it at some point in our lives. It can be experienced as a slight feeling of unease about an event or it can expand into an excessive uneasiness and worry with compulsive behavior and panic attacks. I never realized how formidable anxiety can be until it consumed me.

A few years back when I was in the middle of my master’s program, I was overwhelmed. I began to experience instances in which I felt like I was no longer in control. It started slowly and continued to amplify until it eventually became something I carried with me at all times. I could not explain what was happening. All I knew is that I was constantly on edge, stressed, worried, and overwhelmed, and I began to question everything, including my worth.

Each day that I was filled with nothing but worry, uncertainty, dread, and confusion, my spirit fell further and further… and with that, my relationship with God. When a heart and mind are clouded with worry, there’s simply no room for anything else. When we are anxious and fearful of the future, we are demonstrating a lack of trust in our sovereign Heavenly Father.

Our mind is a powerful thing. When I allowed my mind to take the driver’s seat, I fell into a spiral in which I attached meaning to every thought and became ruled by them. When I had my first panic attack, I realized my soul was in a losing battle with my mind. At that point, I was so far gone in this black cloud of anxious defeat, I couldn’t see anything else. I felt worthless, pathetic, and hopeless.

Many have battled anxiety, and most have battled fear. Where do you lead your heart when these threaten to take over? Do you believe that you’re the only one in the world who experiences it? Do you feel disconnected and lonely and therefore begin to question your overall worth? I’m here to remind you of two very important things:

  1. You are not
  2. And you are worth it.

God tells us this as well. He commands us to not worry and to not be anxious. He reminds us of our worth:

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” Ephesians 2:4-8

Beloved, we have been saved. And why? Because of His almighty grace. Because He loves and adores us. There is worth in every single one of us, and with the gift of His grace, we are freed.

No longer must we hold onto our fears. Can’t you feel them lifting off of you when you hear what God has done for you? God desires to give His children what they need. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We are God’s unique design and He loves us dearly. We are not meant to carry the heavy burden that comes with worry. We are told to cast all of our anxieties on Him (1 Peter 5:7).

Relish that beautiful sentiment. Let His arms embrace you, beloved. Feel His deep love. Let it soak in and mend your soul. Whatever is hurting you now, let go… and tell yourself “I am worth it. I am worthy of love, of peace, of joy. No longer will I allow feelings of doubt and worry join together into a thick ugly cloud. I will seek the Lord. I will allow Him to carry the burden.” Sometimes allowing God to intervene can also look like seeking out professional counseling or even medication to help with anxiety. God will walk with us through it all.

God created us to be in a relationship with him and experience His love deeply. He values us. When I realized my value in the Lord’s eyes, I found this new and beautiful peace in Him. He led me on a path that has provided me with an unshakable foundation. When I feel stress and anxiety start to threaten that foundation (and believe me, it still does), I ask Him for guidance. I am reminded that we are provided with hope, strength and a promise. We are told not to be afraid:

“So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

 

Stephanie

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