imageAnxiety…it’s like a thief in the night. It shows up in the midst of peace…when you are feeling like you’ve got some things figured out. By definition, anxiety is a “fear or nervousness about what might happen,” according the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. This anxiety feeling hit me so hard Sunday. As I was packing up our belongings after spending the week with my parents, I began pacing back and forth. The lump forming in my throat. My breathing becoming slightly labored. I started thinking about when we were coming back…Christmas! It seems so far away. I know it isn’t that distant, but my heart began to race. I began thinking of everything I couldn’t forget to grab that was strewn all over the house. I started to think how much I missed my incredible husband who was in FL for work. I thought about how I was going to have to drive home six hours on little sleep for the past week. I began stressing about my little boy not wanting to nurse and drastically cutting back on that specific quality time with him. I began to think, “Will these be the last days of nursing babes or will I have that opportunity again in the future?” Only God knows. I thought about how my daughter turns four next month…FOUR…and how she starts Preschool two days a week in only a few short weeks. I’m not ready for this. My heart can’t handle this. I’m not strong enough for all of this motherhood stuff, on my own anyway. “In my weakness, He is made strong.” Oh, Lord, I need you to be my strength. I’m casting all of my fears and anxieties on you!

I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole life. I’m that girl praying I’ll be invited to parties, then when invited, I can’t go, because there are so many unknowns. Whose going to be there? Am I going to be the awkward one? Will anyone talk to me? What if something happens? What if I don’t fit in? I’m the girl who buys concert tickets repeatedly thinking I’ll get over my fear and then back out at the last minute, because my anxiety is literally making me sick. I can’t sleep, eat, relax. I begin to pace and fidget. I start throwing question after question at my hubby with very little time given to answer. Poor guy. I’m so thankful he loves me through this tough stuff. I’m the girl who couldn’t play hide and seek as a kid…my anxiety would almost make me vomit. I’m the girl who couldn’t play tag or basketball…please stop chasing me. I’ll just be “it.” Go ahead and have that ball! I can’t handle it! I’m the girl who can’t watch movies…my stomach is in knots the entire time! I’m the girl who plays with her kids and when they start chasing me, I flop on the ground squealing, afraid they will “get” me…the anxiety is just too much!

Throughout my life, I have learned my triggers and how to avoid them. I avoid busy places. I avoid the unknown (as best I can). I avoid opening up to people I don’t know very well. I avoid speaking my heart until I feel like I’m in a safe place. I avoid movies. I avoid playgrounds. I avoid parades. I avoid concerts. I avoid parties. I avoid being alone in my house. I avoid sleeping when my husband is gone. I avoid the darkness. I avoid the outdoors. I even try and avoid change, but that’s the only constant in life. And the list could go on and on!

Then I hear that still, small voice tell me that I can’t live like this. I need to LIVE! Living in fear isn’t living. Living with anxiety isn’t truly living. I always say you aren’t growing unless you are uncomfortable, so I challenge myself each day to do something uncomfortable. I work continuously on the avoids above to overcome these anxieties! I’m a work in progress for sure. As much as I struggle with anxiety, I continue to remind myself to keep my eyes on Jesus. It is so incredibly easy to let our anxieties get the best of us, especially with all the indescribable things going on in the world today. When we seek Him first, we are reminded that He has gone before us. He has paved the way for us. He has worked all of this out for our good. He has plans of prosperity for us. Hallelujah! If He is for us, then who can be against us?

Today, I encourage you to write down what makes you anxious and hand it over to God..lay it at the foot of the cross. You may have to do this more than once over time, because we are human and the enemy knows how to attack. When the enemy creeps in with these thoughts, counter them with scripture and stand firm in the promises of God. When I learned that He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do, my anxieties began to fade and my faith started to grow.

Father God,
I’m handing over my struggles and anxieties to you today. They are too heavy for me to carry. I need guidance and wisdom in these areas of my life: __________, __________, and ___________. Lord, I know that in my weakness, you are made strong and I know that you are for me! I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made for a specific purpose, Oh God, and I am choosing to keep my eyes on you. Father God, I am weary from the weight of these anxieties. I ask for the renewing of my mind and soul. I’m resting in you, Lord. I know most days I’m at complete peace with you in control, but then there are days when my thoughts begin to stray and my weakness protrudes. In these moments, Lord, I’m using every ounce of strength to hand it over. Know my heart, Oh God, and know that it belongs to you entirely. I want to serve and honor you with every fiber of being. Lord, thank you for carrying my burdens today and every day. Thank you for Jesus who paid it all so we could be free…free from this anxiety, free from fear, free from shame, free from whatever is ailing us! Thank you for loving us so incredibly much! Lord, thank you!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen