Every now and then, I come across a post that fits in so nicely with battling anxiety – and this one from Women Abiding is one of them. Although she is speaking about envy, it is so pertinent to battling anxiety I just had to share – although I have changed it to be more relevent to anxiety. And here’s the strange thing – lately I have been so wound up, because work has been so hectic, and I feel like I’m being pulled in a million different directions and my tummy has been in knots and just as I wonder whether this is something that I will always battle with, I get this. It’s amazing how God still speaks to us today. If only we’d listen. For the original post from Women Abiding, please hop on over to her website – not only has she lived in South Africa for many years , but she has amazing advice to share with you.
I used to struggle terribly with anxiety. I never fully engaged in friendships because of it – in fact, I know that I still hold back in my relationships because of it. It has robbed me of joy, and I even spent nights lying awake wondering what the next day would bring and how on earth was I going to cope. That’s how bad it was. And while all in ebb and flow, some days were actually great. And some days were down right awful. And the worst part is I was (am) a believer doing all this. And I have always been – since I first became a Christian at the ripe old age of 13.
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust, (read: financial stress, anxiety, panic attacks, busyness, pressure)
The consuming locust, (read: financial stress, anxiety, panic attacks, busyness, pressure)
And the chewing locust, (read: financial stress, anxiety, busyness, pressure)
My great army which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, (read: our word for this year is abundance)
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame. (read: our word for this year is abundance)
Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame. (read: our word for this year is abundance)
If you’ve read my blog, you can see that this is an issue that was “taught” to me to validate my mother’s battles with anxiety. After speaking to many people, including my hubby, it was very strongly felt that anxiety was not an issue for me to deal with. But, something taught to me by my mother – read my blog. You’ll see plenty of fodder there on how justified I am to feel anxious. How, since a little girl, I have always been nervous, shy, highly strung, how I grew up in a dysfunctional home that only added to my anxiety, how my mother played mind games with me and competed with me, thereby pushing the real me down, down, down … etc, etc, etc.
But guess what? And this something that I am really only learning now. None of these or other circumstances which so powerfully shaped my character are any excuse whatsoever for battling the anxiety in which I indulge. There are people who grew up in worse homes than what I did, who are more highly strung, more perfectionistic, more anything than me – and they don’t have the luxury of living with anxiety like I do. It is to the glory of the God and only by His grace and transforming power alone, that I am in the process of overcoming this. And although I still have a far walk ahead of me, I have already walked so far – I am impressed by how far I have come. I am humbled and very grateful and that day-in and day-out, God is showing me that there is nothing worth being anxious about. Of course it still rears its ugly head – regularly. But, for the most part, I am a work in progress that is far removed from those anxiety ridden days just after Baby Girl’s arrival.
If He could loosen the strong chains of anxiety and fear that bound me, He can do it in you, too!
Discover the truth of God’s sovereignty
He is over all, in all, and through all. You have what he has provided – no more, no less. You married the man who He chose for you. You have the talents that He specifically chose to give you. All these have been sovereignly ordained, chosen, and predestined by God for your life. Once you begin to believe that God is over every detail of your life, why would you envy what others have and do? Reference here.
Discover the reality of trial and ease waves
We all go through seasons in our lives – we all experience a winter, a summer, a spring or a autumn. It’s life. Full of ebb and flow, full of change. Some good, some not so good. And sometimes, you will be going through a good season when someone you love is going through a bad season. Or vice versa – you’ll be going through a bad season when someone you love or know is going through a good season. My point? Is that life is full of different seasons – you need to accept that, embrace it, and wait for the tide to turn. As it always has and always will.
God brings the trials to cause us to grow in character and learn to rely solely on Him. Graciously, He often wraps those times with pads of joyous and prosperous periods.
You need not feel anxious going through a trial – the good will come. Nothing is permanent, accept for the love of God. God is more interested in your character than what you may think He is.
Discover love believing the best
Love believes all things, 1 Corinthians 13: tells us. You need to be a person who chooses to live by this truth. When people say things to you, believe the best about their motives. Believe that they are genuinely sharing some information about themselves or their lives with you, with no ulterior motive in mind. Take their words at face value. Reference here.
This will be very hard for me to do when it comes to my mother – given our history and background. But, although I can be as wise as serpents to protect myself and my family in listening to what she says, I can still walk in love with her. I know that often she does have ulterior motives in that she needs me to validate her own life. And I know that I can’t do that. Not anymore. But, while I can – through God’s grace – break that bond, I can build another in love, and perhaps she too can learn about not having this insatiable need filled by people.
Discover that trust is believing that God knows best
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Reference here.
Know and believe in your heart and in your head that no matter how dire your circumstances may be, God knows best. And He is in control. So, just breathe, relax and let go – and let God take over. He is quite good at doing that, and He knows what is best for you. So trust – even if you can’t see the answer or the end is sight, trust Him. He actually does know what He is doing.
I do think that anxiety affects some more than others, so if you are one who struggles in this area, I pray that you would heed these truths and confessing your sin to your Father in Heaven. Be content (have faith and trust Him) with who you are, where He has you in life, and be thankful for all the blessings that He has granted you.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Reference here.
Which of the above resonated with you, and how will you begin to change the sinful habit of anxiety? How will you learn to trust God, take deep breaths and know that you are exactly where God wants you to be!
A five-year-old tumbles into the kitchen from his adventures in backyard mud, bringing footprints of scum across a clean floor. The phone rings. The baby cries. The doorbell chimes. The dog barks. A harried mom grabs her temples in response to this torture.
Change scenes. The camera spans a spacious, private bath scene, circling around a tub filled to the brim with luxurious bubbles. A beautiful woman rests in the tub, hair pinned in loose curls, arms extended, massaging shapely legs, eyes closed in an ecstasy of relaxation.
Supposedly, this second scene is a picture of peace. What I want to know is, where are the kids, what is the dog doing and who was at the door?
Contrary to the commercial, peace doesn’t come in a package of bubble bath. It’s not found in a tub or even behind a closed door. Peace comes when we fix our minds on God and on his stability in our chaotic days. No matter who is tromping a mess across our floors or standing impatiently at our doors, the unchangeable God is in charge of our days. Knowing that for a fact is peace. Reference here.