And while I can see how my past has allowed the pieces of the puzzle to fit together in such a way that I could only but have responded to life the way that I did, I often wonder if there could not have been a better way. You see, my whole life has been geared in such a way that I could not have responded any other way. The lies that Satan has told me and my family has set the stage for me failing, falling apart, and not coping with life. I’ve told you about how the competitive nature of my mother saw her competing with me at every level – where she socialized with my friends throughout school. In fact, my school friends used to come over and visit with my “cool” mother, while I sat alone in my room or watching TV. The effect of this is that I have never really learnt to make and keep friends. And the few friends I do have now, I keep very far away from my mother (not consciously, but more instinctively). But, the bigger effect is that I had no support system for when I needed it. You see, another of Satan’s lies – because a time came when I truly believed we were in this world alone and I pushed everyone aside. But the truth is, we are not alone. God is with us each and every day – his Holy Spirit is our comforter. So, my relationship with my mother set the tone – I was needed to validate her existence and so I believed the lie: I could not cope with life, I was prone to anxiety – not because that was the truth, but because my mother needed it to be true. And I was too young to know any better.
Another aspect of my life that set the stage for the last couple of years was my relationship to food. My mother went over the edge every time I ate anything, because she was afraid I was going to choke. Then when I wasn’t eating, she went over the edge because, well, because I wasn’t eating (I was even sent to a psychologist for anorexia – even though I had never been on a diet or over exercised in my life). Now, if either of those lies were true, I wouldn’t be here, because we need food to survive.
And finally, my parent’s marriage. I know that God brought the two of them together – how do I know this? Because when you stand before God and vow to love this person until death, then the vows matter. And those are promises to God that should not be broken or taken lightly. Instead, my mother would climb into bed with me at night, and bad mouth my father every opportunity she got.
So, given this background, it was only inevitable that I would fall into anxiety attacks when faced with life changing events of my own: becoming a mother, not coping with a new-born who screamed for a year nonstop (and who still does not sleep), losing my job, finding a very high-profile job that completely overwhelmed and intimidated me, and knowing, seeing and feeling the impact all this pressure was having on my marriage and feeling powerless to do anything about it. But the biggest challenge was changing my mindset – because the only reason why I gave into anxiety, is because I really didn’t know any different.
And now I am starting to learn – I need to think God’s thoughts based on His word. Anxiety is not from God. And having an unhealthy relationship to food is not from God. And thinking that I am not coping, or that I am going to fall to pieces every time something happens, is not from God. These are not even closely based on God’s word or His truth.
And that is why it is so important to be careful what you think about.
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.
I wrote the above about three years ago on the 20th May 2014. And I am truly grateful that I have grown so much that I cannot believe just how far I have come. Yes, I know that I still have a long way to go, and I know that in one sense, we will always be growing and moving forward (or remaining stagnant and then never dealing with our issues). But, there was a point in time when I was on Paxil and I still remember clearly thinking that I will be on these tablets for the rest of my life, and that I would have to learn how to compensate for having anxiety to try not let it affect too much of my life.
And you know what?
That was all a load of baloney. Why? Because all that I need to sustain me is God – to think His thoughts, live His ways, and believe that I am His daughter. And people of God, who truly live His ways and believe His word, don’t battle anxiety. They don’t because God’s gift to us is peace! So, why do I still battle with this every now and then?
Because I don’t truly believe that His peace is meant for me. There is a part of me that still believe I am meant to battle anxiety, that I am meant to struggle like this, that this is exactly where I am meant to be. My belief is that I am an anxious person; not a daughter of the most High King. As a result I allow all these negative thoughts to float through my mind when I know better…
And after all this time, I do know better.
So, today on Gratitude Mondays, I want to express my deep and profound thanks to God, my Father, for His love and patience, but more importantly, His peace. I am truly grateful for my growth over the last couple of years and truly grateful for He is not done with me yet.