It wakes me in the night. It stops me in the day. My arms tingle. My heart beats wildly. I feel sick to my stomach. I think something is very wrong. Twice over the years I’ve ended up in the ER, thinking I was having a heart attack. Come to find out, it’s just anxiety. Just anxiety? There’s no “just” thing about it. Twice in my life now, I’ve been prescribed medication to help me overcome it. All that did was mask the symptoms and cause my life to have no valleys… but also no mountains as well. Flat line living… free from anxiety.
Living a fast-paced life with full days and too much scheduled in a day can bring it on very quickly for me. I become anxious that I won’t get everything done and will disappoint someone, starting with myself. My nights become shorter because it takes me longer to fall asleep and I awake in the wee hours… brain in full swing… anxiety lapping at my bedside. I lay there, tossing and turning until I finally get up out of sheer frustration. These sleepless nights build on one another and before I know it, I’ve let anxiety win and I’m in over my head.
I’ve learned over the years to recognize the signs. I’m learning to NOT let it take over my life. I’ve come to the conclusion that taking medication is not where I’d like to be. While everyone has to deal with it in the best way for them, I’ve decided that I prefer not to go that route. My prayer is that I never have to go there again. I’ve also learned to “never say never.”
The past year or so, I’ve worked very hard to keep my anxiety at bay. Certain parts of my life are triggers and I can get myself worked up pretty quickly. I’ve learned that I can take my shoes off and go outside and walk through the grass or the garden, connecting myself with the earth…. all the while praying to my Heavenly Father for strength and peace. That’s tough to do in the winter, so finding a quiet space all my own and sitting with my eyes to the heavens and heart directed toward Him, I’m now able to quiet my anxiety and get my thoughts on things that matter.
Just last week, I was standing at the kitchen sink, preparing lunches for the day and it hit me. That swarmy sick feeling that I’ve come to know as my anxiety, came over me. I didn’t have time for this. I was running late that particular morning, and had a day ahead of me with far too many demands on my time that I was not sure I was going to be able to handle. I knew that I needed to STOP. Into my quiet place I went. Lots of prayers, thanksgiving and deep breathing later, I felt better. I allowed the Holy Spirit to enter in and push the enemy out. A little while later, I was able to continue on with my day.
I had to let go of the fact that I was now even more behind in my day. I had to let go of the fact that I was probably going to disappoint someone during the day and probably not get everything done. I had to hold onto the fact that what I did not get done today would be there waiting for me tomorrow… and that His grace and mercies are new each day.
Every day I get to start over… fresh. Whatever did not go so well the day before…. gone! I must clear the slate every day and start anew. If not, the undone stuff… the failures and disappointments…. they build up like plaque in an artery. Where does that lead me, but to a heart attack. The exact symptoms my anxiety manifests.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
—1 Peter 5:7
I know I’m not alone. I also know that we don’t want anyone to know we suffer from this because it makes us look weak and not in control. Well, I’ve got news for you…. WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL! The more I can get my head and heart around that idea, the better off I am! God is at the helm and if we truly cast our anxiety onto Him, He WILL help us through it. This it not to say that some folks need medication for a condition far more serious than mine. Please hear that as you read this. I’m just saying that taking it to our Heavenly Father is a good starting place. For me, right now in my life, that is what is working and I’m thrilled. I’ve finally figured out that I’m worth it and don’t need to suffer… so I allow God to enter in and care for me. When I’m taking it all on… on my own… I block him out.
This weekend, we are having a powerful healing and restoration service at my church. I know that God has great healing in store for everyone who walks through those doors. My anxiety has some deeply rooted causes that I’m not even aware of. I’m excited to release those to Him this weekend and see where He takes me! It’s going to be powerful and restorative.
What causes you to feel anxious? Anxiety is NOT from God. What do you need to cast onto Him today? Do it! You won’t be disappointed.