“I will say of the LORD, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!”
Psalm 91:2 AMP
The last couple weeks have been difficult for me. I occasionally suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a medical term that means I feel the side effects of stress and being overwhelmed in a painful physical way. Even as I write this, my chest feels tight. I am one of the fortunate ones, however. I have an amazing support system. I also have an unusual grasp on my own mental health which stems from earlier bouts with the disorder. God has blessed me, even through this pain, with a voice for those who suffer without a voice.
Over the past six weeks, I have been participating in an online Bible study of Let.It.Go. by Karen Ehman. This book came along at a great time in my spiritual development. I have been making progress in several key areas, and this book has helped catapult me to the next level by helping me relinquish control of areas of my life that should be left in God’s hands. It is an amazing book which I highly recommend.
What does this have to do with my anxiety? Everything! I like to be prepared, to see the whole journey laid out in front of me, and to anticipate the problems that might arise along the way. This can be helpful in some situations, but emotionally draining and even downright destructive to myself and others in others. While doing this study, I have finally been able to come to terms with the fact that my whole future has not been laid out in front of me. Let me explain a little. Over the past several years, I have been searching for what God wants me to do during the current and future phases of my life. However, God has other plans. He wants me to trust Him, to be a good steward of the many, many blessings He has already bestowed on me. This has led to glimpses into the preparations God is doing for my future. He has not, however, revealed what He is preparing me for. And, for perhaps the first time in my life, I am alright, even ecstatic about it. God has a plan for ME, despite my sin and my shortcomings!
Why has this led to anxiety sneaking its ugliness back into my life? While I have faith in God that He will provide, protect, and encourage me on this journey, the doubts still emerge. You are not godly enough. What do you know about being a good Christian? Why would you write a blog? You are just a mother and former math teacher. No one will identify with your struggles. You are different. You are not beautiful. You are not a good enough mother, wife, friend, or daughter. You are not chosen. Do you ever hear these voices? Perhaps your voices say different discouragements, but the effect is the same: doubt and insecurity.
I have something to share with you. This is not truth. Silence those voices with God’s promises to us. I love this picture which was posted online a short time ago. I think it summarizes God’s love for us perfectly.
I have learned the truth that Psalms 91:2 speaks: “I will say of the LORD, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!” He has brought me through so many struggles, heartbreaks, times of darkness, loneliness and hurt. He has quieted my fears with comfort and joy. He has reminded me of my worth. He is deserving of my trust! While it is sometimes difficult to not have my hands in everything, this process of becoming out of control has been liberating. I have never felt the presence of the Holy Spirit more intimately than I have recently. I still struggle and take steps backward at times, but I have learned to stop, look to the Lord and begin moving forward again.
Will this heal my anxiety? Only time will tell, but I do know this much, God’s light is always present, even though it may seem dim. The comfort I receive from God is more peaceful than any I have felt before. I know I must rely on God, even if that means to seek the help I need or the actions I need to take.
Do you suffer from anxiety or depression? You are not alone. Not only do countless others across the world suffer from this sometimes debilitating illness, the Lord sees your hurt. Recovery may be difficult, but it is possible! Please seek the help you need.
God wants us to be in community. Jesus’ ministry was not sitting around contemplating religion and higher things. He was out there, spreading the good news with all that would hear it. When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus says: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).
To all of you, reach out and show this kind of love to others today! You may never know the impact you can have on a person’s life who is in a dark place. I can never thank those who reached out to me in love enough for being God’s light.