Looking back on my childhood, I could easily say that I have always been an anxious person. Though it wasn’t until I was into my twenties that I realized that what I had was anxiety. I figured I was just nervous, afraid of the unknown, not liking surprises. Only as an adult was I able to connect the dots of all these “things” about me and say that I am an anxious person.
If you aren’t an anxious person, you might wonder what it feels like. For me there’s a few ways I feel anxiety: feeling a flutter in my chest, having to pee a lot, sweating, not wanting to do anything, over thinking and over analyzing, wanting to run away from a situation, and having my thoughts worry me so much that it reduces me to tears and exhaustion; just to name a few.
I haven’t always felt these effects of anxiety as strong as in the past year. I could clearly remember between now and last Christmas, 6 major periods of anxiety. That’s a lot for a year. More than I’m used to. There are very few things that ever cause me to lose sleep. I remember twice in the last year when I was awake because I couldn’t shut my brain off. This had never happened to me before.
What kinds of things make me anxious, you might wonder. A lot of things. Some things that are important and other things that are not. That’s one of the things that is so hard about my anxiety, I don’t always know what will trigger it. Here are some things that have caused me to feel anxious, either a little or a lot: buying things, letting my kids spend their money, conversations I’ve had and the words I’ve said, selling horses, taking health supplements, wondering if I’m hearing God correctly, showing my horse, going to new places, and making new friends. We don’t travel a lot, and one of the reasons I think I don’t want to travel is because of anxiety. We went to the Dominican Republic for my sister’s wedding. While there we went trail riding. I couldn’t enjoy the ride until I could tell we were heading back in the direction we came from. After passing so many people walking around with rifles, I was pretty sure they were going to take us into the jungle and shoot us all.
I don’t know how I could cope with being anxious if I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. I’ve written many anxious thoughts to Him in my journal and listened in prayer for where God is with me when I’m anxious. There were times when He showed me my anxiety was caused by lies I was believing about myself that simply weren’t true and the truth He spoke into my heart has changed a lot of things. There’s also times when I am so desperate for Him to speak into my anxiety and He says nothing. The Bible tells us that we don’t need to be terrified or discouraged because the Lord is with us where ever we go. So even when He doesn’t give me what I want from Him, I know He hears me and knows my heart.
A friend from cell once got the verse Philippians 4:6-7:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
I prefer the version that is on our Deeper Kids Treasure Box 25.
Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for what he has done. Then you will experience Gods peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
These words have been so true to my heart these days. In times when I feel like God isn’t meeting me in my anxiety like I want him to, I remember to be thankful, practicing writing things out in my journal that I am thankful for. I pray and tell God how I feel and then thank him for the things He has done. The peace that flows in is unexplainable, and those anxious thoughts drift away. My heart and mind have been guarded by the Lord.
If you are an anxious person, you may get frustrated with yourself for the way you are. I understand this very well. There have been times when I have told my husband, “What if I stay this way?” I’ve had to forgive myself for being anxious. Which seems weird, but it’s helped me to cope. I’ve also had to be patient in waiting the anxious times out. Often anxious thoughts don’t instantly disappear, but they slowly fade to the background and are eventually gone.
To close, I’ll leave you with a verse my cell leader got for me:
For God gave us a not a spirit of fear but of power, love and sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
By Teresa Wiens