Most of my life I told myself that I did not have a problem with anxiety. I didn’t get nervous, I didn’t worry, I was never concerned about anything, I had no fear. LIES, I tell you lies, lies, lies.
Maybe when I was younger I was able to mask my anxiety by pretending I had it all together. But that’s the key word “pretend”, looking back on my life I had nothing together. I have been an internal mess (and sometimes and external mess). I suffer from anxiety.
I’ve been thinking about this and I wonder is it even possible to ever be truly free from anxiety. If I am thinking ahead about anything, technically I am being anxious.
My devotional today spoke to me about seeing anxiety in a different way. It says “Anxiety is a result of envisioning the future without God”…huh. Well said. That is about the best definition for anxiety I have have ever read.
I’ve also learned a couple things to remember as I do sometimes have to think and plan ahead:
1. My mind must not stay in the future. I can think it, plan it, jot it down and then I must return to the present. The longer I stay in the future and keep dwelling on what’s to come, the more my anxiety grows. To fight the fear I have to stay in the moment!
2. I must train myself to remember that what lies ahead may be scary or uncomfortable, but it’s not impossible…because my future is with God, he is there every step of the way. He will equip me to handle whatever lies ahead. He promised!
How can a person train themselves to remember this? For me it’s continually seeking God’s presence. I read my devotion everyday (ok let’s be real…I try to read it everyday). It doesn’t usually take me more than 5-10 minutes and there is always something to remind me of the truth..something to keep me going. The more we train our brains to focus on the truth, the more often we will go in that direction. A friend of mine once told me that she attended a conference where they talked about our brains and the pathways of information. She learned that it is possible to change the paths in our brain by repeatedly doing something. So no if, ands, or buts about it…it is possible to think about what you are thinking about and go a different direction…the key is that you have to want to redirect your thoughts.
A couple of side notes on the devotion…
1. It’s called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young…get it you will love it.
2. I am a firm believer in getting with God when it works for you. By this I do not mean when you can fit him in your schedule (you must fit him in)..what I mean is don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get up at 5 am and start everyday of your life with prayer, or if you forget to say your prayers every night before bed. Get into a groove that works for you and simply do it. When it doesn’t feel like a hassle it means so much more.
There is a passage in Luke 12:22-34 titled Do Not Worry. Read it, it’s powerful.
I do believe we can be free from anxiety.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:25-26