Up into my 30th year of life, I was crippled and sometimes even paralyzed by anxiety and relentless worry – mostly over nothing. I was a compulsive lock-checker; WebMD diagnoser; public toilet avoider; food particle inspector; and a take-the-second-item-off-the-shelf-never-the-first shopper. At some times, my worries were so ridiculous that even I, in my irrational frame of mind, knew it; I just couldn’t stop it. I’ve spent an incredible amount of time worrying about sore throats, skin discolorations, and headaches that turned out to be nothing. Anxiety has made me late to many places and appointments. It made me avoid people and things, spend money I should have saved, and miss out on good opportunities; it made my hair fall out; and, in a significant way, it put a big fat wedge in my relationship with Christ.
Now, don’t mistake me, I knew worrying like that was wrong; I just didn’t realize I had such a lack of trust in the Lord. I mean, I have been following him a good long time, how could it be that I wasn’t trusting Him? I practically memorized every verse in the Bible about fear and worry over the years, it just wasn’t getting through to my heart. In some ways, I feel like I kept the Lord at a distance so I could continue controlling things by worrying. After-all, if I couldn’t worry, how would I stop something bad from happening? Looking back, it’s hard to believe that I viewed myself as some kind of gatekeeper – keeping the bad at bay by worrying it away. Really? Even if you’re an unbeliever, that’s just not logical. If we dig into the Word, we see very plainly that Christ knows every heartbeat of our lives, and knew even when we were being “woven together in the depths of the earth” -Psalm 139. He knows. He really, really, does.
During my final days in Corporate America, I had some down time after finishing my projects. As I was enduring all that is “busy work,” I was able to listen to some fantastic audio books and sermons. It was no surprise that most of what I was listening to had to do with the problems I’d been facing – anxiety, worry, failure to trust. I felt convicted to throw up my hands and begin trusting the Lord with EVERYTHING, not just the things I felt comfortable trusting Him with; wouldn’t you know it, my anxiety seemed to disappear right away. Sometimes, there’s still a temptation to get lost in needless worry, but now I know how to apply brute force and settle it down. He always knows what we need to hear and when. Now, naturally, my questioning spirit goes, “What took so long, Lord??? I believe in you, why did I still endure so many years of anxiety?”
Hold on tight….I think I have an idea now! I’ve heard several sermons lately about obtaining joy and a closeness to the Lord through suffering. I’ve learned that sometimes we go through trials to be brought closer to Him. I can’t help but thinking that looking to Him for the TRUTH was the WAY out that gave me a LIFE to be lived for Him and not to build an altar for my worries. In today’s sermon, we took away seven points that are incredibly important for everyone to remember, but I can see how they directly apply to the anxiety I’ve been through. I could relate to all of the points presented, but for this post, I want to share #3, “God is faithful to use our personal shortcomings for His glory.” Additionally, this point was followed by a comment that sometimes experiencing shortcomings makes us more relatable (read: we can relate to others experiencing the same thing and show them how Christ carried us through). Wow. I kind of wanted to jump up on the pew and clap after that point.
When I look at all of the people around me who have the same troubles, and there’s an abundance, I am now THANKFUL to have endured so many years of trials in anxiety; I hope I’m able to help others learn that through their worries. It’s my prayer that I’m able use these experiences to GLORIFY God by encouraging others to seek His grace and mercy in their darkness. Thank you, Lord, even for the trials.
If you’re consumed with anxiety today, please know that Christ not only knows the depths of your heart, but He also has your back like He had mine all along. He really, really, did and He does.
How can I pray for you today?
This post is linked up to Grace Laced Mondays and Better Mom Mondays.
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