,I just want to share a little about my struggles. You are not alone.
I have always been a nervous person. I can even remember having nerves when I was a child. I can picture myself, walking into my first day of dance classes for the year, (not even my first classes ever) and feeling nervous to the point that it affected me physically. I had to use the bathroom several times before I could go in the room, and my stomach felt as if it were twirling and whirling just like a dancer.
I was also the kid that asked my parents if the doors were locked. Every. Single. Night. In my town of 2000 people. Any noise in the dark sent me out of my bedroom to ask my dad to check on it. Yes, I have always been "on edge."
Fast forward 25 years or so, and anxiety is still with me. I can usually stay on top of it as long as its friend, "Stress," doesn't accompany it. The two of them can do a number on me.
This fall, harvest time for my family, as you know, I had a particularly annoying encounter with the devastating duo. The harvest season brings stress to a head, as my husband works around the clock to beat the weather, and I work around the clock to keep our kids functioning in their own schedules.
The stress and anxiety attacked. My appetite decreased and my stomach acid increased. I felt yucky most of the time. I was not able to exercise like I wanted. I felt tired a lot. My body and my mind were under attack.
And I was done.
I sought the wisdom of my doctor. (And luckily, she is so wise.) We agreed to try to increase my anxiety medication and try a probiotic to help my stomach. But she said, "You will never get rid of that stomach acid if you can't get rid of that anxiety. Your body will just continue to secrete adrenaline which then makes more stomach acid."
Yuck, I got it. I needed to stop battling anxiety. And if you noticed above, you read that I said "increase" my medication. Yep, I was already on something. Birthing three children sure messes with your body and your mind! But realistically, sometimes battling anxiety does necessitate medication. And there is no shame in that! God created doctors who created these medications to help us. I think it's okay to take advantage of that.
But on the other hand, I still felt anxious at times. My smart mother said to me, "Have you ever asked God about why you have anxiety? Maybe He's trying to teach you something."
I had prayed, of course, that God would help me feel better, but I had not prayed asking Him what I could learn from my anxiety. My mom opened my eyes.
I shared this with a mentor of mine, and she agreed with my mom. All three of us began praying about it. In no time, God answered me.
I mentioned it in my last blog. God asked me, "What are you thinking? How are you going to be fruitful without me? How are you going to do all that you want without me?"
He was calling me to more. My anxiety opened my eyes. I needed Him so much, and greater still, I needed communication with Him. God was calling me to a devoted prayer life. Since I have been doing what He called me to do, I have been victorious over my anxiety.
Since that revelation, I have began reading a couple of books about anxiety, and you know what I discovered? Many, many people struggle with anxiety and fear in one way or another. Let's be honest about that! There is no shame. God was prepared for this! One of His most used phrases is, "Do Not Be Afraid!" He knows that humans are prone to worry.
One book has been incredibly helpful to me and offers practical ways to combat anxiety. It is Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado. The book is fabulous, easy to read, and encouraging; I highly recommend it! He uses Philippians 4:6-7 as an action plan to fight worry and fear.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Lucado's action plan is the acronym CALM: Celebrate God's Goodness, Ask God for Help, Leave Your Concerns with Him, and Meditate on Good Things.
Such practical application in this book! Check it out if you struggle with fear and anxiety, like me! Really helpful!
My reason in telling you my story is so we can all feel we are not alone. Our minds are a battle ground. Our enemy wants our thoughts to NOT go to God. Our enemy wants us to feel worried. When we live in a state of fear, we are not effective at what God called us to do. That makes our enemy happy.
But can I remind you of this truth?
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."
I love that verse. In other versions (like NKJ) it says "sound mind" instead of "self-discipline." Our mind is not to be consumed with fear, anxiety or worry. God's Spirit gives us power over them, and He gives us a sound mind.
What do we have to give Him? Control. I could explain it for fifty paragraphs, but I think one line from the song "In Over my Head" by Bethel says it the best.
"Then you crash over me and I've lost control but I'm free."
Exactly. We give God control, which is hard, but in turn we are free from fear and worry and anxiety.
Praise God! This battle with anxiety is one I, we, can win! Give Him control, pray, and chains will be broken!
See below for a chance to win a copy of Max Lucado's book: Anxious for Nothing!
Hi, I'm Kristen! Just a girl who loves all things Jesus, family, music and food!
For previous posts, click here.