Let me start by being really honest: Yes, I’ve been battling the pandemic-what-is-happening anxiety since it all started way back at the beginning of the year. But actually, feeling anxiety has been something I’ve dealt with ever since I can remember. I’ve always felt this little ticking bomb in my chest relentlessly whispering,
- “So what’re you going to do about that problem?
- “How is x, y, and z going to work out?”
- “What if you fail at this or that?”
- “Look out! Trouble ahead! ALWAYS!”
Feeling anxiety can happen without trying. No one tries to be anxious.
I hated it, but it was the only way I really knew life to be. I literally did not know any other way of thinking. So then, and even now, when I see everyone enjoying life, not worrying, going with the flow, I’d wonder… “What the heck is wrong with me?” Since my brain is always looking for red flags and warning signs, you can imagine what happens when something like a pandemic hits and life becomes COMPLETELY unpredictable, out of control, and without a plan. Yeah. It’s not fun– you havin fun?
(I mean…I’m not gonna lie, when this all FIRST started, I was like ameeeeen everyone stay home + do nothing + go no where + ditch your alarms + praise Jesus for introvert heaven. But that was before I knew the difficulties + feelings that would come with it.)
God will speak peace. But we have to choose it (even if we still FEEL other things like anxiety).
Even though this season (aka, this YEAR) has been really difficult in all ways, but especially in terms of comfort, planning, rest, reassurance, you name it… I KNOW that I know that I know that in the back of my mind and in the very center of my heart, God is saying things. He’s giving me little “sticky notes” of direction and reassurance in the middle of chaos. Hear me out: I can still FEEL out of control, like I’m losing my mind dealing with this mess of a situation daaaay after daaaay after friggin day, but that doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with who HE is and WHAT IS STILL TRUE.
You are NOT the only one feeling anxiety.
The enemy will try to tell you that it’s just you, and everyone is relaxing EXCEPT for you, and you’ll always be feeling anxiety because you’re the only one who can’t figure it out… Not true. I have talked with sooo many people needing prayer during this time because they are battling feelings of stress and worry, or maybe they just feel really emotionally and spiritually spent and can’t stop crying. It is NOT just you. This is a lot to deal with right now.
feeling anxiety + Spiraling is easy. Trusting God takes intentionality.
Personally, I don’t have to try to spiral. I can do that just fine all on my own, me and my concerns all wrapped up nice and snug. What takes me being proactive is choosing to trust God in the midst of WANTING to spiral.
God will speak things to you in the middle of your chaos and it’s easy to bounce back and forth between, “Thank you for that comfort, Lord” and, “I’m just self medicating. That wasn’t God speaking. Everything still sucks and I don’t see it getting better.” TRUST ME. I basically invented that tug-o-war game– but I can either choose to play it, or lean on what HE’s saying. The latter takes some grit.
“It shouldn’t be this way.” is a subtle way of saying, “God, you got it wrong. You actually DON’T know all.” and if that’s true…maybe we should all be feeling anxiety.
This pill is really hard for me to take. It’s convicting, really shocking/unsettling, and comforting/releaving at the same time. I naturally feel like something should be different, or “x” should have happened, or “y” shouldn’t have happened…. But IF any of those were true and I was right, wouldn’t they have happened? If God really does know all and has perfect timing and a perfect plan/purpose for us, saying those phrases is like saying: “God, you messed up. I know the right answer and You got it wrong.” Woah.
That’s never my HEART in saying those things, but it DOES reveal when I’m not believing that He really does know what’s best and make anything happen that’s SUPPOSED to happen. That’s where the pressure comes off– you move from feeling like all the “right things” are slipping thru your fingers to, “No, the actual right things cannot NOT happen for me because God knows and sees all including me and my life. I don’t have to control anything and I DON’T know what ‘should happen’ better than Him.”
Feeling anxiety (& following it) has never gotten me a better result
Or solved the problem, brought the solution more quickly, or allowed me to enjoy the good parts of my life. No one can enjoy their life while feeling anxiety…believe me, I know. This point seems a little obvious but I HAVE to remind myself of this constantly. Anxiety is not a necessary part of the equation towards getting an answer, but I know that doesn’t make this one easy. Because anxious responses become habit when you’re someone who has dealt with it for a while, it will take numerous times of responding to a situation without anxiety to convince yourself that it is not a mandatory part of the journey to get you to the other side.
It will take forming this new habit of: holding onto peace enough times to create trust that you don’t have to feel anxious for God to solve your problem and take care of you.
I’m not saying I’ve figured it out. It’s more: “I get you. I’m working thru it too.”
If you’re feeling anxiety too or dealing with worry/stress/fear during this season, know you’re not alone. The snippets I shared aren’t ultimate solutions or the most profound, but they’ve keept coming to mind over and over as I take this REALLY ODD time of life day by day. I’ve realized I can stuff them down and label them as “positive thinking” or I can ask God to HELP ME choose them each time. Sometimes it’s a win, other times it’s not. But He’s in each moment as it comes and goes. He knows exactly where you’re at, what you’re feeling, and what you need.