I battle with anxiety every day.
Whenever I get overwhelmed or unclear about something, it feels like a rope is being tightened around my neck. It becomes hard to breathe, I break out into a sweat, and my stomach begins to flip.
Ladies and gentlemen – these are the symptoms of an anxiety attack.
I realize that the real reason that I am having anxiety attacks is when I feel that the problem before me is bigger than my control. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am a *big* control freak. I love having to do lists – even if I don’t do the things on the list. I love having multiple plans just in case my initial answer to a problem doesn’t work out. I love feeling at the very least that I have my hand on top of the situation instead of the situation sitting and suffocating me.
The reality is that this isn’t always the case.
Life isn’t cookie cutter and there are plenty of things that I never anticipate happening that actually catch me unaware. There are plenty of moments that if I could control them, they wouldn’t happen or there would be a solution to handling. But life isn’t like that.
This is why I’m grateful for God. He reminds me daily that although *I* can’t control things, even though I may get into an anxious mode and begin to lose hope at problems that surround me, I have access to God – a being that is all powerful, all knowing, and all up in my business lol (Isaiah 44:24 NLT) .
I remember the first time I learned of God as an all knowing calm in my life. I just lost my grandmother and I felt overwhelmed with life around me. I felt hopeless. I didn’t know if I would or could finish school. I didn’t know how bills would get paid or if my mom and I would be okay since my grandmother was superwoman. One night, I woke up in a cold sweat – I had begun to develop anxiety that the electricity would be turned off, the cable turned off, the water turned off. I began to become afraid that in the morning, I would discover that something had happened to another family member or even worse – me.
That night, I woke up and I spoke to God in a low tone. I could barely speak. My stomach was turning, the sweat was falling, and I could barely breathe. In between breaths, I cried out to God to help me. And then literally the scripture from Phil. 4:6-7 dropped in my heart and mind, immediately soothing me:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
At the time, I didn’t know the scripture by heart so I had to google the first part to find out if it was indeed scripture lol. I looked it up and began to recite that over and over until my mind was at ease. I went back to sleep so much more comforted than when I originally woke up. Whenever anxious thoughts would flood my mind, I would recite them back to myself or write them out. The peace of God really comes over me each time I say or write those words.
Look at all the action that are in the above verses. “Do not worry”, “Pray”, “Tell”, “Thank” – that’s what we are supposed to do in these situations. Nowhere in there does it say “handle”. I had to accept that as truth for myself. Deciding not to worry but instead to pray to God, tell God everything, and thank God for the truth of my current realities instead of resting in the uncertainties of the issues in front of me …that’s what I’m called to do. What are the truths in my current situation? After that, God goes to work. God’s peace goes to work and begins to guard my heart and my mind. Two areas where anxiety loves to take residence. But first, we have to choose to act – don’t act in the situation but instead act by going toward God first.
I challenge you to be cautious about where you allow your emotions to settle you. I have to challenge myself everyday. Despite the situations around you, please believe that you have power over how you feel. Anxiety aims to strip us from believing that we still have power because of how the situations we see in front us make us feel. You have power over what decisions you make. You also have power over the words you speak. What words are you speaking over yourself? What places are you allowing your thoughts and words to take you …and keep you?
Speak positive things over your life so that you can curb anxiety, fear, doubt, low self-esteem, pain…anything that is keeping you from experiencing peace and comfort. You were not created to just live in problems. God didn’t create you to be anxious but to be an answer to a problem in the world today. YOU are someone’s answer…you, yourself, all of you – you are so much bigger in scope than your worries will try to keep you from seeing.
What’s the word? Faith. Completion. Overcoming. Strength. Love. Peace.
Speak those words over your life, believe them, meditate on them and watch your life become an answer. Sis, YOU ARE THE ANSWER! [Repeat that 100x!! I AM THE ANSWER.]