When I get really afraid, I come to you in trust.
I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God.
What can mere mortals do? Psalm 56:3-4 MSG
I’ve always been prone to anxiety. As far back as I can remember, I have been nervous about all kinds of things — quizzes, tests, performances of any kind, up coming unfamiliar events, putting my face in water, amusement park rides, and other “stupid stuff.”
Then in motherhood — that my kids would be kidnapped, that they would be “dead in a ditch” somewhere, that I would die and some other woman (who didn’t love them near as much as me) would raise them … You moms know we could go on and on.
Even as an adult teacher, whether teaching my kids in homeschool, other kids in PK, adults in GED or ESOL classes and especially teaching the Bible in some way, shape, or form, I have struggled with nervousness, anxiety, and inadequacy.
And now in senior adulthood, there’s the waning of energies (previously counted on in younger years), current or impending debilitating illness, and eventual, sooner versus later now, death.
But more bothersome than all of that, I’ve found that anxiety creeps up on me all of a sudden … not even provoked by conscious thoughts of one kind or another. Just seemingly out of the blue! I remember my homeopathic doctor years ago telling me that the body has a “memory.” And seemingly unprovoked (consciously, that is) it can go into panic or anxiety on it’s own.
And lately, maybe because of fatigue, some new increasing age-related physical issues (dizziness, vertigo), a fall, family stresses, anxiety comes on me “all of a sudden,” even sometimes in the middle of the night. So I am getting re-schooled by my Abba Father God on what to do when this happens to me.
Long ago I quit beating myself up for being nervous and anxious. I went through a horrible period of panic/anxiety attacks when I was a young mom. And the worst part of it all was that I thought God was punishing me for not “doing” the Christian life perfectly. On top of that, I judged myself severely for even having the panic attacks to begin with. After all, mature, spiritual Christians don’t have anxiety attacks! That must mean I’m not trusting GOD! (or so I very wrongly thought!) But it was in the midst of it all that God gave me a Scripture that the Holy Spirit used to deliver me from those attacks and set my heart free:
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee
Did you notice that first word? WHEN!
Not IF, not SHAME ON YOU.
God knows that I will be afraid, nervous, anxious. This is a scary world with lots of dangers! But what He did then was give me the key, a signal (so to speak) …
My Child, when you feel that anxiety, fear, nervousness, use it as a signal to turn to ME. Focus on ME, not the anxiety!
And so I did … over and over; time after time. And I was free.
And now in my current, spontaneous, even middle of the night or early morning anxiousness, God has met me again through His indwelling Holy Spirit. The Scripture that sets me free now is one that the Lord taught me years ago, but lately it has taken on a new urgency and desperation. So even in my waking thoughts, because of the Holy Spirit reminding me that I have the mind of Christ, I almost automatically go to my Abba Father God,
…casting all my anxieties on HIM …
… because HE cares for ME!!!
Little ole anxiety-prone me!
So then HE takes my anxieties and bears them and sets me free.
And He will do that for you too, my friend. He will meet you there right IN your anxiety, panic, nervousness, and HE will speak His words of truth into your mind and soul and body.
Don’t beat yourself up — run to Him, turn to Him, cast your stuff on HIM, because He cares for little ole anxiety prone you too!
Now here is the entire passage for my current verse. I’ll loan them out to you too if you want someplace to start. And maybe in the next post we will explore our Enemy’s role in grabbing us in our anxiety.
But for now:
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.
1 Peter 5:6-11 NLT
P.S. If you have any Scriptures or stories to share with us, please do so in the comments below. We would love to hear of your own journey in and through anxiety. More next time. God bless you!