So the last few weeks for me have felt quite hard. A real struggle trying to keep anxious thoughts and feelings at bay.
Generally I am not an anxious person but every now and then it comes and it overwhelms and terrifies me consuming everything. I struggle to engage properly and in my head I take every situation/part of my life to the worst case scenario from death to jail (irrational I know!) to losing my job.
90% of the time it is triggered by work, which is in a large part rooted in the past (litigation is probably not the career for you if you are prone to worry!!!), but it then spirals into every other area of life. A few weekends ago after a lovely weekend away we drove home and within hours I had convinced myself I had not locked the cottage up that we had been staying in so in the middle of a crazy storm I drove all the way back to find that yes of course I had locked it up but that on the 45 minute drive back I felt all the stuff of the past – the loss, the fear swirling under the surface.
What if he dies too?
What if I lose my job and can’t pay the bills?
What would I do without them?
How do I keep her safe?
I know none of these things root in anything of any substance, because life is in a good place, but in those times a darkness comes which I can’t shake and whilst I sit and rationalise still those feelings of panic feel bigger.
A few days later a colleague said to me “What is going on because you are not ok are you.” I was honest with him and said I felt really anxious and he simply responded saying “It is ok. We all have these times.” It helped!
Now I am fortunate because it always passes, and peace returns, there are always people there who will listen, reassure, speak sense, pray for me and with me and I have arms that hold me tight and don’t let me go. Those things help but they don’t take it away.
I am a big believer in speaking things out loud, that by saying the words the fears and worries somehow lose some of their power.
I am learning to handle these times better when they come because actually I know there is only one truth that makes any sense in the midst of it all.
I AM NOT ALONE. HE IS BIGGER. HE IS GREATER. HE MAKES A WAY WHEN I FEEL LIKE THERE IS NO WAY.
A couple of weeks ago I was getting ready to go out for dinner but I could feel the panic swirling in me and I knew I had to get my eyes on the only one who could calm me, so I sat with a journal looking back through my phone at things I had saved last time I had been through this and just wrote and spoke these truths out and over me:
- God is fighting your battles, arranging things in your favour and making a way even you don’t see a way.
- Shout Hosanna over every fear.
- “He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge.” Psalm 91 vs 4
- God loves me (and he loves you). God is on my side (and he’s on your’s). He is coming after me (and you too). He is relentless.
- “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” Isaiah 41 vs 10.
- “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5 vs 7
- “THE LORD WILL FIGHT YOU; YOU NEED ONLY TO BE STILL.” Exodus 14 vs 14
The truth helps. It brings hope. It brings safety. It brings peace.
I know life at times can be a battle and sometimes that battle feels harder than other times but I also know the battle is won, and that the one who is victorious is on my side, for me, making a way for me – the one who created the world, holds me in his hands. I may not always get it, I may not always understand how or what or why, but I know he will never let me go, that he is faithful.
Then I worshipped because in the hard moments it is sometimes the only response I have – it is again a way of surrendering it to him.
Then I wondered whether maybe today someone else needed to hear these words too. That you aren’t alone. That it will be ok. That it will pass. But above all that he loves you, that he’s bigger than it all and that he will make a way.