Let me start off clarifying—I am not my anxiety.
I am a Christian. I love Jesus. I trust Jesus. I teach and serve and pray in His powerful name.
Yet, I struggle with anxiety.
I get detoured by anxious thoughts that ache like a thorn in my side.
And that part can trip us up.
Because can’t a Christian just pray it away? Can’t a Christian hand it over, get over it, and be healed?
Well, in my experience—yes and no.
Yes, I’ve carried the weight of worry until it was far too heavy for me to bear. And God has been faithful to reassure me He works all things out for our good. For His glory.
Still, my personal experience tells me that worry and anxiety are not one and the same.
We mamas worry over so many things:
Whether they’re sick.
Whether they’re safe.
Whether we’re doing all the things more right or more wrong.
And that’s normal. That will send us to scripture for wisdom and relief, and we’ll find our rest.
But anxiety is different.
I am no expert but in my experience—
Anxiety has been a hyperawareness of sensations.
Anxiety will cause a physical response:
Irrational explanations that lead to panic.
It’s a mama bear’s fight or flight response gone to the extreme.
I compare it to my son’s allergies. He takes four weekly allergy injections to help weaken his body’s overreaction to pollens and dust and mold.
We all know his immune system is a good thing; it’s just a bit skewed.
The same goes for anxiety. It’s a good system gone sideways.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been nervous.
Before public speaking.
Before starting a new anything.
Yet, I clearly remember the first car ride that felt like I was suffocating as I tried hard to focus on the stripes we passed on the road.
I remember the theater performance I watched in high school when I was certain I would tumble over the balcony rail.
And I especially can’t forget asking my husband every hour if he thought our infant son’s skin looked blue after he caught a virus early on.
I prayed and asked God to take these anxious feelings away.
And He provided.
He provided support from my husband and family and friends.
He provided medication that has significantly lessened the terrible episodes in my mind.
Yet, I still struggle.
With the way things look to me.
And the way things feel.
And I still need Jesus more than anything.
He is my strength in times of weakness.
He walks with me.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be fully without anxiety in this world, but I’m confident I will not be facing it alone.
If you know someone experiencing the symptoms of anxiety, offer support, lean in and listen. If you are struggling yourself, consider scheduling an appointment with your primary doctor to talk more.
Anxiety isn’t something you can just get over.
But I can assure you, you can get help.
Previously published on the author’s Facebook page