For the last almost year I have been coping with anxiety. Originally I thought it was just situational stress. I was working full time at a church and still operating my content business mostly full time from home. I assumed the pace of it all had just finally taken its toll on my mind and body. (Church planting is hard y’all.) I was gaining weight (rapidly), and I had this constant feeling that all the plates I was spinning were about to come crashing down.
I decided (after much prayer and conversation with important people in my life) to transition out of my church job and go back to working from home as a full time writer. But the anxiety didn’t stop. Again, I just chalked it up to the stress of the season. We were renovating my dad’s home that was filled with mold and it was like a money pit. And in the midst of all that, he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. That would stress anyone out, right?
But even after we discovered how to live life in the new normal with him, the anxiety was there. My blood pressure would spike for no reason. I lived with constant chest pain. I woke up with my mind racing, but not about anything specific. It was like a current of electricity running through my mind and body at all times.
I wasn’t worried though, if that makes sense. I’m not actually a worrier by nature. If something is out of my control, I just accept that it is what it is and move on. (If I think I CAN fix it, however, you can bet I will sure try though, lol.)
True to my type-A googling self, I looked up my symptoms, and the powers of google suggested maybe my caffeine consumption was high. WHICH IT WAS! Could that be my problem? So I cut out almost all of my caffeine, and just to be safe, had a complete physical, including a very thorough cardiac workup. Turns out my heart was fine, my body was fine, my blood pressure was fine.
My mind, however, was not okay.
Though I am writing this in the past tense, I am still struggling with anxiety. I feel a sense of unrest. Constant unrest.
Anxiety disorders run in my family, so I understand how out-of-balance brain chemicals and past trauma can affect us. Hear me say that if you struggle with anxiety or any other mental illness, I get that it’s physical and real. I also believe that we are spiritual beings in a physical body living in a physical world. There is a constant battle between those things, the spiritual and the physical.
For me, I have been feeling as though my soul is off balance in some way.
As I was sitting in church a few weeks ago, one of our pastors said, “Is anxiety holding a place in your spirit that belongs to God?”
I wanted to scream, “YES. IT IS.”
Since that Sunday, whenever I feel anxious I say, “The place being held by this anxiety belongs to God.” In the moment, it settles me because I believe there is power in spoken truth.
This morning I sat down with my Bible to pray for a friend and as soon as I touched the Word, I felt this immediate peace course through my veins, much in the same way anxiety has felt. I sat silently for a few minutes just drawing comfort there.
Then I opened it to the book of Luke and I read, “… it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, so you may know the exact truth …” Just as there is power in the spoken truth, there is power in the written truth. So today I am writing it down.
I don’t want anxiety to be a part of my daily life. I want the peace of God. In the physical and spiritual realm, those things are at odds with each other. I can’t think my way out of anxiety. I can’t rationalize it and make it better. But I can draw comfort from allowing the spirit of God to fill my soul and my mind, revealing truth to me, and leading me to the peace I need.
So I say to you today, if anxiety is holding a place in your spirit that belongs to God, begin to speak truth over yourself. Allow His spirit and that truth to replace the anxiety.