What is anxiety? The dictionary definition classifies it as ” a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. ” Most of us who struggle with anxiety agree with that statement. But most of the time, the anxiety can be almost constant; not just about a certain upcoming event or something that you are aware is going to happen and not sure what the result will be. Sometimes it is about a conversation you had months ago, or going to work, worrying you don’t know how to do your job. And I speak from experience.
I’m 22 years old now, but my anxiety really started when I was about 12 or 13. Right when life was getting confusing, and right when I was learning more about myself and how to be comfortable in my own skin. Perfect timing right? Anyways, when my anxiety hit an all time high ( and this is where I get real vulnerable and real with ya’ll) I developed a borderline eating disorder and started having some serious bouts of OCD. Now, as a 12 year old kid I shouldn’t have had to worry about that stuff. I shouldn’t have had a voice in my head saying,” don’t eat that, you’ll gain weight” as I looked at a cupcake or cookie at a family get together. I wanted to be healthy, but my version of healthy was just don’t gain weight. The monster in my head twisted every little thing. The worst part about this was not just that it was there, it was because I listened to it. The first stepping stone to defeating the monster in your head, is understanding that everything it tells you are lies. And believe me that is far easier said than done, but it’s a start.
I say it’s a start, because I still fight on a daily basis to defeat that monster and quiet the lies that threaten to overtake my happiness and joy for life. I’ve had that happen before and I vowed to never let that happen again. Nobody, regardless, if it is a monster in your head, or an average joe on the street…NO ONE, should get that much power. I continue to hope, that by sharing my story, I will be able to reach someone else that is going through something similar and help them realize that they are not alone. That you should continue to fight, because that monster doesn’t deserve a victory…you do.
This all ties into a sermon I recently listened to from Elevation Church called “WHY AM I ANXIOUS?” That is what actually prompted me to write this post. It was that good. It was all based off of Psalm 139.
” You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” This is the first verse…THE FIRST VERSE! Like wow…
That verse ties into this next part.
I am still battling this on a daily basis, but everyday I get a little stronger and realize that God is the only One that my mind should be focused on.
I care deeply about what other people think. To the point of obsessing over conversations long after they are over to make sure I didn’t offend anyone with what I said. That is one of the root causes of my anxiety, so when he preached on Psalm 139 and this was the first verse I was like, okay, this is for me. And I hope this gives you some encouragement too.
Basically what I took away from that verse was that it doesn’t matter what other people think. All that matters is what God thinks about me, knows about me, and what I think about myself. He knows the very intricate parts of our being. He knows our heart, our desires, our want to do good in this world to further His kingdom. It doesn’t matter what other people think or believe about you. God loves us all so much and we don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Something I am understanding and realizing a little more each day.
One of the things he said that really stuck out to me was this:
“The devil wants to turn the place that was meant to be your playground where you could enjoy God, into a battleground where you can’t even feel or experience Him.” Our own minds, instead of being a place where we can have a joyous imagination or enjoy thinking about something that makes us happy, turns into a place that destroys our peace. It truly is unfortunate that the devil tries to run our lives this way. That’s why we have to take a stand against him. We have to destroy that monster in our head.
One of the ways I chose to do this is to do a social media fast. This is still ongoing. 🙂 I started on Sunday and I decided not to put a time limit on it. God ignited something in my heart and I didn’t want it to feel like this was on my time. God placed the desire on my heart to take a step back from social media and really focus on the magnitude of what HE has for my life. And I decided there should not be a time limit for that.
I have noticed such an immense amount of peace associated with this particular fast over the past couple days. I’m not just aimlessly scrolling, filling my mind with the pictures of other people’s “perfect” lives. I’m living my own now. I’m trying to have a full understanding of what God has for my life and I’m coming before him with my heart abandoned and with arms outstretched. I can’t be submissive to Him while my mind is filled with so many unnecessary distractions. Through this, I’m trying to clear my mind and be fully focused on my Lord, Jesus Christ. He deserves my full attention.
This is my story and I challenge everyone who comes across this blog, to breathe and take a step back. Why might your mind be fighting with you? Have you taken the time to pray today? Have you taken the time to be still? Have you taken the time to eat, to sleep, to take care of you? I like to think that our minds move as fast we do. If we don’t slow down, how can our minds?
To end, I just want to say keep it up. Keep fighting. There is a reason they call this hell. But don’t let that monster win. We have such an amazing arsenal of resources at our fingertips. Use them. Talk to a therapist. Talk to your family. Talk to God. And in the end, just be still. Breathe. You can defeat this monster. It may be a daily thing, but as long as you’re fighting, he doesn’t stand a chance. You are God’s precious child. Remember that.