I have always been an anxious soul.
It seems to be in my nature and for a long time I thought that it would have to be something I lived with. I thought that I would have to get used to because that is how I have been created. I am anxious; therefore, I must learn to conceal it.
So I tried to conceal it and refused to acknowledge it as a pet sin. As I sought to fight against perfectionism and crushing negative self-talk, I never acknowledged what was underlying both of those things. I just accepted the anxiety and all of its trappings as a natural outcropping of myself.
But then, on one of the nights that I was awake until 2:00 A.M. simply because I was unable to close my eyes because of all of my fear, the Holy Spirit grabbed a hold of me.
“You were not made for this”
Conviction. The Holy Spirit spoke into to me and I knew. I knew that all of that time pointing at my perfectionism and self-doubt as being the issue I had been refusing to acknowledge the true monster underneath. Because anxiety is sin with all of it’s ugly trappings.
God did not create me to stay awake terrified until 2:00 A.M.
God did not create me to be afraid of speaking out.
God did not create me to doubt the love of the people that have loved me the fiercest.
God did not create me to be terrified of disappointing.
God did not create me to be held captive.
So often I had prayed Psalm 139:23-24:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
I wanted God to show me what sin I had in my life that offended Him, but when he kept pointing at my fear and anxiety I refused to give it up to Him. I held it close because it was constant. I could always count on the anxious pit in my stomach. I could always fall back on my anxiety and fear because it was always there never changing.
But isn’t Jesus supposed to be my constant? The answer is yes.
Jesus alone is the Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). If Jesus is truly my Lord, if He truly controls my life, then why do I feel like I need something else?
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30
That was the question that killed me. In one moment I realized that Jesus, the One and Only Son, did not have the love of my heart. It was divided between an unholy pairing of Jesus and Anxiety, and Anxiety was winning over my affections. Jesus had offered me rest and peace and I had chosen over and over to hold on to my ugly sin.
So what to do? Scripture is crystal clear that anxiety has no place in the life of a Christian, and it had such a hold over me. Immediately, I repented. After all, the Christian life is one of constant repentance.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” ~ Philippians 4:6
But about my every day life? How do I combat Anxiety in my life? Scripture. That is the only answer I have.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
When I feel the anxiety welling up inside me. When I feel myself slipping into my comfortable space of sin. The only thing I know is to speak Truth to myself and pray. This is a comfortable sin for me, but Christians are called out of their comfortable spaces to follow Jesus with utter devotion. That is what I want. I want Jesus to have the love of my whole heart and that is more important to me than any anxious thought.