|Yup. I always look this fabulous when I'm |
Sometimes it gets pretty bad, actually. I'm sure most of you know the feeling--when you're having a miniature panic attack, and your scalp and ears start tingling with heat, and your stomach is roiling around, and you feel sure you're either going to vomit or fly apart at the seams in a matter of moments.
Now, thankfully, it's rare that I have panic attacks. Often I fret about things that aren't truly that momentously significant, so I'm usually able to repress anxiety when it comes, at least to the point that it doesn't hinder me physically. Spiritually, however, it's a different matter.
You see, I pick at myself, like most girls my age, and I pick at a lot of different aspects of myself--physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc.
I worry over whether I'm too self-absorbed (which I probably am).
I worry over whether I don't have enough faith because I do still have questions (which is slightly ridiculous).
I worry over whether I idolize stories (which I might).
I worry over whether I am making any difference in the world for the better (which I hope I am).
I worry over whether I'm not "sold out of Jesus" enough (which is most likely true).
And then I worry over whether these failings have caused God to cease loving me (which is not true).
I think that since I am not as passionate about my faith yet as I probably should be, I am an utter failure and that God looks at me with disappointment in His eyes and heaves a deep sigh of "Oh, wow. I've gotta go deal with her now." All these doubts and fears and insecurities swirl around and around and kick up a choking cloud of anxiety, which works itself into a tightly-wound knot in my heart, preventing me from moving forward in my walk with the Lord, and preventing me from experiencing the "peace that transcends all understanding."
But. Then God will slowly, faithfully begin to unravel the cords in that knot, releasing my heart from that stagnating pressure and revealing to me, whether through the words of another person, the lyrics in a song, a quote from a book or movie, or a passage of Scripture, that He's got me. And what's more, He has every intention of holding onto me in spite of my flaws.
One such instance was occurring a couple days ago. I had worked myself up into a miserable mess, and then I started reading Psalm 139. Several verses stood out to me, and I'll talk about them in a minute, but what finally initiated a glorious release of stress was when I read the final two verses. I'd read these several times before, but that moment, they grabbed hold of me with a simple truth and a simple petition:
"Search me, O God, and know my
test me and know my anxious
See if there is any offensive way
and lead me in the way everlasting."
It was really quite something; all of a sudden I was liberated. This could be my prayer. I certainly do not "have it all together" when it comes to relationship with Christ, but, I realized, that's okay. Sanctification is a lifelong process, from what I've read, heard, been told, can see in the Bible. God says that He will "carry [His work in us] on until the day of Christ Jesus." We can relax, people. That doesn't mean we don't have to continue to work out our salvation, goodness no, but it's okay to not be perfect right now. I've decided that, when worries come and guilt attacks me for my weaknesses, I will strive to more often 1) repent, ask God for His forgiveness, and believe He has granted it when I do mess up, and 2) pray those verses when I'm not sure whether I'm living in wrong patterns. "See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting…" I believe He will!
Another aspect of anxiety that often threatens to overwhelm me is the uncontrollably downward slope on which this world seems to be. The news (which I make a point of not ingesting too often, in an attempt to prevent said anxiety attacks) continues to tell us nothing but bad news. Terrorist groups are apparently still very much alive and kicking; horrendous persecution is being practiced on the people in the Middle East; our world is crumbling and our nation refuses to turn to God, and I just want to flee into the Withywindle Valley and hang out with Tom Bombadil and Goldberry and shut out the world's chaos and terror (which really wouldn't work, because Tom and Goldberry don't shut out the world in the first place). In many ways, it seems that the end times are upon us, and frankly, I feel like Frodo. "I wish it had not happened in my time." (Whereupon I must remember Gandalf's blessed response to that!)
I torture myself by entertaining countless what-ifs and whys and worst-case scenarios and what-if-I-do-such-and-such to "escape" from the madness? Psalm 139 again.
"If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,'
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You."
I talked a little more about these subjects in another post, but the main thing I have to remember is that God really is in control. In the end, He will create new heavens and a new earth, and He promises that what we endured in this lifetime, whatever it might be, will not be remembered. So it really will be okay, whatever happens, won't it?
It's important for you guys to remember this, people, whenever the awful stuff that can and does happen in this world is dragging you into a swamp of fear and despair:
does not make
(Okay. I am so rambling, it's not even funny. But "stay with me, I'm tryin' to make a point.")
|Be happy and think on beautiful things, like fairies|
and twilit woods and quiet streams and
Lord of the Rings and whatever floats
is faithful. He keeps lovingly prying me away from my desperate worry and reminding me to "not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present [my] requests to [Him]." And God loves you in spite of your quirks. He created you, and He already knows all your predispositions and your strengths and your weaknesses. Psalm 139 says that He is "familiar with all [our] ways." And you know what? He still loves you. And He still loves me. And that, my dear patient readers, is enough. It is enough to conquer the anxiety, whatever it may be about. It is enough to conquer the insecurity. It is enough to conquer the doubt.
"O Lord, you have searched me
and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I
You perceive my thoughts
(May I just say, if you read all the way to the end of this spiel, kudos to you!)