Ya’ll, let’s talk about a topic that most people do not necessarily like to talk about…Anxiety! I know that A LOT of us experience it on a daily basis but there are some that don’t or are new to the feeling. I guess, I can say that I am very familiar with Anxiety, I have battled with it for as long as I can remember. The worst part about Anxiety is that I don’t always know when it is going to hit, but when it hits me, it literally “HITS” me! It is that elephant sitting on my chest, can’t catch my breath, room shrinking around me feeling….. It is rough! I can be sitting at home alone and just think about something sad or stressful and that emotion floods over me, or I am walking around Busch Gardens with my family and it feels just a little too crowded… and I start to panic! I don’t remember when it all started, all I can seem to piece together is that it started with little things; stress, the need to fit in, comparison to others and then those things grew! Plus, life gets bigger and when life is bigger, your stresses just grow with it.
So with all the stress and fear in the world right now, how do we even stand a chance? How does someone like me who stresses about the smallest things stand a chance? We are truly living in the unknown. We don’t know what is going to happen next, and being someone that suffers with OCD, that does not cut it for me. I try to stay positive and try to remain thankful for what I have. I focus on that fact that all of this craziness is really not affecting MY family drastically. I mean, I am getting more time with my husband, more time to let my son move at his pace with school work. I am able to finish projects that I would normally be “too busy” for! I am thankful for those things, but then……. I turn on the TV, or pick up my phone to check and see what “new thing” I am going to have to share on Facebook, and I am hit with the devastation that is really going on in the world! So I start to feel guilty, I start to think, “Wow! You are just living in a bubble and you should do more!” And then, the elephant shows up to plant his big ole’ tush on my chest, and the room (that is a relatively good size) suddenly feels like a coat closet. I lose my positivity and my thankfulness and I am in a dark place! I try to change my perspective, so I look up the CDC website and I am met with “Ways to Cope With Stress”……. Their list starts like this: Take deep breaths, stretch, eat healthy and drink plenty of water. As I am reading this list, I still can’t help but think about the person that doesn’t have a job to provide for their family, or the nurse, who happens to be a single mom, who is juggling her busy schedule and putting herself in harm’s way and still trying to homeschool her kids. I think about the poor 2020 High School Senior that will not have a prom, graduation, or experience any of those important milestones that we all remember so well, or not so well… (I had a terrible prom)… never mind, I digress. I think about my dear friend who just had to lay his father to rest without being able to have a memorial service or even be in the hospital with him during his last hours on this earth. I’m sorry CDC, your list is not working! So what do we do? If you are predisposed to anxiety and depression like I am or even if you are not, and are getting your first taste of it now, what do we do? What is the answer, and what does it all mean?
I think it is easy to get caught up in the need for an explanation, but the truth of it is, we are not meant to know. Bridging the gap between that sickening feeling of anxiety is not always easy but I don’t think we are meant to have all of the answers. We have Jesus! Jesus is the only answer that we really need! In Phillippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” In this scripture we are given clear instruction to pray about what is on our hearts that is causing us to worry, but then leave it there. In the famous words of Elsa, “LET IT GO!” This is not our battle! It is a battle that has already been fought and won for us! We already have salvation. We have no need to worry nor to fear the best or worst outcomes. We have Jesus! We have eternal life.
So, in closing, all I can do is encourage you to have hope! Hope in what is to come and faith in what has already happened. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”