I want to be completely transparent with y’all, so I’m just going to say it. I have been anxious about writing this blog post on anxiety. Anxiety has been like that one boy that just won’t leave you alone and take a hint but keeps on showing up despite you shooing them away. That is my relationship with anxiety, unwanted. Anxiety is the biggest joy stealer in my life and I give it the power to do that.
Here are some facts on anxiety from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in America and effects 40 million adults each year in the US
- 1% of children between the ages of 13-18 are affected by anxiety disorders
- 15 million American adults suffer social anxiety disorder
- Women are twice as likely to have generalized anxiety disorder
Facts & Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
There is a battle in our brain. These statistics prove it. This is urgent. The worst trick our brain plays on us is that it tells us that we are completely alone and no one else feels the way I do. Well, I am here to say that is a lie and those numbers prove it. 40 million other adults feel anxious walking into a room full of people, stress about the future, and many other things. I am not happy that the number is so high but there is comfort knowing that others feel the way I do.
Isn’t it ironic that we stress ourselves out to create the image that we are stress free? Y’all, it is tiring trying to do that. If you stress about change that is okay; pray about it. If you suffer social anxiety that is okay; pray about it. If daily stresses of life are taking over you it is okay; pray about it. If you are stressing about the future it is okay; pray about it. If you are stressing about money, housing, a job, transportation, or food it is okay; pray about it. If you are stressing about school it is okay; pray about it.
I love this verse because it is so direct. The verse is saying PRAY. Y’all wake, pray, and slay (I had to, I love those shirts haha). Talk to god about your struggles and be real with him. He cares so much about you and wants to take it away. He wants you to fearlessly walk with him. He cares about the condition of your heart and the thoughts you are thinking. If you feel anxious pray about it. I remember so many times I was anxious going to my church’s 6 o’clock service because I had no friends, didn’t feel cool enough to be there, and the boy I liked had no idea I existed. Every time I would drive to church for 6 o’clock service I would feel a pit in my stomach and I remember praying to god to take care of me and take that feeling away. Guess what? As soon as worship started my anxiety would go away. I was in the presence of god and that brought me immediate peace. That happened more times than I can count. God cares about the small things and the big things.
Personally, I think anxiety swoops into our lives when we feel a lack of security and in moments we are most vulnerable. When we feel no security that is when we try to create our sense of security by overthinking. We try to think of the all the possible outcomes for a situation, which only makes us go crazier when it does not work out like it did in our head. When we feel most vulnerable is usually when we are not walking by faith but rather sight. Being a believer that is not a proud statement. The bible tells us to walk by faith and not by sight but in reality we don’t always do that. When we start looking at our current circumstances and take our eyes off of the mission god has placed before us is when we are most vulnerable. We go into a panic, start trying to reason, being filled with doubt, and the worst of all is when we try to understand God’s ways. We try to predict his timing, his thoughts, and his greater/bigger plans. Stop trying to be god; we are oh so very bad at it. God is soooo good at being god. When we try to be like god, I think that is when we get full of anxiety because we were never meant to take on that role or that responsibility.
Y’ALL, THERE IS GOOD NEWS.
“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.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Learn this verse. Believe these words.
This is one of those verses that you need to constantly speak over your life. This is the verse that slaps anxiety in the face and says you are not welcomed here.
- God has a plan for me. He has thought about me and will place opportunities in my life. It is my choice to follow him. Following him will not be easier and stress free but it will be more fruitful and nourish my soul. I will have to make sacrifices and change will always be present. Anxiety will not control which path I choose to take.
- God has a plan for me to prosper and not to harm me. Everything good in my life is from god and everything bad is a product of the flesh. Although the tough and struggling times (that bring a whole bunch of stress) will be used for good. God does not take pleasure in seeing you struggle, feel hurt, feel helpless, or feel unwanted. Anxiety will rightfully take ownership of all of that. His love for you is so abundant and none of us is second or third or fourth place to god. We all have his attention and love and grace. You will not just do well, but you will prosper.
- God has a plan for my future and will give me hope. God is good at being god. Lay it on him and he will show up by giving you hope. He will not abandon you. God has a plan and already has it in motion for you. His plans are way better than yours (I say that with 100% confidence too).
I challenge you to speak this verse when you are feeling anxious. Anxiety is a sticky hot mess and we all go through it. Mine started in elementary school and I still struggle with it at times (I just graduated college). I find myself stressing over mundane things and things I cannot control. God has the power to bring peace to situation with just his presence or just with one single word. Remember he is much bigger than our current situations.
I adore y’all and pray that these words can help.