I recently started a new job and took a personality test to help my team get to know me and understand how I work better. While taking the test, and reflecting on the results, it was evident how anxious I have become.
I knew I had anxiety. I grew up with it, and am not the only one in my family with it. I know the signs and symptoms and am, for the most part, able to navigate through it daily, so I never bothered to get it officially diagnosed.
However, while thinking about the results of this test, and what has shaped me to answer the way I did, it hit me. I live in a constant state of anxiety as a result of trauma. I am constantly looking out for the next tragedy in my life….wondering when it will be. Not IF but WHEN….so sure that another life changing event will be thrust upon me in a blink of an eye. Wondering who it will be….and will I be strong enough to get through it again? Or will it break me this time? Leaving me completely emotionally isolated and just going through the motions of life.
This is the reality of grief. My personality and who I function as are two completely different people now. I knew that once you loose such a huge part of you, you are changed, never the same person again. I just never thought I’d be THIS person.
I know this is not who I am….who I was made to be. I know that this experience was meant to draw me closer to God. I know that He holds the future and that I shouldn’t worry about it. But it is hard. In all my humanness, it is really hard. My heart knows one thing, but my head says another.
So where do we turn when we have such anxiety? We have so many outlets to choose from. I choose to turn to the Bible and meditate on what God says about fear.
“He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
That last one….that one is key. When I start to feel anxious, I need to remember to pray to God about it. Although He already knows how I am feeling, and knows the future and how things will play out, He is waiting on me to come to Him about it. He wants me to trust Him with this part of my life, this feeling.
“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
This is what He is reminding me of.
When another tragedy strikes, and it will, I don’t want it to break me down. I don’t want it to leave me in a state where I just want to be completely isolated. I want it to continue to show God working through me. How He is using me, and my circumstances to show His glory. I need to remember to pray, because God has my good in mind, and all he requires of me is trust.
God, I pray that you help me remember that You are always with me. I know that you alone hold the future in your hands, and that there is no amount of worry that will change that. I know that hardships will come. I just pray that when they do, that I fully lean into you to restore me. Lord, help me overcome this anxiety. In Your name. Amen.