Dear beautifully brave you,
First of all, anxiety is real.
I understand that because the honest truth is that I deal with anxiety too. I never would've expected myself to, nor would I have admitted it to myself at first. I was fine, I would tell myself, anxiety does not control me.
But it does.
I write this now not because I have it all figured out and under control, but because I know I don't have to "have it all together" to speak truth to you. To speak truth to myself.
Yes, anxiety is so real. The way it gets difficult to breathe is real. The way your heart starts racing and your palms feel sweaty is real. The way you feel numb inside is real. The way you can look fine on the outside, but inside you're fighting an unseen battle is real.
The way anxiety steals your peace, the way it steals your present moment, the way it steals your joy, it's all real.
The reason I'm telling you it's real is because you need to admit it to yourself to move on.
My anxiety is real.
But my anxiety does not have to control me.
Yes, there it is. The truth that your soul has been missing for so long.
Although your anxiety is real, it does not have to control you, because it does not own you. You belong to Someone greater than your anxiety.
The God who loves you is bigger than the anxiety controlling you right now. The God who loves you is greater than any struggle you will ever face, including anxiety.
I think of the disciples so long ago in Mark chapter 4. I think of the night when the waves and the wind beat into their boat and they feared for their lives. I wonder if any of them had just a little bit of anxiety. After all, they thought they were going to die.
And then Jesus.
Jesus rose in the middle of the storm and rebuked the waves and the wind and said, "Peace, be still," and the sea was calm (vs. 39).
I think about this and I think that sometimes my anxiety feels like a great windstorm. Like the waves and the wind beating in my heart and I'm powerless to stop it.
The disciples were powerless too.
But you know what?
Jesus didn't tell them to get up and work harder or try harder to keep the water out of the boat. He said "Peace, be still."
And the truth is that I think His words were meant as much to the disciples as they were to the waves.
Have peace. Be still here. I will fight this battle for you.
I wonder what I have to do to fight this anxiety. I wonder what I have to do to control it. And I see the answer in 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV).
"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."
That's the answer? Give the anxiety to Him?
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5 NKJV)
As simple and as crazy as it may seem, the truth is that we don't have to figure out our anxiety all on our own because there's a God who cares for you and wants to take it for you. He wants to stand up to the waves and wind in your heart and quiet them. He wants you to trust Him, that even if you don't see what's happening and that makes you anxious, He does. And you can trust Him with everything.
Oh, and another truth for your soul? You--yes you--are brave enough to face this. Over and over the Bible commands us to be strong and courageous. To not fear for He is with us. To be brave. And you, dear heart, have what it takes to be brave. Because you can do all things through God who gives you strength.
So yes, friend, anxiety is real.
But your God is real too.
He's got it from here.
*Quick note here: if you do need to seek counseling or medical help to deal with your severe anxiety, please do so.*