It’s everyday conversation…. How are you? How’s your family? Nothing out of the norm. Nothing deep. But as sweat beads roll down my back, I’m reminded, I struggle with an anxiety disorder.
You might not know. I speak in front of people. I love to laugh and joke. I come face to face with crisis and homeless situations daily. I’m a normal person. But inside, it’s not always easy.
I choose grocery store lines where the cashier doesn’t appear chatty, that way I won’t have to talk. Sometimes, I avoid outings with friends. I prefer the safety of my nose in a book, or eyes locked on my IPhone. It’s just easier that way. I evade the inevitable sweating that comes with social interaction and they dodge my awkwardness. It’s better that way, right?
My flesh tells me I should base my life, and all the things I do, around what, where, and how I feel most comfortable. That if social interaction makes me nervous, it’s okay to tuck myself away in the bedroom. That the message God gives me to share in public places or private conversations are not worth sharing. That my communication will always be ineffective because of the anxiety that lies behind it.
Those of us who struggle with anxiety have another level of difficulty when it comes to saying yes to God. We want to say yes, but everything in our bodies says no.
For example, I might say yes to a speaking engagement. But this means stomach problems for days before the event, choosing an outfit I won’t sweat through, and having my face break out in acne due to all the stress.
It’s not just a mental battle. It gets physical.
Racing heartbeats, shaking voices, sweating bodies, hives, psoriasis outbreaks, sleepless nights…and the list could go on and on and on.
I have been through counseling. I have hashed and rehashed my past. I am a Licensed Counselor myself. I take an anti-anxiety medication every single day. Yet at times, the battle rages on. Anxiety continues to rear its ugly head, especially when I am super stressed.
It would be easy to give up. Mind you, I have wanted to several times. But God gently spurs me forward.
I thought by now, after years of seeking and trusting the Lord (plus counseling and medication), He would have emptied me of these symptoms. They have improved, but never completely disappear.
So why am I sharing this with you? Because I want you to have hope. So often we view issues like anxiety or depression as an identity. A defining factor in our lives. When in reality they are little more than mountains.
Mountains you say? Yes mountains. Mountains are not easy to climb. They can be treacherous and daunting. Climbing them can be painful. At times we may fall down. But Jesus says this about mountains:
“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. (Mark 11:23 NIV)
Mountains may be impossible to climb. But with Jesus, they can be thrown. Might we still struggle with symptoms? Yes. Might it be difficult at times? Yes. But these mountains have absolutely no power to keep us from traveling where The Lord would have us go.
So what about you? If you struggle with anxiety or depression, now is the time for action. Pray about it. Maybe it’s time to see a doctor. Or a counselor. Or maybe just time to step out in faith. Whatever God is asking you to say yes to, anxiety and depression are no excuse. It’s time to throw some mountains and get on the move with Jesus.
Awesome art credit: http://southernbellesoulmountainbrideheart.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html?m=1