For some reason I thought I’ve talked about anxiety on here before, but apparently I can’t find it. So if that’s the case, we’re going to talk about anxiety today.
Back at the end of 2017 into 2018 I struggled with a lot of anxiety. Anxiety was never something I’d really dealt with before and I quickly realized that dealing with it involves a lot of creativity. If one thing made me feel better one moment, it wasn’t guaranteed to make me feel better the next. It was an interesting season.
I’m in a new season where I’m battling against what I lovingly call my Anxiety Monster. I say lovingly because up until I gave it a name, I treated it as my identity. I believed that my anxiety defined me, made me crazy and annoying, and that it was just who I was.
But then as I prayed, I called it out for what it really was, a monster. A trickster called the enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. And a monster is not who or what I am. I am not my anxiety. My anxiety does not define me.
My identity is in Christ as His strong, steadfast, and secure daughter. I am not defined by my anxiety. I am defined by Christ, and the Anxiety Monster is just something I sometimes deal with.
It’s been a game changer.
But it hasn’t all been perfect.
In 2018 I learned more about what triggers my anxiety, what triggers my reactions and responses to certain things, and I walked a very long time without needing to deal with my triggers in full capacity. When I did need to deal with them, the Lord helped me practice just and right responses. He helped me learn how to avoid triggers, and how to fight against them when they happened.
Despite all that – I still really struggle with declaring truth over myself in the midst of being triggered.
And it is so frustrating.
And I’m starting to realize that the most frustrating thing is that I think everyone else can see inside my brain and see and feel how crazy I know I sound as I battle through the millions of overwhelming thoughts, doubts, anxiousness, and fears, so that when I communicate out loud or react a certain way, it’s just one more notch against me and my anxiety.
But no one else knows the battle going on inside my brain. They don’t know the thoughts I had right before I made that statement. They don’t know how much effort it took to work through 20 different responses before I land on that one. And I don’t even know if that’s the right and best one.
And if it’s not the best response, does that make me annoying? Weak? A burden? Selfish? Crazy? Immature? Wrong? Should I not have said anything at all? Would it have been better off if I had just sucked it up and left it alone? Would that have made me stronger and a better friend/person?
But here’s the thing – when I take a step back and really analyze my situation and what triggered me, I can logically see that the situation is not as big as I’m making it out to be. It’s tough because in the moment, it certainly feels big. But most of the time, it’s really not.
And if I would just take a few moments to process, feel what I’m feeling, reevaluate, and focus on all the good that’s surrounding the situation, it would change my viewpoint. It’s tough to do in the moment, but I really want to start trying.
To take a step back and declare my worth and who I am as a daughter in Christ.
When I feel crazy and unsteady, I can declare that I am steadfast in Christ. He steadies me when I feel like I’m falling apart.
When I feel annoying and burdensome, I can declare that I am not a burden to Christ. That He has made me a fearless communicator that communicates so I can draw nearer to those around me. If that pushes people away, I can (1) learn why and get better for next time and (2) let them go because I am worth the fight as Christ fights for me.
My Anxiety Monster doesn’t define me, but it sure does take over some of my days.
But it doesn’t win.
Maybe momentarily it will have a victory – but there is freedom and redemption in Christ.
I am set free.
I am free.
I can walk in that freedom confidently.
I can declare that freedom constantly.
I can fight for that freedom like a warrior.
Freedom is promised.
Freedom is coming.
And I’ll continue to fight over God’s promise for freedom until the day I am set free.
In Jesus’ name, thank you for your sacrifice so I can be set free.
Something I’m going to start trying: When I get triggered, hold my tongue and be silent as I process. I’m someone that likes knowing the right answer right away. I’m someone who responds with instinct and has gut reactions. A lot of times, they’re correct. But sometimes, they’re a little too much and I would’ve responded better had I held my tongue. So I want to practice silence. And communicating to those around me that I just need a moment. Whether that’s 30 seconds, 5 minutes, maybe I need to walk away and be alone for a little, maybe I need to cry… but to affirm to them, I’m okay, I just need to process this for a little, process through alllllllll my thoughts, and I’ll come back when I’m ready.
I think I’m scared to do that sometimes because I want to be okay right away. But maybe I need to have more grace for myself and give myself the space and time I need. Because that’s okay too.