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Anxiety – A Cruel Master

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[dropcap]A[/dropcap]nxiety is a strange thing, and a cruel master. Often, it’s invisible to others, lying just below the surface yet very much in control. Crippling, suffocating, overwhelming – all adjectives I would use to describe this epidemic that seems to have gripped our generation, and something I have experienced first hand. My battle with anxiety has been for as long as I can remember. When I go back and read diaries or prayer journals from when I was a little girl, and they are laced with fearful thoughts and anxious prayers. Since then my relationship with God has grown into the most important aspect of my life and the compass by which I try to make all my decisions.

This being said, I still find myself battling the same anxiety and fear of the future. I can see the pattern of God’s teaching and I can’t help but feel incredibly frustrated with myself. Why can’t I learn? Why do I struggle over and over again with the very same thing, the very same fears, the very same anxious thoughts and patterns?

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Anxiety is a difficult thing to understand. I think it’s different for many people and evidences itself in so many different ways. I can’t help looking back on it and thinking its irrational. I have everything I could ever need! I’ve had what many people would call an easy life and yet so often I’ve felt completely hopeless to the point where life is so frightening that I don’t want to live it anymore. The future and what lies ahead in my life has always seemed to cause my anxiety. Most recently, this has manifested itself when I made some important decisions about my future and the route my life might take. The weight of it all and the pressure became too much. Once again, I witnessed myself falling into a pit of anxiety and crippling fear that I couldn’t seem to control. My anxiety wasn’t just a prominent part of my life – it was dictating it.

And yet, in what seemed to be a discouraging, hopeless story of cyclical fear, came the light – I experienced Jesus and His unfathomable love. I’ve found that it is at my lowest points, when no one else could understand the fear or emptiness, that Jesus speaks to and encourages me. Then I am able to truly feel what it is like to hide in the shelter of His wings – to be held, to be seen and to be understood. There are so many Psalms and verses in the Bible that speak of peace and comfort and not being afraid. These have become deeply personal words of comfort in my life.

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The anxiety that I have struggle with, has taught me many important things. One important lesson is that I am completely dependent on God. This is a humbling, painful and uncomfortable realisation to have. To truly realise this is to come to the end of oneself. This is terrifying place to be, but Jesus calls us to strive for dependence on him. “Dependence on God” is the place where we all need to be, but it’s often a messy process getting there. It’s a process of kneeling, tears and humbling human frailty. It is a place of surrender – “God, I can’t do this on my own, I need You.”

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In these moments I experience Jesus and His power in the most intimate way.

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“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

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I know the reality of Paul’s words and it is a beautiful thing to come to realise. I can delight in my human weakness because through it Christ’s power is evidenced more fully in me.

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I wish I was writing this knowing that, because of what God has revealed to me, anxiety has no hold on me anymore. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. My human nature, personality and subconscious desire for self-sufficiency and control, means that I continue to wrestle with fear and anxiety about the future each day. My story is still being written and many lessons lie ahead, but in this world of uncertainty I can be totally sure of Him: He knows, He cares, He carries, and “underneath are His everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

 

Note from the True Story Project editorial team: If any of the topics discussed in this or other True Story articles touch you, feel free to write to us.
If you are struggling with depression, however severe, please be aware that there is always medical help available on the NHS.

A free hotline (116 123) operated by the Samaritans is open 24/7, 365 to call and speak to a professional in confidence.

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