Is there anything good about Anxiety?

Anxiety is a battle. If you suffer from anxiety, then you understand that battle.

What if you gave that anxiety to God and quit looking at it as a bad thing?

I just finished reading The Anxious Christian…Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good? by Rhett Smith.

The concepts, ideas, and messages in this short little book have been life changing words for my once very anxious soul. The book is now filled with highlighted sections and my scribbled words in the white spaces of the margins. 
Page 101…When you finally acknowledge your own anxiety and face it for what it is, then you enter into that reimagining process as God takes your anxiety and helps you follow Him into the places He is calling you toward. He is calling you into a relationship where your anxiety is dependent on Him and not the things you do. (Rhett Smith)

Over the past several months, I have discovered that being open with people whom I trust about my anxiety, seeing a counselor at the advice of a friend, pouring myself into prayer and God’s Word, and reading helpful things like this book, have really carried me and guided me on my journey over anxiety.

There is such healing power in truth and understanding. As my eyes are opened to the “why’s” behind my anxious thoughts, then it is easier for me to take a step forward and not become stuck in a place of anxiety.

If you struggle with anxiety, I encourage you to read this book as part of your healing process over anxiety. Yes, anxiety is still a part of my life, but it no longer defines me. When I feel anxious thoughts coming on, I turn them over to God.

God really does care about our anxieties and He can and will use everything for His good in our lives, even anxiety.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

#anxiety #healing

Eyes as Windows

Non-verbal communication many times speaks louder than spoken words.

One of the greatest forms of non-verbal communication is through the eyes. A person’s eyes reveal a story. Eyes shed light on the thoughts of the inner soul.

Your eyes share a glimpse into how tired you are, if you are sad, overwhelmed, excited…

Your eyes choose what you want to focus on.
Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When the eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. Matthew 6:22

When I reflect back on my periods of anxiety, I can see where I took my eyes off Christ and placed my focus on other areas. My whole body was filled with anxiety and definitely not light during those periods. Even this past week at work, someone asked me what was wrong. She saw through the transparency of my eyes the weariness I was feeling. I had taken my eyes off Christ as my strength and had focused on the stress I felt.

Your eyes are the window to your soul. Keep your eyes focused ahead on Christ and allow the light to flood your soul.

Walking Thoughts

Sometimes, a walk answers the questions. Sometimes all it seems to take is a few moments in nature to still your mind and heart.

When I am a mess of emotions and need to process everything I am feeling, I usually do one of two things…Walk/run or write.
February weather has been amazing in my corner of the world, so I have been walking a lot. It is so great to see neighbors who have been cooped up inside out and about, too.

Last night as my feet hit the pavement during a run, I relished the freedom to be lost in my world. 
My life is sprinkled with uncertainty right now. I definitely have made strides in my anxiety journey. I am not stressing over all the what ifs, but rather just praying and hanging along for the ride. God has placed some amazing supportive people in my path. I am certainly not alone.

Sometimes, though, being alone surrounded by God’s creation is exactly what I need to remind me that I am not alone on my journey. For me, walking or running and writing are my moments of comfort and strength.

What brings you comfort and strength?

Rocks in the Road

When you feel like there is a rock in your road, remember there is a greater Rock.

Last night, I was in tears as I thought about the rocks in the road. These rocks are the things that attempt to stand in the way of our joy…Things like disappointments, illness, bad grades, struggles…On and on.
Then, I remembered Who is my Rock and my tears turned to those of joy. Despite the hard circumstances of life, and life is hard, I know God is working through everything to draw me closer to Him.

Purpose

Last weekend, my son and I watched the movie A Dog’s Purpose. Despite the fact that I don’t believe in reincarnation, I think that was simply the method to drive home a greater message.

Everyone needs a purpose.

If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, it is about a dog who dies and comes back with another dog life more than once. Each life is very different. The dog questions his purpose…Why is he here?

Isn’t that what we all wonder at some time or another in our lives?

Without spoiling the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, the dog seeks to understand his meaning in each “life” he experiences. Of course, I cried as my teenage son leaned over to me and rolled his eyes. It made me think of my own dogs and how comforting they are to me.

Purpose. What exactly does that mean? The dictionary defines purpose as the reason for which something is created or something exists. 

Everyone needs to feel they have a purpose.

A friend and I had a conversation about purpose over dinner not too long ago. She shared that as she gets older, the concept of purpose has become so much more important to her… Important to the point where she is questioning… What’s next, God?

Purpose is greater than a job. Purpose is more than a title. Purpose is not bringing home a paycheck. These things complement our purpose, but they can’t be our life purpose.

From Ecclesiastes 1…”Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless! What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?”

Work definitely can provide purpose to our lives when we find meaning in what we do and feel valued. Other areas of life…Family, leisure past-time, relationships… Everything works together to create something that feels meaningful for us, our existence here.

But what about purpose?

For me, my purpose is founded and grounded in my faith. Christ is my rock.

Work takes on new meaning when I see myself as working for the Lord and not people.

Relationships take on new meaning when I value others and invest in their lives.

When I truly believe that I am enough in Christ and that He defines my purpose in life then my life takes on meaning despite my circumstances. When I can trust God through the rough spots and believe that He works all things for His greater purpose in my life, then I can embrace my purpose.

Don’t compare your circumstances to someone else’s circumstances. Believe that you were created with a unique purpose only you can fulfill. Trust God to write your story.

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:8

#adogspurpose #purpose

I’m a Mess…

“I’m a mess.”

She uttered those words as though something was wrong with her. I looked at the woman standing beside me and reassured her that in someway or another, we are all a mess.

Everyone is fighting a battle of some sort.

There is a song by Citizen Way called When I’m With You….  
These are the things that I need to pray cause I can’t find peace any other way. I’m a mess underneath and I’m just too scared to show it. Everything’s not fine and I’m not okay.. 

The song goes on to say that when he is with Christ, then his real person can break through .

This song has been a huge source of comfort for me. The truth is, we are all fighting our own battles. 

The other night while playing games, my son was beating his dad and me in an intense game of Spot It. He was laughing and then said, “I need a day to feel okay and today ain’t that day.” Granted, this was in the context of losing his winning streak, but his quote has been on my mind a lot.

A lot of days, we don’t always feel okay. Whether it is worry, stress, illness, or anything that threatens to steal our joy, we certainly have a lot of reasons to not feel okay.

Thankfully, God’s love and peace and joy in our life is not dependent upon our circumstances. It takes trust to say, Okay, God, I don’t feel okay, this doesn’t feel okay, but I am going to trust You

This is where I am.. learning day by day, moment by moment, to let go of my desire to control and try to fix everything and just be okay with not being okay and trusting God instead of allowing worry and anxiety to take over in my mind.

It is a work in progress. I am a work in progress.

We are all fighting battles of some sort. We all have days when don’t feel okay. We all have days when we feel like a mess.

Trust God. Be kind to others. Listen to them for you may be the person God uses to shine some joy in his/her life. And, likewise, there are people God places in our paths to brighten our days when we don’t feel okay.

Those “Almost”Moments

Ever thought about the “almosts”in your life? I am referring to those moments where you almost didn’t do something and realized later what a huge blessing you would have missed out on if you had listened to those voices of doubt.

I wrote a few days ago about being brave. I am embracing that phrase for this year.

 I listened to Joel Osteen via my temporary free subscription to Sirius radio yesterday morning. He was talking about the favor of God. One of the things he said really resonated with me. So many have this image of God where they are afraid of God being mad at them if they mess up. I have lived with that image for a long time, but God has been revealing to me His love is just because He loves me. It’s not about my performance, my attempt at perfectionism, or anything I do. If I am living in integrity seeking to serve God, He will bless me. It’s all about taking those little steps of faith.

Blessings come in various ways. For me, it is in a friendship, a stronger marriage, moments with my son and daughter, quiet mornings, a supportive work environment, and the growing confidence to be brave.

I am growing professionally, personally, and spiritually at my job…A job I almost didn’t apply for because I thought it would be too far to drive and maybe I wasn’t qualified.

Yesterday, I received word that something I submitted for possible publication was selected… Something I almost didn’t submit because I wasn’t sure if it fit what they were looking for.

When you hear those voices of doubt, those voices that tell you that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, creative enough, pretty enough, confident enough…Those voices that threaten to make you second guess your worth and your purpose…Silence them. Pray. Trust. Almost moments are telling you something. They are asking you to be brave. To trust. To believe. 

You are enough in Christ. Embrace that.