On fighting anxiety when you feel like you can’t fight anxiety anymore

I don’t know if my birth control is suddenly throwing my hormones into the stratosphere or if I’m under a spiritual attack or if I’ve been watching too many episodes of Lost, but the last several days have been bathed in anxiety, from top to bottom.

About every. single. thing.

One minute I’ve convinced myself I’m pregnant, which ends with me crying on Todd’s shoulder about how I’m not ready to have a baby. Then I cry even more because I feel guilty about not wanting a baby because so many people can’t have babies and the women in my family are the most fertile-myrtle women in history.

The next minute, I’m crying because of some story on the news about a woman who lost her husband in a bizarre accident. I imagine my life without Todd. How could I possibly raise the baby I’m certain is in my belly without him? I don’t even have a job yet!

Talking about jobs, I spend hours every day trying to figure out my next step. I scroll through Monster and Indeed and Craigslist and any other website you can imagine until my eyes hurt. And even though God has been excessively clear that He will give me a job when the time is right, I continue to torture myself, holding on to the tiny illusion of control I desperately want to keep.

Closing my computer, I whisper, “Fine… I’ll stop looking through eight million jobs when You’ve told me to wait because Your timing is perfect and Your ways are perfect.”

I exhale and look around the house and notice a pile of dishes and laundry that needs to be done. More accusations ensue.

Savannah, why isn’t this house spotless? You don’t even have a full-time job. The least you can do is keep the house perfect. Also, your stomach looks swollen—you need to cook healthier for yourself and Todd. If you don’t cook healthy now, your kids are going to grow up and have all kinds of diseases because of YOUR bad habits. You need to regain control of your life.

And there it is.
The lie I continue to believe.
The lie that I need more control.
The lie that my life—my destiny, my job, my family, my future, my relationships—are all hinging on my ability to achieve.

See, the problem with wanting to be in control is that I’m not in control. I’m not disregarding human responsibility or hard work, but the ultimate reality of God and His Kingdom is that He is in control and everything depends on His grace. When I operate under the assumption that I need to do enough to control my life, I ignore the Truth that every good thing I have is a gift from God.

A gift. Not a trade-off or bargain or even a works-based reward. But a freely given, grace-infused gift from my Father. Every part of the anxiety I experienced this week finds its source in control and performance.

I can’t get pregnant because it’s not in the plan and we don’t have enough money and I don’t know how to be a mom. Todd can’t ever ride on a tour bus again because I read this article about bus drivers that fall asleep because their schedules are insane and I’d feel better if he stayed at home 24/7 where I could see him. I need to find a job that pays a good salary because what happens if Todd breaks his wrists and can’t work anymore and we end up living in a cardboard box.

The list goes on. Every fear—every lie­assumes that my future hangs in the balance, completely dependent on my ability to stay in control. Every fear views the future apart from the intervention and grace of God. Every fear questions the goodness of God.

All of this brings me to this morning, when I realized how absurd my thought processes had become. I realized how trapped I was in my own head.

I immediately started sob-yelling, “Fear is not in control of my life. I am not in control of my life. God is in control of my life.” I repeated these words over and over again until my heart woke up from her slumber and started to believe the Truth again.

I don’t know if anxiety has a grip on you right now, but if you feel fearful, I encourage you to speak the truth out loud. Internalization doesn’t typically end well, because things start to make sense that shouldn’t make sense if you leave those things in your brain. When we speak the truth (whether we feel it’s true or not) out loud, the power of what’s true can jolt our hearts into a new awakening. It’s a new way of looking at the “faith comes by hearing” verse, isn’t it?

If you need a reference point for speaking the Truth out loud, Psalm 103 is a great place to start: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”

2 thoughts on “On fighting anxiety when you feel like you can’t fight anxiety anymore

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