Lord Jesus, Calm My Anxious Heart

16 years ago, I went through one of the darkest and scariest seasons of my life.

On my way to see Joseph one night, I experienced what would be the first of many panic attacks.

I honestly didn’t realize it was a panic attack, I thought I was maybe getting sick and didn’t think too much of it.

But then it happened again a couple of days later. I started feeling nauseous and like I was going to throw up. My hands were sweating, my heart was racing and I felt like someone was sitting on my chest. I was in my car again when it happened and pulled into a gas station to grab some water and see if I felt better.

This became my normal every time I’d get in my car and I quickly developed extreme anxiety whenever I drove anywhere. After several weeks of this, I felt like I was going crazy. My stomach was always a wreck, I was on edge. By now, Joseph and I were married and what was supposed to be marriage bliss was a total nightmare.

The anxiety and panic attacks caused me to fall into a deep depression that I didn’t realize I was in.

I fought this life for years. Years. And for a long time I lived my life trying to put up a front and tried my best to keep the fact that I was falling apart hidden from everyone. I was embarrassed and felt like a total weirdo. I know that’s a strange word to describe the way I felt, but I completely felt like a weirdo. Like something was wrong with me and I was defective.

It took years for me to heal and finally feel somewhat normal. I still remember all of the late nights I would wake up crippled with anxiety wishing that God would just take me because I literally felt like I was going crazy.

As hard as this journey was, God never left me. And He brought me through it stronger than I ever was. He placed people in my life to carry me through my hardest days and His Word was my comfort during those late nights I felt I couldn’t keep living.

I wish I could tell you that I never experience anxiety anymore. I wish I could tell you that one day, the anxiety miraculously disappeared. But that’s not my story.

I still struggle every now and then. Not the way I did back then, but I have my moments when I feel anxious.

Last night was one of those moments. I’m not sure why, but I kept waking up through the night feeling so anxious. But the difference now is that instead of wishing God would take me, I cling to Him for strength. And I did that last night.

1 Peter 5:7 says, Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

And that’s what I did. I kept repeating this verse saying, “God, you tell me to cast my anxiety on you and that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m casting my anxiety on you.”

The anxiety didn’t go away completely, but I was comforted that no matter what God was taking care of me.

When I woke up this morning, I felt like God wanted me to share this with you all today. I don’t know if you find yourself crippled with anxiety or depressed, but I want to take this opportunity to tell you that you are not alone.

Stop trying to do this on your own and give it to God. Cling to Him. Take Him at His word and declare it on your life.

I know it may feel like it’ll never get better, but it will. The biggest thing I learned was to take my life day by day.

Matthew 6:25-34 tells us not to worry about tomorrow. For tomorrow will bring its own troubles. It tells us there’s no reason to worry about the small things because God takes care of us. Just as He feeds the birds of the sky and the flowers in the field grow, we will be taken care of. Because are we not more valuable than the birds and the flowers? And worrying won’t add a single hour to our life. So stop worrying and give it to God.

Consume yourself with God. Write out verses on notecards and put them in places that you will see them. Surround yourself with Christian friends and prayer warriors that you can reach out to. When we are going through something like this we are so crippled that even praying isn’t possible. There were so many times when I was so anxious, I couldn’t think straight. But I had people in my life that I could text or call at 3:00 AM and they would pray for me.

Stop fighting in secret and tell someone about it. You are not weird. Stop thinking that there’s something wrong with you. You are a child of God. You are weak, but He is strong, you are weary, but He will hold you up. You are not enough, but He is!

Don’t let the enemy win. Don’t let him convince you that sharing your struggles will make you look weak. Find someone to share them with that will commit to praying for you and with you.

Choose to fight. God is on your side.

Take your Bible right now and read Romans 8. Read it, believe it. You are more than a conqueror.

I hope this helps someone today. I always say that I hate that I still struggle on random days with anxiety. But sometimes I think it’s for a reason. Because experiencing it allows me to help others going through the same.

I pray that if you are struggling that you will choose today to trust God and cling to Him. Believe in His promises and declare them over your life. He loves you. He cares for you.

I love y’all.

XO

Don’t Get Lost In The Scroll, Babe!

Morning friends!

I was scheduled to link up with Shay and Erika for their Let’s Look Link Up. They are talking all about their Holiday Menus this month. Feel free to go check it out!

Instead of linking up I wanted to take a minute to just be real with you guys about something on my heart. Because this is where I struggle with blogging.

I understand that many of the bloggers have made a very good living doing what they do. And I admire that. I really do. This is no way is a bash to them. It’s just something that God is all over me with and I wanted to share it with you today.

I fear that we as a society are allowing ourselves to fall deeper in the comparison trap than ever before.

We scroll through social media and see all of these perfectly, staged, edited and beautiful pictures. The perfect family in matching Christmas pajamas, sitting in front of their beautifully decorated foyer with their King of Christmas Tree in the background and all of the expensive holiday decor displayed for all to see. And then the caption reads, “Oh you know, just having a fun family night decking the halls!”

Let me tell you what decking the halls looks like at my house. We decorate my tree from Walmart with ornaments I’ve collected through the years. They’ve come from Target, Walmart, Dollar General and gift exchanges. We normally watch Elf and back non homemade cookies.

You better believe my kids will make some kind of competition out of decorating the tree because they are my children. The winner will be happy and the loser will cry and whine and threaten to go upstairs. And then Joseph and I will probably lose our patience, yell things like “you need to learn how to lose” and “you can’t always win” and “don’t be a sore loser.” My OCD will force me to tell them to stop and let me just finished the rest of the tree and then we will sit and watch the rest of Elf, take a pic for the gram and then go to bed.

But when I go to post the picture, I’ll probably say something like, “Decked the halls with my amazing crew tonight. We had the best night doing all the Christmas things.”

And I stop and wonder….why? Why not just be real and say how it really went down?

And I truly believe it’s because society doesn’t want real. Real makes us uncomfortable. Real is looking someone in the face and saying, “today sucked” or “my kids are driving me bananas.” Real is showing all of our imperfections and messy lives. Real is hard.

But y’all. I need real. And in my heart, I know you do too.

We already struggle with trying to find our purpose. We try to figure out what big thing God has for our life. In our soul, we just want to leave our mark, leave a legacy for our family and make the most of the time God has given us.

But we got lost in the scroll of all the pretty pictures and assume that everyone else is killing it and here we are changing our 5th diaper, reheating our coffee and still sitting in our pajamas at 3:00 in the afternoon.

The world tells us that we can do anything we set our minds to do, that we control our own destiny, we are our own boss and we can get things done. But at the moment, we feel like we can barely make it through the day.

Jamie Ivey writes about this in her new book, You Be You. She says that the danger in these sayings is,

“that they can’t hold up under pressures of the world. Because, no, you’re not enough, girl. You ain’t got this. You can’t hustle enough, can’t get enough things done. You can’t do everything you set your mind on, no matter how badly you want to do it. You don’t control your own destiny, because the One who made you has the days of your life already numbered, planned, and written for you. And sometimes, life can be so hard that there aren’t enough bootstraps in the world to pull yourself up with.

We are only enough because Jesus is enough. The only good things coming from you and me are coming from the Father”

The world wants us to believe that we can do it all. It wants us to focus on all the pretty Instagram posts and kill ourselves financially, physically and psychologically trying to keep up.

It wants us to compare our real lives to the highlight reels of others.

And I am here today to remind you that not everything you see and read on the internet is true.

We need more real. We need more posts about how we are struggling with our kids or posts sharing our testimonies with others in hope that it will point people to Christ.

We need to learn to admire the pretty picture without wishing we had what is in the picture.

“I think we have been asking ourselves the wrong questions about our lives. Instead of asking, “Did I do enough today?” what if we asked ourselves, “Did I become more like Jesus today? Instead of asking, “Was I successful?” What if we asked, “Was I faithful?” Less about us and more about Him. Less about our accomplishments and more about our hearts. Less about my glory and more of His glory. Less about comparing our life to their lives, and more about comparing our faithfulness to His calling on our lives.”

Less me. More Him.

Psalm 26:2 says, “Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;”

Where’s your heart today? Where’s your mind? Are you too busy focusing on the highlight reels of others instead of going to work with what’s right in front of you?

Don’t get lost in the scroll, girlfriend! Bring your focus back to Christ.

I hope this encouraged and challenged you today.

XO