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The Ache of Anxiety

sad young woman crossed  fingers  for her  face in crisis moment

It came out of the blue recently and slipped into my life like an unwelcome guest.  It engulfed me with fear of the future, fed me lies about my children’s behavior and paralyzed my fingers from sharing my heart with the world.

The culprit?

Anxiety.

I have battled this demon many times before. I fought it when I was a newlywed struggling with the realities of my own limitations. Again it plagued me when I was in my season of infertility.  I was haunted day and night with it while coping with my daughter’s Autism diagnosis.

And here it is again, ready to control me with an upset stomach, feelings of dread and questioning every aspect of our future as a family.

Will Joy ever be able to speak fully?  She’s already 4 and falling so far behind the others she may never be able to catch up. What then? What happens to her as an adult?  Who will look after her once we are gone?

Is there something wrong with Bubs?  He’s being overly aggressive, got in trouble in school and over all is acting crazier than I ever thought he would.  Does he have a behavior disorder?

Why do I feel as though I have failed as a mother and that my kid’s problems are too far out of God’s reach?  What can I do to help them progress as much as possible?

These thoughts haunted me and gripped my heart so hard I felt it would shatter into a million pieces.  Not only did the tears come, but once they started, they didn’t want to stop.

Surrounded and encompassed by anxiety,  I was praying for God to help me, yet the fear remained until God opened my eyes.

The sweet Lord showed me his peace and gave me a prescription for managing my anxiety. These messages of hope have become my new motto so when my soul aches, I can combat these feelings and rest in the shelter of the Lord.

When I am paralyzed by anxiety, I limit God.

When I am in that darkness and in the crippling grasp of fear, I limit how God can change me.  In these hard times, when I am pressed and squeezed with the pressure of life, God is trying to change me. He is molding me, growing me and changing me as I come to him with my pain and release my burdens to his care.

When I am focused solely on my problems and my hard times, I am not looking towards God’s face or reaching for his hand.  I am relying on myself and my own limited view of my life.  When I do that, I am not listening for God’s still voice with words of hope and comfort, and I miss his presence and how he wants to use this situation for his glory.

Sometimes the only thing that can change about the situation is my reaction.

I am a doer and a fixer.  I like a well-laid out plan to solve a problem and heal a hurt.  But sometimes solutions are not neatly laid out and and there is nothing tangible I can do to help the situation other than pray.  My kid’s behavior can’t be fixed over night and with a simple solution. Sometimes the only thing I can change is my reaction to the situation.  I can choose to be be bitter and question what God has in store for our futures, or I can embrace my children, faults and all, and change my reaction to them.

I don’t HAVE to be paralyzed by fear.

I don’t HAVE to be a slave to these feelings of uncertainty and unrest.

I can CHOOSE to take a hold of God’s hand, let him lead me and trust that he is ALWAYS good.  His ways are higher than mine and I don’t have to be afraid of what the future holds with him by my side.

Make yourself move and be around people

When I have the urge to stay in the fetal position all day and wallow in fear and anxiety, I get up.  I make myself stay busy and interact with people. I am terrible at accepting help, but don’t have to fake perfection. I need to be open and vulnerable, letting others show their love in tangible acts of service, and when on the other side of fear, I will bless someone else in return.

Philippians 4.6 proverbs31mentor.com

Find rest in the Lord

When anxiety truly plagues me, I am physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.  God longs to be my rest and for me to lay my burdens down so he can restore me.  I have to make the choice to rest.  That means chores may be neglected, or like this past week, I have to cut back on my blogging.  While I love to stay up late writing, and chatting with Hubs, literally resting in God’s peace will help my heart heal and to keep the monster of anxiety at bay.

When you are like me, stuck in the chains of anxiety, look up and see the loving face of the Lord.  He wants to carry your burden and bear this heavy load for you.  When you do set it down at his feet, enjoy the flood of relief that his peace brings to your soul.  May you truly abide in him today!

How do you handle fear and anxiety?  Do you have a formula for managing fear?  Share your heart in the comments so we can all benefit from the strategies that work for you.

 

This post was shared with SITS Girls, Still Saturday, Renewed Daily, Blessing Counters, No Rules Weekend Blog Party, Mommy Moments, Motivation Monday, Make a Difference Monday, Titus 2 Tuesday Juana Mikels Joy Dare

About Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a perfectly imperfect wife and mother, and is thankful for the saving grace of the Lord. When she’s not busy folding yet another load of laundry or comforting a crying child, she enjoys studying God’s Word, writing, and spending time with authentic friends. She's passionate about equipping women to live with intentional faith, family, home, and habits at Proverbs31Mentor.com. Join her for biblical encouragement and practical lifestyle tips to help you live on mission for the glory of God.

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21 Comments

  1. Sarah Ann,
    Thank you for sharing your heart! And how rich is this post with all of your reflections on what God is showing you during this time. Choosing our reactions to what life brings us is difficult but you are so right that what God wants us to do is rest completely in him. Praying for you, friend!
    Valerie Sisco recently posted…Trusting Your Heart to the One Who Knows ItMy Profile

    1. Valerie,
      I am so humbled by your sweet words of encouragement! I appreciate you and your sweet spirit always pointing me to the God’s truth. Many blessings!

  2. Oh I know fear and anxiety too well. It is so easy to get caught up in despair or try to fix it myself. Praying for you this week, that you will find the peace God wants to give you. He’s got this!
    Sarah Donegan recently posted…WWJBMy Profile

    1. SO thankful for your prayers, Sarah! That’s where the battle is won; one prayer at a time! Good to know I am not alone in my anxiety!

  3. Sarah, I love you. Did you know that? I hope I didn’t forget to tell you. You are just the right Mommy for your little ones. God didn’t make a mistake… not a single one. None of this comes as a surprise to Him. That’s what I cling to in anxious times. This song helps. Praying for you. Heart Hugs, Shelly <3
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUYAWq2gJ5o
    Shelly Hendricks (@Renewed_Daily) recently posted…Does Having an Invisible Illness Make You Feel Powerless?My Profile

    1. Aww, Shelly! The feeling is mutual! I SO appreciate your words of wisdom and encouragement. You are a blessing to me!

  4. Sarah Ann, thank you so much for sharing this and being so vulnerable. I’ve been struggling recently this, too. The depression I felt during the last 6 months while doing IVF has lifted, but now that we’re on a break from treatments it’s been replaced with anxiety. Not sure which one is worse! It requires daily (and sometimes hourly) surrender to Christ and forcing myself to get up and move (like you said). I’ll add you to my prayer list and pray for grace for you during this tough season.
    Lisa {Amateur Nester} recently posted…On the Journey With… JennaMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I agree that I don’t know if anxiety or depression are worse. I’ve been so surprised at the physical symptoms of anxiety and hate how it sneaks up on me without warning. I’m thankful that others can relate and are so sweet to encourage me. I am praying for you while you wait and know that God will bless your faithfulness!

  5. I love your honesty, Sarah and you are so right. Sometimes I just let myself sink in to all of the things going on around me instead of rising above my situation and seeing how God is working in my life. Love you!

    1. Love you, my friend! Thank you so much for reading and I can’t wait to see you soon!

  6. You are a great Mom & God chose you & your Hubs to love & raise these two beautiful children. We all doubt ourselves from time to time so don’t beat yourself down. Prayers are always in order whether it be in good times or bad for God loves us to be at His feet. Leaning on Jesus so He can carry you is His delight for in our weakness He is strong. Always keep in your mind that you are loved & we are here for you ALL the time. Praying for ya’ll.

    1. Thanks for the support and always being there for us! I couldn’t do it without you both! Hugs!

  7. This is something I struggle with on an almost daily basis…anxiety just feels ever-present. This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today!!

    1. Nicole,

      I’m so glad this blessed you today! My prayer is that an hardship I face may be an encouragement to others. God bless!

  8. Oh yes, I know this battle well. It’s so very hard to fight against anxiety, for it is so often based in an intangible dread that’s difficult to describe. Most often, I just curl up with a good book and I read and read and read – sometimes for days at a time. This helps me, for it distracts me from the flooding thoughts that refuse to quiet down. But, the best thing that I do is pray and pray and pray. And I read the Word. God always has a way of leading me to just the comforting and encouraging words that I need to hear!

    GOD BLESS!
    Sharon recently posted…I’M BESIDE MYSELFMy Profile

    1. Sharon,

      I’m praying for you on your journey, too! I wish I could curl up with a good book for days! That sounds perfect. 🙂 God bless you!

  9. Thank you for sharing your story, Sarah! I know what it is like to have anxiety, as it is something I have been dealing with for most of my life. Just over the last several months have I been able to really give the things that make me most anxious to God. He wants me to take one day at a time, yet I want to know what is in store for the next day and the day after that. Giving up “the need to know” has done wonders for my anxiety! Many Blessings, Sarah!

    1. Yes! I agree that I do best when I give up the need to know and just trust God. That’s incredible that you have been able to lay your burdens down and I know there is complete freedom there! My anxiety comes in waves, often out of the blue, and sometimes I take back the burdens I’ve already given. It’s a minute by minute surrender sometimes. God bless you on your journey!

  10. Thank you for sharing this post. I’m continuing to battle depression and anxiety in my life as I have been for many years. The Lord is the reason I get through each day. When I begin to spiral I NEED to cling to Him, and His Word. The Psalms have been especially helpful in those desperate moments. I am a single mom of 4 children. My oldest is 12 and is autistic. To say life is hard doesn’t come close to describing it. But, God has NEVER left me and NEVER will so I continue to take it a half a day at a time (a day at a time is too much) and celebrate the tiniest victory along the way. With depression and anxiety it can be so very hard to see any good. So many times my prayer is “Lord, You have promised to work this out for the good– please show me something good” And He does. God Bless you!

    1. Thank you for your honesty! I know how tough it is raising a child on the Spectrum, and I can’t imagine doing it solo. BUT your attitude and heart are amazing! I love that you know you are never alone and that God has never left you or will never leave you. It was a joy to have you stop by and know that I will be praying for you, my sister in Christ!

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