“be anxious for nothing”—this verse rings in my ears, echoing as I begin a new day almost taunting me. Its repetition a dagger pointing at my failures. “be anxious for nothing”—that’s the problem, I wake up anxious about nothing. Yet my heart is quenched for peace, my mind tries to rationalize the pangs away. Thinking of “others less fortunate” only heaps guilt on the smoldering anxious fire, threatening to bring it all aflame again.
Then I remember the second half of that verse, “pray about everything”. Pray through the anxiety, write through the anxiety, take up the sword and fight back, So my frightened heart feebly prays, “God, I’m embarrassed that I am quite literally anxious about nothing. I still can’t shake this wall of dread that attempts to crush my heart, quench my dreams, quiet my voice”. This year has been hard, brought so much change—loss of my aunt Marla, moving-twice, quitting a job and starting a new one, and relational strife as I process leaving an abusive church. I can barely count all the changes on one hand. It’s no wonder I don’t know where to start to pray or process—or which on the list I’m anxious about today.
So I start where I can—one honest word at a time. The one who created my mind and heart doesn’t tell me to “get over it”. He grabs my hand and whispers, “get into it. Let’s look at this together. I knit you and I know you—even your anxious thoughts before you think them”. He walks with me in the fire and the flood.
I won’t let those leaders silence my voice. I take a deep breath and know that he’s with me. He’s not embarrassed by my anxiety. He sweat blood over a life-ending choice—He knows. He understands my frail heart and mind—and loves me anyway. He entered into this world’s pain and brokenness and is with me in my own.
“and the peace of God will guard your heart”—He will strengthen as I pray. He will probe my heart and mind. He provides His word—and sometimes professional help. His Holy Spirit strengthens and encourages. I fight for faith and pray for peace. He’s begun THIS good work—yes, even this battle with anxiety is ultimately a good thing. He will see me through. His grace has carried me safely through this year so far, and His grace will lead me home.