I’m Not an Anxious Person

“I’m a really anxious gal,” I so quickly admit to any trusted friend or even a soul I barely know. I slap “WARNING: Worried” stickers on my chest with a hearty thump.

It’s both an apology and a believed identity offered alongside all the other facts that make me, me:

“Hi! I’m a college student. I love Jesus. I’m married to my best friend. I love dogs. In my free time I like to read and write and drink coffee.

IMG_0239

Also, I am anxious all the time. ”

Up until recently, I’ve thought the way I worry was preprogrammed in my wiring. My brain, forever churning, was the culprit. It’s why I couldn’t ever relax, why I over-analyzed, why I believed the worst about people and situations even when I had no reason to doubt. Why I could have entire imagined conversations with loved ones in my mind and then sincerely believe they were angry with me. Why some mornings it was just plain exhausting to be awake and alone with my thoughts.

I’ve blamed God for the way he fashioned this brain of mine. In some of my worst moments, I’ve tearfully asked, “Why am I like this?” or “Will I always be this way?” or the worst: “Why doesn’t she have to deal with this? Do you love me as much as you do her?”

This semester, I fully confided in the girls in my discipleship group–something I had yet to do with anyone other than God, Dellan, or my mom. Bringing my weary heart into the light was deeply refreshing. I am a HUGE verbal processor, and these precious girls allowed me to talk as much as I wanted about the burdens I was carrying. It was during one of our chats that the Holy Spirit, in kindness, spurred a brand new thought from my lips:

“This isn’t how it’s supposed to be; my mind won’t work like this in heaven one day.”

Wow, right? What a healing word. Someday, I will live as God intended back in the Garden. I will live without any worry that I’m fully known and fully loved. I will be able to have relationship with others without insecurity or fear. It is then that I will be my truest self; free of any anxiety, I will fully be who he created me to be.

My mind is sick with the impact of sin today, yes, but not for long.

And God? He didn’t create me for anxiety. He didn’t arrange my brain to distrust and fear. His intention has always been to rescue me from my sinful state and teach me to be more like Jesus–to prepare me for the treasures of heaven. He lovingly works to make me new even today.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5: 17 (ESV)

For these reasons, I refuse to continue claiming anxiety as a part of who I am and will instead treat it as what it truly is: sin, a devastating effect of the darkness that seeped into the world long ago. And like every other trace of sin, it will be wiped out by Jesus one day.

I’ve been asking God just how I can fight worrisome thoughts and increase my trust in him until then. And in the past 24 hours, friends, he has so clearly answered my prayers.

Right before bed last night, Dellan received an email from one of our favorite authors, Jefferson Bethke, about anxiety. He said that as much as the church likes to ignore it, it’s definitely real and needs to be fought with truth. He encouraged his subscribed readers to study Matthew 6 and let it be a comfort to their hearts.

Today, when I was driving D to work, the lyrics from Kings Kaleidoscope‘s song, “Seek Your Kingdom” struck me like never before:

See the lilies
How they grow
They don’t work or
Buy their clothes
But if God, by His grace
Clothes the grass with great array
Then how much more
Is there in store when I…

Seek your Kingdom
Seek your righteousness

I’ve heard this song many many times, but I’ve never noticed before today that the lyrics are straight from Matthew 6.

Then, I went to Caribou Coffee this morning to read my Bible and journal for a while. I opened up my Bible reading plan for the day and just had to smile to myself. It instructed me to read Genesis 20, 21, and 22, as well as Matthew 6:19-34.

I see you, God.

His bringing me to these verses today is why I finally decided to write about my anxiety. All glory to him!

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6: 25-34 (ESV)

Let’s claim these promises even today, dear ones. We are his! Doubt, struggle, wrestle, fall flat on your face, but keep fighting to believe that a good God holds you in his hands. I’m stumbling and learning right alongside you.

We are not anxious people. We are people loved by God. He feeds us, gives us water to drink, and clothes us. We are so precious to him. He will take care of our every need. All he asks of us is to seek him and his kingdom, because he is doing all the rest. Hallelujah!

 

I’d love to hear how God is working in your life–regarding anxiety or otherwise! Leave a comment below.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “I’m Not an Anxious Person

  1. Susan says:

    Danielle, I am not sure my anxiety is a sin. How feel is not sin (not think, feel). How I choose respond might be but feelings are not a choice, responses are.
    I teach high school kids every day. I am loving, usually dynamic, and often bold. Most of them do not know how many times in my life I have been virtually crippled by anxiety. Most of them can not imagine that the 5’3″ woman who can fearlessly stare down a 6’5″ teenage boy and get him to do whatever I ask is afraid to order a pizza without rehearsing. Most of them do not know that everything I do I do not just in spite of my fear, but because of it. I leap, I climb, I lead precisely because I am afraid to do so and I refuse to let the anxiety win.
    But that is a choice. It is a choice I make because my God asks me to make it. I am a mom and I am a teacher. I know without a doubt, and because my husband reminds me often, that this is what God intended for me. The anxiety that has plagued me for as long as I can remember by extension is a part of this plan. Through my struggles I have learned courage, patience, strength on a level many do not understand. That allows me to model and to truly empathize with my kids at home and at school. That allows me to utter the words “you can do it” to a teen and truly understand what it will mean to him when he does.
    All the places where God leads me through darkness make me a person who can lead others when they need it most. When I look into the face of a troubled teen (and that is most of them) and say “you are enough,” it is God talking through me in the very voice He used in my mirror that morning.

    Like

    • Susan says:

      And I know I used the wrong name here. I have never commented on someone else’s blog and am a bit embarrassed about that.

      Like

      • Gabrielle says:

        Hi, Susan! Thanks for commenting! Don’t worry about using the wrong name, mine is a hard one. 🙂

        I loved reading about how God is working in your life. It sounds like you are truly leaning on the Lord in your fight against anxiety! How special it is that you get to impact others as a mother and as a teacher.

        And you brought up a great point. Feelings are NOT sinful; I agree with you! God created them to let us know what is going on inside of us! When I described anxiety as being sin, I was referring to the effects the first sin had on our world. Anxious feelings (along with sadness, sickness, etc.) will not be present in heaven because they are results of the Fall, so they are not of eternal value. Therefore, we can accept anxiety as a struggle to endure during this lifetime, but don’t have to claim it as our entire identity as is often so easy to do! Our identity is in Christ, and he wants us to live free of fear! Like you said, it is a choice to fight it every day and lean on him. Hope that clarifies!

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s