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I woke up one day in the 2nd week of January feeling extremely anxious. It felt like I was carrying a bag of cement. I hadn’t felt anything like this in a long time. I googled “How To Deal With Crippling Anxiety” just to come to terms with what I was feeling because that’s exactly how I felt, an overbearing, overwhelming heaviness right inside my chest.
Crippling anxiety, it turns out, is a thing.
As I went through the feeds I realized there was so much information to read through, some were too weird that could have swiftly added to my anxiety. So I filtered the search by adding “How To Deal With Crippling Anxiety With Jesus.” With this new search I found some good articles after which I prayed and prayed, read the word, and then talked to some friends but still the anxiety wasn’t lifting.
It was a really frustrating moment and I was getting extremely tired because I felt like I was on standby. The “bag of cement” wasn’t getting off my chest. At some point I had a dream that I was scaling a mountain but I had this extreme heaviness on me that made climbing very hard. In my dream, I remained relentless in climbing to the point of crawling as I scaled upwards. I woke up from the dream feeling a bit hopeful and so proud of myself. I hadn’t received the immediate miracle that I wanted but I knew that God was healing twenty five years of living in fear and it was okay if that healing did not happen overnight.
It turns out that God has been taking me though an over-comers journey. There’s a reason God calls His children over-comers. That word itself tells a comforting story, that you tried and tried and tried and then FINALLY you emerge victorious. See, even though sometimes we get instant miracles, other times it’s a journey and both of them—the instant miracle and the journey—are still by God’s mighty hand.
1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
While in that state of anxiety I found that I still had a lot to be grateful for. I was feeling anxious but I wasn’t overcome by anxiety. You see, in the past I have experienced the other side of overwhelming anxiety; a side that is coupled with hopelessness, a lethal combination.
This year I joined an accountability group and the first day we met we went through an exercise where we were supposed to identify the lies we believe on one side and on the other side write down what the truth of the word actually says about that lie. For instance one lie that I could easily identify was the constant feeling that I was either not good enough or just too much. I don’t even know how these conflicting thoughts can coexist in one mind at the same time.
There as so many lies that I believed about myself and about God that I am still combating. Overtime I’ve learnt to distinguish the various voices in my mind; the voice of God, the voice of the enemy, and my own voice. It has become apparent to me that the thoughts that for a long time I had owned as my own were simply whispers from the enemy which when embraced became roars.
The Bible describes the devil as a roaring lion. We know very well that the only true lion is Jesus, the Lion of Judah. But the enemy, being the great imitator, will often come as a “lion” and the only place he can roar is in our minds. Peter, in the verse I alluded to earlier, is quick to remind us to stay sober and alert and to cast all our anxiety on Jesus because if we don’t then our great enemy, the devil, is waiting to roar deception in our minds.
As we crossed over to the New Year I asked God what word He was speaking over me in 2019 and He led me to Isaiah 54. In this chapter there’s a particular verse I like, “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back.” When the feelings of anxiety begun, I started wondering why I was feeling as such and yet I have never trusted God more than I did then. But looking at the state I was in I regarded this as an invitation from God to trust Him even more. As I continued to do some soul searching I realized that there was a lot that I had “dealt with” by ignoring and it was all coming out at this moment. I further realized that I had lived my life governed by fear. That even what I had embraced as normal reactions of fear were not normal. Fear is not normal.
2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension
that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
I’d be lying if I said that I am finally at a place of rest. No I am not. Nevertheless, I am feeling a lot better. I’m still identifying the lies. This year if a thought does not conform to God’s word and the thoughts He has towards me then that thought cannot have a home in my mind. I’m asking God to show me how to trust Him and heal me from limiting mindsets. I am accepting His invitation to scale up the mountain and trust Him with all my being.
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