Friends, it is mid-May and the weather is warm and I just took advantage of Sonic Happy Hour, which is always a sign that summer is near. I love this time of year for so many reasons, mostly because it makes life feel so much more free and colorful. Even though this working girl no longer has “summer break” like the days of old, there’s nothing that tops a Saturday in June… speaking of, we’re not too far from celebrating the anniversary of my favorite Saturday in June EVER:
What a crazy and amazing year it has been — but many more (sappy) words will come on that in another post. Today I’m here to write about something that has weighed all too heavily on my heart over the past few months, and I know I’m not the only one who has ever experienced the effects of it: anxiety.
Now, before I dive in deep here, it’s important to clarify that this anxiety I’m talking about is mostly situational. I know there are people who suffer from anxiety far beyond what I have ever experienced, and I don’t pretend to understand or even fathom the kind of burden that can be on you mentally, physically and spiritually. But no matter how much or how often you experience anxiety, I hope that what the Lord has revealed to me during this time will help bring you closer to Him and His goodness.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been known as someone who is laid-back and really doesn’t stress about much. When I graduated college and began working full-time, I became slightly more organized and rigid about my schedule, and then I got a bit more uptight when I got married and had my own home and a spouse to take care of (public apology to my husband here, who deals with the control freak in me daily). But even then, I had never felt the type of anxiety that sits with you day after day, and slowly brews inside of you until one day, you suddenly realize that you’re not really “you” anymore.
This is what has happened to me over the past few months, and it wasn’t set off by anything in particular — the only thing I could notice when I took a step back and tried to map it out was the stress (somewhat self-inflicted, I imagine) of my work. There has been this vicious cycle happening in my head where I think about the fact that we labor for the Lord and we should do our work well as a reflection of Him, but I also think about the fact that we shouldn’t find our identity in our work, or prioritize our jobs over our families. This stress of trying to balance living in this world but not being absorbed by it as it relates to my work has brought forth so many breakdowns and tear-filled prayers over the past few months, and it has been absolutely exhausting. (again, my poor husband, you guys. he is so good to me.)
While I am 100% still in the middle of what a lot of times feels like I can’t come up for air, I have been able to truly take refuge in the the Lord and His promises. Something I often forget as a Christian is that Satan is actively trying to attack us and lead us to subtly slip out of our genuine belief in Jesus Christ. As many of you have read over the past few months, I have felt so uplifted and blessed by setting aside time every day to read God’s Word and pray for everything on my heart. But it is in these times of hurt and confusion and my constant questioning of “God, can you please just show me what’s next for me so I can push through here?” that my faith can grow weak if I allow myself to believe that God is only good if I am not in pain.
I’ve seen it before, I see it now, and I pray that I’ll see it again when the next bout of hard times comes along: God is good, God is everlasting, and God never leaves us. Situations like this always remind me of the book of Job, and I remember hearing a talk on this book when I was in high school where the speaker summed up Job in the easiest way: Job was hurting and confused and in so much pain, and he questioned God endlessly on why He was allowing him to go through such a difficult time. And this is (obviously) not verbatim, but God’s answer was essentially: Because I am God, and you are not.
I can’t see the whole picture, and sometimes that bothers me to no end. But I know — I just know — that God is greater than our plans, He is greater than our troubles, and He will make all things work together for our good. It still means that I’ll probably wake up on Monday morning wanting to do anything besides face the week ahead — but the truth of Christ remains the same. And I hope that if you don’t believe that now, that you will keep pushing for answers in God’s Word until you do. And if you do believe it, I pray that you’ll cling tightly to it.
We’ll end this on a happy note: enjoy a few pictures from my sister’s graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill this weekend, where Jordan and I shamelessly belted out the alma mater with the graduates and got weird looks from everyone around us. Oh well. :)
If it’s helpful, I just went through a series called “Putting the X Through Anxiety” with Louie Giglio, which you can sign up for here. It provides a lot of resources to help you think through the root of your anxiety and how to pray through it. I hope it helps you too!