Let’s talk about anxiety and emotions. Anxiety can stem from many sources. Whether it’s lack of control, or indecision about our next steps, this is all normal and part of the human condition. Some might say talking about anxiety distracts us from God and the mission of the Church. They may say things such as, “Keep your chin up” or my personal favorite, “Just stop worrying about it, everything will work out!” Well I don’t fully agree with the idea that we should push past those emotions. In fact, I think it can be incredibly fulfilling when we allow God to work through us in our weaknesses to strengthen our relationship with Him.I have dealt with anxiety since I was 8 years old. Back then my biggest worry was failing my spelling test or having to stand up in front of my class. As I have gotten older, the opportunities for anxiety have only become more common. God has worked on my heart recently to understand this: I cannot meet perfection, nor does God expect that of me. I would hear lies such as, “A real follower of God wouldn’t have anxiety,” or “A real follower of God would be stronger than this,” or finally, “A real follower of God shouldn’t show this much emotion.” Those lies tended to circle around in my head, and they were all untrue. Worse than that, they would actually separate me from God in fear of what He thought of me. I had to attack each of those lies head on, for years, until one day, I was listening to a sermon and the pastor said something that changed my life:
“When you weep, your Father in Heaven weeps as well. He knows every tear, every pain, every anxious thought, and He loves you more than you could ever comprehend.”
Those words completely changed my perspective on my walk with God, and it released so much pressure. If God is weeping with me, then He clearly is not judging me, and He is not disappointed. He shares in my suffering.2 Corinthians 1:7 says,
"And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."
God is compassionate, and He clearly isn’t surprised that I don’t meet the expectations that I set for myself. I began to think about it deeper. If God doesn’t expect perfection, then what does He expect? Matthew 6:34 says this, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Therein lies the answer to my anxiety. I am not created to understand the future, or the past; I am created to trust God with today. I am created to love Him with all my heart, soul, and mind. Catch that last part: “and mind.” Your mental health has to be in check before you can share that love with those around you.Once I stopped wondering if God was disappointed with me and my anxiety, those anxious thoughts seemed to disappear. They were replaced with new ones. Instead of hearing lies meant to break me down, I now hear, “You are my daughter, I understand you better than you understand yourself. You don’t need to do anything, my child. Just be still.” And my favorite, “I created you with emotions, and I love to see you use them.” So to whoever is reading this today, if you need to treat yourself to a big cry, go for it. If you need to write an angry letter and stick it in a drawer, write to your heart's content. Surrender your emotion to your Heavenly Father and know that He loves you just the same.
Graphic Designer at Sun Valley Community Church, Jesus lover, Disney fanatic, down-to-earth artist on a path to express her creativity and love for people.