Be Still, My Heart

Photo by Lindsey Riley

Photo by Lindsey Riley

Anxiety is a tricky thing. It's considered certifiable disorder, but whether you're diagnosed with it or not, I think everyone struggles with anxious thoughts and fears at some point. I had it really bad last year. Like, couldn't make it through a six-hour barista shift without having a panic attack bad. There were a lot of factors feeding that anxiety, but there were also moments my mind went into anxious overdrive over absolutely nothing. It's terrifying to feel out of control of your thoughts. That's where I was for about six months. Out of control, and living in constant fear.

Thankfully, my anxiety began to dissipate, slowly but surely, and now I'm a-okay.  But that doesn't mean I don't get anxious and panicky sometimes. My creative, active mind can (creatively) spin all kinds of fears and truths and lies into things I need to worry about. Do you know that feeling? That nagging little whisper that can convince your heart of the worst things?

I've had a couple of weeks recently that have been weeks of deep breaths and silent prayers. There is a spinning hamster wheel in my head that will not stop, no matter how hard I try to make it go away. I've had a heavy weight in the pit of my stomach, and my heart flutters with fear at the littlest thing. There's this little (but powerful) liar hissing in my ear that I need to fight for control in a situation that doesn't even involve me. The liar also tells me I am insignificant, and that I am not good enough. And, even though I know all those things ring very false, they are still very loud bells.

So I have a new routine. Whenever I feel the weight of an anxious thought begin to press into my mind, I find a quiet corner and close my eyes. Take a few deep breaths. And start reciting:

Father, You have promised to daily bear my burdens.

There is something pretty powerful about reminding God about what He's already promised to you. Like, obviously He knows, but I have this feeling He likes us to claim those promises for ourselves, and be bold enough to say them back to Him. And He has definitely promised to carry our burdens.

Psalm 68 says, Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.

Our burdens can be a death of sorts, you know? It's so easy to be weighed down by anxiety and whatever else, to the point that you are dead in your soul and broken by fear. Our minds are a glorious gift from God, but Satan has figured out a way to weasel his way into that gift and use it against us. Because that's what he does best. He wants us to be trapped. (He's the worst.)

BUT GOOD NEWS. We have the ultimate Pal to take over that burden. All we have to do is hand it to Him. 

Here's a cool thing: David doesn't tentatively ask God to help a brother out in Psalm 68. He walks boldly into the throne room with praises already on his lips, saying THANK YOU, LORD, for this sweet gift. That is the attitude we need. If Christ is in us, and we are in Him, His strength is our strength. Therefore, we can throw off the burdens and the whispers and the lies and say, Hey, Jesus, this is all yours. He has promised to catch and carry the load. He wants to catch and carry the load. He wants you to be light. He wants me to be light. He wants to take the things that are troubling us, the anxiety and the heaviness and the fear, and throw them far away.

So we can run freely and confidently toward Him.