Are you familiar with that tingly anxiety wash followed by a bit of nausea? Maybe for you, anxiety says hello differently, but I’m guessing you can relate to it appearing whenever it announces its unwelcome arrival. For me, it usually shows up in the evening and lately can really affect when I’m able to sleep.
It’s a funny thing, for sure. Sometimes something is on my mind, but often I have no idea what I’m worried about or what’s bothering me. That’s rough because I feel helpless to overcome it. Plus, I add on a new anxiety layer by racking my brain trying to figure out just what’s making me anxious. Awesome. When I make a mess, I really make a mess!
From my health, wellness, and herbal journey, I have learned that anxiety can exist because of imbalances in gut flora. It can even manifest due to depleted adrenals or consumption of too much sugar. I find that’s when it appears unexplained. So an extra probiotic and some time/rest often lessens the symptoms.
But sometimes, it is more spiritual. For example, anxiety will often present itself when we carry worries and burdens that aren’t ours to carry. For me, I find that the two often go hand in hand. My mind will often focus on the negatives, the struggles, and the what-ifs when I’m extra tired, have forgotten to take my supplements, and have not eaten enough good foods.
I recently found myself with a destroyed gut thanks to a parasite, so I wasn’t surprised when anxiety came a-knockin’. I had just gotten over 11 days of nausea, cramping, and diarrhea. Little Bro became infected, so he had to ride out his ten days. And then the weekend after I was finally up and around, Hubby tells me he feels like he’s getting sick but just with a cold. Well, that was enough of an invite for anxiety.
Well, hello, anxiety.
On came the tingly wash and nausea. See, we have done these 4 – 6 weeks of sickness thing before, and it was horrible. I have been afraid of it happening again ever since. It turns out I didn’t sleep much that night, and we did get sick for another 6-week chunk of time. First, Little Bro and I had the parasite. Then Hubby, Big Bro, and I got a nasty cold, and Baby Bro had a “cold” from teething. Yuck.
However, my mom reminded me that we can only look up when God puts us on our backs. And she was so right. Out of that awful time, God brought healing to me. When I was so sick, I honestly couldn’t imagine feeling better and doing life again as it had been. We were in crisis with Big Bro yet again, causing my marriage to be on shaky ground because of the turmoil in parenting. In addition, our home was in the midst of a remodeling project, and we were falling behind with our school lessons. I just felt like everything on my plate was unbearable, and I couldn’t do it anymore. Thankfully that was just the sickness talking, but hitting the bottom allowed God to step in.
God didn’t leave me in my mess!
He often works that way, doesn’t He? I’m so glad He doesn’t leave us in our messes!
Anyway, God moved. Hubby has stepped in with the Big Bro situation. I found the clarity of mind to do some cleaning/reorganizing, and we made a little more progress on the remodel project. But, most importantly, Hubby and I had some reconnecting time that was very spare of the moment. And, God amazingly spoke into my life.
Abruptly, while talking with Hubby, God showed me that I was not trusting him. As we were talking, I was surprised at what was coming out of my mouth. God kindly opened my eyes and allowed me to see the heart of the issue. The truth was I did not trust His plan, and I was carrying around the weight of worry about what trials and pain were still coming. I have been under trial for so long- trials even to prepare me for other trials- that it feels like I will never stop experiencing pain. Under the surface, my brain was worrying about what God will take away or allow next, what pain I will still have to endure.
And it took a nasty time of crisis for God to open my eyes. But he is faithful, and in mercy, He showed me my sin. He showed me how deep my distrust was rooted and how unwilling I was to accept his plan for my life. OUCH! While these are hard to face, they are necessary revelations from Him. I cannot grow as a person and deepen my relationship with Him without them. The Lord disciplines those he loves.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
Truthfully, I believe reaching out to Hubby with my thoughts enabled God to work in my mind. We were not created to walk life alone. So when you are determined to stay in your head, that’s precisely where you will stay. The Bible tells us that we are to be in community with one another and confess our sin.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Once the words were out, even though I was a bit stunned, I felt some relief and could sleep. In the morning, however, God started healing. The boys put on a CD of hymns, and as I was moving about getting ready for church, I all of a sudden heard and became aware of specific lyrics- “Oh for grace to trust Him more” and “the things of earth will go strangely dim in the light of his mercy and grace” to be specific.
Following that came a sermon on the Crown of Life that believers will receive who handle their trials biblically. When our pastor explained that the Greek word for ‘persevere’ is two words that mean to “remain under,” I was stunned. He followed that with the instruction that the proper biblical response to trials is to remain under them because we know that they are producing maturity and growth in our Christian walk.
Peace comes from trusting God.
I share my story with you because I have experienced a peace and absence of anxiety through this craziness that can only come from trusting God. Part of that peace is from knowing that the Lord disciplines those he loves, so these struggles mean that I am His child.
Is it hard to truthfully acknowledge why I’m anxious? Absolutely. It is a choice I have to make in the moment to trust his plan and let go of my fears and worries regardless of the cost to me.
Is that scary? Without a doubt. However, I know deep down in my heart that His will for me, while it may be painful, will ultimately bring Him glory. It will also become a testimony to His greatness. Plus, no matter what, He is walking with me through it all and even carrying me through the worst.
Does it mean I will never feel anxiety again? Nope. It’s these kinds of things that keep us on our knees and mindful of our need for him. But rather than be hopelessly tossed around by feelings, I have been blessed with a way to cope. Sometimes our struggles are given to us so that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
1 Corinthians 12:9
So when anxiety comes a-knockin’, I have been finding myself praying, “Lord, give me the grace to trust you more.” It’s kind of like the father of the boy with an unclean spirit in Mark 9: 14-29 crying out asking God to help his unbelief when God opened his eyes to it. God will never leave those kinds of desperate prayers unanswered, friend.
If you struggle with anxiety, too, I encourage you to search your heart and talk to God about it. There is hope and healing in Jesus!
More in the Series:
Part 1- Well, Hello Anxiety
Part 2- If You are Struggling With Overwhelming Anxiety
Part 3- Anxiety does not mean the quality of your faith is poor!