About 3.1% of the U.S population live with generalized anxiety. I am part of that 3.1%. I am going to be honest and vulnerable with you. I have dealt with this for as long as I can remember. When I was in middle school, we took these big tests each spring to see how we were developing. I would get so anxious that I’d constantly be licking my lips, and then they would get chapped. I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before. My anxiety had always held me back, whether it was going to hang out with friends or taking a test.
I ask myself a million questions. Was I too awkward during the conversation yesterday? Does my makeup look okay? Why are those people looking at me? Was I nice enough to that customer? Did someone take offense to my sass? I would make up excuses not to hang out with my friends or go out because of my anxiety. I’d stay up late at night, worrying about every word I said and every move I made.
I moved away to college and during my first semester, my anxiety escalated. I was afraid to leave my dorm or sit next to new people in class. In fact, most of the friends I did make were from my hall or were because of assigned seating, which was a major BLESSING to me (and I appreciate all of those friends SO much). I questioned what I was doing in college. Am I good enough? Am I doing this right? I remember thinking this ALL the time.
My anxiety is a constant everyday struggle, but I don’t let it define me. In fact, most people don’t know I struggle with this expect for a handful of my family and friends. I am not afraid to admit it now because I know that my Lord and Savior is in control.
I could not tell you why I always felt anxious. On the outside I tend to be a very outspoken, carefree, and confident. What many people don’t see is my heart beating rapidly during a conversation, my hand getting clammy, or butterflies in my stomach during a normal conversation (not even a “cute boy talking to me” conversation). What many people don’t know and I tend not to share is the trembling, uncontrolled crying, shortness of breath and anxiety attacks I get every so often over major things, which can be horrific sometimes.
What helps me in my everyday life is knowing I’m not alone. Yes, I have my mom and closest friends to talk to and my Father in heaven is the who knows what goes on in my head and places His hand on my shoulder and leads the way. I am reminded of grandmother’s favorite hymn “In the Garden”.
“And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.”
I find myself singing this constantly; it’s a great reminder that He is always with me. There is no other relationship that I have that is like ours. There are also plenty of other verses in the Bible that come to mind when dealing with anxiety.
“Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Isn’t that AMAZING? When I think of this, I think of fishing at the lake. When you physically cast out your rod and (fingers crossed) catch a fish. When we cast our anxieties to God, He will send back peace within us. We can seriously put all our doubts and worries on Him because He loves us so much. He will listen to us all day every day if we allow Him to and pray that He will guide us.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
This is a perfect verse for those late night thoughts running through your head.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7
God will listen to you and help you through it all. He will put his hands over you and guide to the right place. These are 3 major verses that help me get through the day living with anxiety. There are probably a lot more, but these are the ones that have been helpful to me.
Turning to God and praying should always be our first choice, but there are more that can help. Find a happy place, whether it’s in your bed curled up or out with friends at a concert. My happy place is on my beach house’s back dock after a day at the beach getting some sun, wearing a sweatshirt and shorts. It seriously gives me so much relief just to THINK about it. Talking is a major key to getting through anxiety. Whether it is with Jesus, friends, a therapist, or your dog, talking helps. If you have any other ways to encourage others dealing with anxiety, please share!
My prayer for you, the reader, is that if you also deal with anxiety that you find hope, wisdom and peace in God. That you will turn to Him in your trials and worries, I pray that you find comfort in your heart knowing you are loved and you are priceless. I pray for this post that it reaches many women, letting them know that they are not alone in this world. I pray for the 3.1%. I pray that they all will find peace in their thoughts.
PLEASE, if you also struggle with anxiety, we would love to pray for you and walk with you in any way we can! Please contact us through facebook, so we can know how best to be there for you.