dear anxiety: it’s not me, it’s you. (a thank you letter)

photo-1434030216411-0b793f4b4173Dear Anxiety,

Let’s be clear from the jump. As much as I’ve wanted to break up, you’ve continued sticking around. Since you’ve made yourself so welcome, I’ve been forced to address your purpose in my life. But I would like to lay out some ground rules and just make some things clear.

The thing is, you are a liar. I know your job is to make me feel like everything you say is true. But you tell me that everything is wrong when actually, nothing is wrong. You tell me that I’m supposed to be panicking and that my body should react to a crisis when there isn’t actually a crisis at all. You string thoughts together in my mind in one continuous run on sentence that lasts for hours. You tell my brain that it can’t handle sounds and I need to physically react to them. After some time of just making my brain work overtime, you tell my body it’s time to get in on the action, so my heart races fast enough to make me feel like I’m not breathing right.

And as full as my head is of thoughts and words, I can’t respond or make sense of any requests that are made of me. You tell me that I am crazy and incapable. You use words like insane, unworthy, unsure. Your job is to derail me from purpose and joy. Your job description is to steal peace.

But you have one job that I don’t think you’re aware of.

You remind me of my need for God.

You didn’t know that, did you?

You force me to slow down and to reassess my priorities. You lead me straight to the place that God has intended for me to be all along: a spot of dependency and desperation.

And for all of the pain and panic and chaos, I’ll choose to thank you for reminding me that I truly am not enough. Although you use fear, your presence in my life is not pointless.

You are a tactic of my enemy but an opportunity for my God.

You have taught me that my body really is a temple. That I can’t just do whatever I want without any consequences. You reinforce my need for rest. You think that your only role is to sabotage me, but I’m not buying it anymore.

So when you tell me that I’m not enough, I will agree.

When you tell me I’m weak, I’ll let my God show you His strength.

When you tell me I can’t breathe and I can’t make it through, I will choose to pause. I’ll remind you Who gives me my breath and Who sustains me.

When you tell me that I am in need of control in order to have peace, I’ll be reminded to surrender myself one more time to the One who has all control.

When you tell me that you separate me from the acceptance of God, I will remind you that absolutely nothing can separate me from His love.

When you tell me that I’m crazy, I will remind you that I have been given the mind of Christ and that my thoughts obey Him.

And when I fail in the moment and I listen to you, believing that I’m insane and that things will never change, I will remind you that His grace is enough. That my God forgives me every time I believe what you say over what He says. That shame isn’t a part of His holy vocabulary. That even when you try to convince me that you have me chained up, I’ve been set free. And unlike what you tell me, I can’t free myself.

The jig is up. I’m done fighting and just trying to push you out because the thing is, I live in this crazy and broken world. I’ve asked God to take you from me, and yet, here you still are. So instead of giving in to shame or failure, I’ll acknowledge you as the appointed thorn in my side that leads me closer to ridiculous grace of Jesus.

So, thanks.

 

 

“…There was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three ties I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” [2 Corinthians 12:7-10]

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