Dear Anxious Heart, I Want You To Know...
I’ve sat in the chair across from you, listening to your story. I’ve heard your frustrations, seen your tears, and glimpsed the despair seeking to overtake you. You’ve felt lost, stuck, and hopeless.
You love the Lord and you don’t understand why these symptoms bombard you. You’ve found yourself derailed and unable to get back to where you once were. Serving the Lord once brought great joy, but now you’ve traveled to a place of shame and doubt, wondering how you could ever get back to that again, questioning your value and worth.
You say you’ve always been a little on the nervous side, but all the stressors of the last few years have taken a toll on you, like Jenga pieces plucked out and thrown on top, you’re teetering and ready to crumble.
Friend, you’re not alone.
Here's what I want you to know:
Know that you are seen and heard.
You’ve noticed people don’t understand what you’re going through, you’ve felt judged and misunderstood. Craving that connection with others, you feel frustrated at unmet expectations. My deepest prayer for you in this moment is to know the love of Jesus more, because the one who created you, the one who gave you life and breath today, knows you – He sees you.
And He doesn’t just know you by name, He knows your heart, your passions, and desires. He knows the fears you face, the symptoms you experience and all the ways you try to escape it; and yes, He knows all your thoughts - even those in your darkest moments.
The Father Almighty knows everything about you, and friend, He loves you.
Others may have let you down, but He never will.
You’ve covered yourself in shame over who you think you “should’ be, listing all the ways you don’t measure up. But, what if it’s less about you, and about Him instead. Even now in this anxious crisis, you’ve been saved by grace and it is still not your own doing, but God’s gift (Eph 2:8).
His love and acceptance wasn’t extended because you were in a good place, doing the right things, He gave it while we were following the world and our selfish desires, living in sin and disobedience, “but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:4-5).
Take comfort and strength in the assurance of His love.
Know the battle is at hand.
The soundtrack of your thoughts resounds with fears and worries, often beginning with “what if….” until you become overwhelmed and your thoughts race and spiral in every direction. You feel like a knotted ball of yarn could be unraveled easier than this.
Scripture teaches us to take our thoughts captive (2 Cor 10:3-5), to be transformed by renewing our mind (Rom 12:2) and to shift our thoughts to those that are true, lovely, and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8).
You know this isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Part of the battle also means throwing off the sin that entangles us (Heb 12:2), knowing our temptations and unbelief, confessing it to the Lord to receive forgiveness that we may carry on running the race before us.
This isn’t any easier.
But as those who love and follow Jesus, we’re admonished to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Eph 6:10) for exactly that reason, and because God is gracious and good, He gives us armour for the battle to equip us as we persevere, as we fight the good fight of faith.
Take comfort and strength in the assurance of His grace and forgiveness.
Know that because of Christ, there is hope
Through your tears, you asked me a question, a desperate plea to know if I really believed there was hope for you.
A tear of my own escaped.
Yes friend, there absolutely is!
Not because of anything you, or I, can do. There is hope for you because of Jesus. In what He has already done and what He promises to do. He’s redeemed us from a life of sin, chosen us as His children, promising He will never abandon us, but will be with us always. He’s changing us, renewing us day by day, more into His likeness and every morning His mercies are new because of His great faithfulness.
It’s hardest to believe this in our struggles. But it’s the most important time to.
God is working on you for your good, even as you debate whether you’re worthy enough to continue leading others or doubt if God can still use you. Jesus calms the storm in our hearts with the words, “Peace. Be still” (Mark 4:29).
This season is part of your story.
You don’t want it to be, but God knows what He’s doing for His glory and for your good. As you fix your eyes on Him, you’re being changed (2 Cor 3:18) and knowing Him in a deeper way because of it.
Take comfort and strength from the hope we have in Him.
Friend, I’m praying for you: For a spirit of power, love and self-control in place of fear, for you to grow in knowledge and godliness through the Word of God, and for trusted others to encourage you, hold you accountable, and journey with you. This journey is tough, but not hopeless. We are weak, but He is strong. We are faithless, but He is faithful.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57)
Ideas for further reading:
Hope in an Anxious World: 6 Truths When Life Feels Overwhelming by Helen Thorne
Anxiety: Knowing God’s Peace, A 31 Day Devotional by Paul Tautges
Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of Rest by Edward Welch
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