Monday, December 7, 2015

Some of you who know me well may be aware that I tend to be a worrier. That’s actually putting it somewhat mildly; throughout my life I’ve dealt with anxiety pretty consistently in varying degrees. I believe that God has provided for me in a lot of ways in this journey, most notably by giving me an extremely supportive husband and family, but also by providing therapy, medication and excellent doctors that helped me get through the worst parts of a struggle that has been at times been debilitating. 

Looking back, I can see clearly that God helped me, and did not forsake me, and brought me to a place of healing that sometimes feels too good to be true. But in the moment, when I was suffering, it was nearly impossible to feel that God heard me or was helping me. I have to be honest and say that I had a really hard time feeling God’s presence sometimes, and I don’t think I’m alone in that experience.

These days, my anxiety is much better, but I still have moments, as many people do, when I feel panicky, anxious, or struggle with way too many worries racing through my mind. Over the past few years, I have realized that I feel most connected to God when I make myself get quiet for a second and breathe. 

I have learned to love the moments of silent prayer at church. There is usually rustling, and noises here and there for a few seconds as people get settled in, then it gets truly quiet in the sanctuary and I can feel my body relax and my breathing get slower and deeper.
I also get relief from worry and anxiety sometimes when I journal, meditate, pray, read certain Bible verses, listen to music of all kinds, or enjoy art or literature. I’ve realized that I don’t do a lot of these things nearly enough, but the common theme seems to be that God is around me in many ways, when I choose to get quiet and be present and pay attention to the world around me and to Him. 

This is not a magic fix for my anxiety, but I am learning more and more that I do have access to the presence of God, when I seek it. 

And that feels really comforting for me. 

I still use many of the tools I mentioned before to help manage my anxiety, and in addition, I believe that God is teaching me more and more how to seek relief and wisdom from feeling connected to Him. I know that I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. But to me, there is something holy that can be experienced when we get quiet and breathe, and maybe that’s God breaking in. 

What kind of experience helps you get still and quiet and makes you feel connected to Someone bigger than yourself?


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