Can you praise God with me for a moment? I have been having a rough few months, and God deserves the glory for it! There are days I wake up in the morning and I stumble across my room toward my slippers and find that when I’ve served myself a cup of coffee and I’m looking out at a new rising sun, my heart is still achy. You remember that puppy, right? The one that kind of threw me for a loop? I’ve still been feeling the ripples of anxiety.
Like I said, I fight greatly against anxiety. But, God has given me some amazing tools to fend off this giant. The main tool is His Word. It really is a powerful resource that a lot of people don’t take full advantage of. I mean, have you opened the Bible and looked at the words perfectly set on the page and though, “These are literally words orchestrated by God”? If you haven’t, take some time to meditate on that truth, it will blow your mind!
A good friend of mine sent me some Bible verses that she uses as encouraging pieces of scripture when she needs a dose of faith. After she shared them with me she told me that she wrote those words down on notecards and referred back to them whenever she needed encouragement. I am a lover of handwriting, so I took strongly to the idea of writing these verses out by hand. I went out to Target and I bought a set of three little booklets that can easily fit in my back pockets and wrote out these verses in one of them. When that one fills up, I’ll use another. I carry that little booklet around with me wherever I go, and when anxiety has started to rattle my heart again, I stop, pull out that booklet and read God’s truth and promises. It obliterates my anxiety. It’s not the words written on the page that are powerful, it’s the promise behind those words.
My struggle with anxiety reminds me of the Israelites when they were traveling through the wilderness. They would give themselves over to God, and then distrust Him and His promises and turn their own way. When things got really bad, they’d come running back to Him and thus the cycle would continue. Something I thought was interesting was the way that God understood humans need tools, or symbols, to help them remember. When God dried up the Jordan river for the Israelites to cross, God commanded them to pile up a stack of rocks so they would remember what God had done. There are other examples, but I can’t remember them right now. So, something that I am going to do is create a piece of “experiential art.” I am making up terms here. I am going to get a small tree branch and hang it on the wall. Each time that God does something specific in my life (e.g. teaches me something new, provides in ways large or small, calls me to do something), I will write it on a piece of paper and tie it to the tree. Over time, I expect to see this branch full of God’s work. How is that for a visual to help you remember that God is faithful and He does work in our lives! That is a project I will start soon, and I’ll be sure to be showing pictures so you can praise Him with me.
One thing that God has done for me recently that has blown me away is His provision of social interaction. I am highly energized by people, so these past two months of having minimal quality social interaction has been a complete drain. Recently, God has opened the floodgates and I have been connecting with people who I’ve met on past short term trips in South America. People have been inviting me to bible studies, and other gatherings and I’ve been able to spread my social butterfly wings again. It has felt so good, and I thank God for every moment that He gives me those moments. I never thought I’d thank God for giving me the chance to spend time with people. He is so good in knowing what we need. Can you praise Him with me for a moment?! These are things I’m writing on papers to be hung on that tree branch. I think already, this thing is going to be full.
In short, God has been teaching me to battle anxiety by remembering. What has God done for you in the past? Would remembering those things help you fight against feelings of worry when things don’t go according to plan? What tools do you use to bring yourself back to center with your faith placed fully in God?