It’s not the memories of what I have done that plague me.
It’s the memories of what I haven’t done. The conversations I haven’t had. The people I haven’t helped. The dreams I haven’t pursued.
I didn’t know J.J. well, but I could tell that he was suffering.
The slope of his shoulders.
The tilt of his head.
The tightness of his jaw.
The distant look in his eyes.
I felt a pull to comfort him, but anxiety whispered, who are you to help him?
I longed to tell him he was not alone, but anxiety cautioned, how well do you really know him?
I could tell he was drowning in anxiety, but anxiety told me, that’s you. That’s just you!
The lies that anxiety whispers are like needles to the heart.
And yet the pain reminds me that my heart still beats.
And my beating heart still believes that God’s light shines brightest when we are lost in the dark.
The Anxious Christian Woman
Anxiety is part of the human experience; a consequence of the fall of man.
I could provide you with my own personal definition of anxiety, but I doubt it would resonate with you.
Because everyone experiences anxiety differently.
Instead, here is a powerful definition from Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary:
“Anxiety is an uneasy feeling of uncertainty, agitations, drear or fear. In the Bible, anxiety is frequently depicted as the common human reaction to stressful circumstances…Anxiety is portrayed in the scripture as being inconsistent with trust in God…Anxiety frequently manifests itself in ungodly concern about provisions, performance, or reputation, and appears to be rooted in incomplete knowledge, lack of control over circumstances or failure to take an ‘eternal’ perspective on things.”
Anxiety’s sour presence has touched every aspect of my being:
My mental health.
My physical wellbeing.
My faith in God.
Those of us who struggle with anxiety on a regular basis often feel like anxiety is the cage through whose bars we see the world.
But I am slowly learning to see my personal battle with anxiety as an opportunity rather than a cage.
God can use whatever he chooses in our lives, whether it is good or evil in nature, to accomplish his plans.
With this in mind, I dug down deep to look at how anxiety was connected to my faith walk and my spiritual gifts. My relationships with others and with myself. Every part of my life.
The words Joseph spoke to his brothers after he revealed himself to them in Egypt can be true in your life and mine.
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is not being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
Hope for the Anxious Christian Woman
Here are four ways the Lord has used my anxious tendencies to bring about good in my life:
Anxiety teaches me to rely on God in all things. If anxiety can teach me to rely more on God, day by day, little by little, than every second of anxiety is worth it. It’s a rather bold statement, but have you ever thought about your anxiety this way?
Anxiety reminds me to stop and pray. The easiest way to turn anxiety back around is to use those moments as chances to seek God in prayer. When you start to feel anxious, get down on your knees.
Anxiety makes me more accessible to others. We are meant to help strengthen each other. My deepest wish is that my words will reach others who have struggled with anxiety. There is nothing more humbling, or more gratifying, than helping someone who has struggled with the same problems I have.
Anxiety motivates me to lead an active faith life. Anxiety is an active state of being. Our faith is meant to be active as well. The fight is still not easy, but it becomes easier when you learn that you don’t have to carry this burden on your own. God is there to help us when we ask.
Anxiety doesn’t mean that I have failed at being a Christian in some way.
It simply means I need a little extra help from God to get through the day.
Bible Verses for the Anxious Christian Woman
As a final parting gift, I want to share a few verses from God’s Word that always help calm my anxious thoughts. Please take them to heart:
Jeremiah 1:5a Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
Romans 8:28-30a And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plan I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 6:25-27 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the bird of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away barns, and yet their heavenly Father feeds them all. Are you not much more valuable than they: Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
If you struggle with anxiety on a regular basis, I need to tell you:
You are not alone.
You are not powerless.
You are not forgotten.
We may be anxious Christian women but we are also beautiful children of God!
It’s time to replace anxiety’s darkness with His light, through His strength, for His glory.
I hope that this small piece of my story has encouraged you to step out from behind anxiety’s bars and search for ways to draw closer to God in your daily life.
My anxiety hasn’t disappeared.
It’s still there, but I hold it in perspective now.
It’s a weakness to overcome, day by day, by drawing close to God, telling Him my fears, and allowing Him to remind me that no fears can get in the way of His plans.
Melody Quinn is an associate editor for TouchPoint Press. She graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 2014 with a BA in English and Technical Writing. She celebrated her first year anniversary with her husband on Sunday, April 9th. In her free time, Melody enjoys reading, writing, swing dancing with her husband and playing with their baby guinea pig.
Note from Sarah: I’d like to close this article by sharing one of my all-time favorite verses with you. Read this aloud with me and let the truth of these words soak down deep in your soul. “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.” 1 Corinthians 12:9
I am so grateful that God intervened in Melody’s life and helped her see anxiety for what it really is: a weakness. And weakness, sweet friend, is not a sin! Weakness is just a spot where you need a little extra help, a little extra hope. It’s how we handle our weakness that often invites sinful patterns and behaviors into our life.
The world tells us that weakness is something to be ashamed of. But that message is 100% contrary to Scripture. Weakness is a gift, an opportunity to draw near to God, to rely on His strength. I love how Melody talked about darkness and light. God’s Word is our light. Our truth. Our hope. So dig deep, sweet friend. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. That’s a promise, and our God never breaks His promises!