Anxiety, whether it’s rational or not, is real.
It took me hours to fall asleep last night, and when I finally did, I woke at 5:30am. (It’s a little late to think of sleep aids. Moving on.) Amid jumbled thoughts and a racing heart, I sought to find rest, but overwhelming fears pushed their way to the front of my mind. Lying in bed with feelings akin to panic, I briefly, but seriously, considered canceling my flight. I messaged my son in Florida, telling him that I was starting to freak out about traveling. He replied with, “It’ll be all okay mom, remember people do it all the time.” Oh, the voice of reassurance and the presence of truth! How I needed to hear it.
See, what anxious people need to hear isn’t, “Don’t be silly.” or “That’s ridiculous.” They don’t need to be told that what they’re feeling is irrational and makes no sense. What they need is reassurance and truth. They need validation, validation that says, “Look, I know you’re afraid. I know this is scary, but you can do this. You’re not alone. We’re here to help.”
Anxiety is the result of fear. It is the machinations of the mind, thoughts fueled by untruths. Anxiety manifests in the body, but begins in the mind. The key to containing anxiety isn’t only in shutting the door on wrong thoughts, but on replacing them with the truth. Anxiety is arrested when we “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5b)
Since I couldn’t sleep (and wasn’t doing a great job at reining in my thoughts), I got up and went to the dining room where I flipped open my summer Bible study book. I sat down and, as I always do when seated at the dining room table, I turned to look out the window.
Imagine my surprise to see the cardinal at the feeder. At 5:40am. What a God-Nod. It was as if God was saying, “I’m right here. I’ve got you. I won’t leave you.”
Are you anxious, Friend? He is there. He will not leave you. I will not fear, for He is with me.