This post is the first of a 3-part series on Anxiety. We'll share Testimonials, Resources and a Therapist's response. Please join us in this conversation so we can kindly come alongside and help one another deal with life in ways that bring God glory. Comments from therapists are meant to further our conversation, but not intended as medical or professional advice.
I was having lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago when she began telling me about a recent panic attack she had endured. I thought to myself, “Wait a minute...she struggles with anxiety, too? She always seems to have it all together!” In that moment, I realized that so many of us struggle with anxiety, but we often keep it hidden because we think we are “less-than” every other woman. God is beginning to open my eyes to see that those are lies directly from Satan. Satan wants nothing more than to keep us isolated so we are ineffective for God’s calling on our lives.
I have been in a season of transition in my own life (starting a new job, son starting middle school, husband finishing his doctorate) and anxiety has decided to rear its ugly head once again. There has been something different about this season, though. I have had some pretty crippling moments and days of anxiety recently, but God is beginning to show me how to use my weakness for His glory. We have started studying 2 Corinthians in Wednesday night Bible Study and two verses during our first week of study shot an arrow through my heart.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
If you struggle with anxiety like me, we can share in our weaknesses together! Further in 2 Corinthians Paul talks about the “thorn in [his] flesh, a messenger of Satan [sent] to torment him.” (12:7) I am sure that you, like me, have pleaded with God to take away your thorn of anxiety. I have spent countless hours begging God to help me be “normal” and relieve the angst of anxiety that twists around my heart and mind. But God’s response to Paul is the same response He has to me in those struggling moments:
“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.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I want to challenge us all to begin looking at anxiety through a different lens. I have viewed anxiety as an annoying flaw in my personality that cripples me from living a life of freedom in Christ. But God is leading me on a path of freedom in Him through my anxiety. (I really can’t believe I just wrote that...that’s how extraordinary this new realization is!)
Kelly Minter said in her Bible Study, All Things New, that “the highest desire in the midst of our suffering is for Jesus to be revealed in us, for the sake of others, for the glory of God.” It’s difficult to release control and rest in God in the midst of a anxiety. But through those moments, God whispers your name and lets you know that you are not forgotten. He is in the midst of your anxiety with you, covering you with his feathers (Psalm 91:4).
I am challenging myself to stop fighting my “thorn” and begin resting in God’s presence. If you struggle with similar issues, I encourage you to allow God to use it to bring you into a deeper relationship with Him. Resist battling God for authority in your life and grant Him permission to use your weaknesses to set you free in Him.
For further reading, I recommend:
- Parenting Through Panic Attacks by Rebekah Lyons
- Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow
- Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado
Meet the Author!
Kim Arnold has been a church member of Council Road Baptist Church for nearly 25 years. She teaches private piano lessons in her studio and at Mid-America Christian University. Her passion lies in training up the next generation of worship leaders. Kim and her husband Jason have been married for 17 years and have a 12-year old son, Nolan.