Thank you so much for letting me know where you’re at! I was wondering…
Do you sometimes wish you could take off anxiety like a too-tight jacket and just run?
When I’m wearing that jacket, I think about how wonderful it would be to breathe without tightness in my middle. To lie down and sleep in peace. To walk and run and not grow faint with worry. To mount up with wings like eagles.
But anxiety doesn’t want to lose its job. It will say, “Look, I know I’m unpleasant, but you need me. If you stop worrying, all the things I warn you about will immediately happen, and you’ll feel stupid. Or look stupid. Or maybe even die. So you’d better keep me.”
There’s a difference between anxiety and the normal emotions caused by actual danger. Having anxiety is having a very sensitive danger-o-meter. It’s like putting a seismograph on a paint shaker. But you probably already know that, because that’s just what it feels like.
I didn’t even know I had anxiety issues until I’d said no to God several times, followed Him anyway to incredible India, and birthed two babies in less-than-ideal conditions. I was home on a furlough when I realized there was a Goliath in my life. People would stop me in church to tell me how brave I was.
I want to keep this letter short. If there’s one thing I could tell you, it’s that it is completely worth it to follow God and do that brave, scary thing He’s asking you to do. Maybe the Scary Thing is just confronting and healing your anxiety. For me, the journey to inner peace has been a more terrifying journey than hundreds of plane rides, dozens of illnesses, and again, the baby-birthing in the Himalayas.
Once, while in those mountains, I saw a burly shepherd wearing a brown woolen coat. He was walking down a path, leading several hundred sheep. And there, peaking out of his pocket, was a tiny, new, white lamb. Just along for the ride, held by the shepherd.
Don’t forget, friend. You can trust God like that.
I wanted to tell you that I talk a lot about my anxiety journey in the book I wrote about our time in India. You can read the first five chapters of my book in my reader extras library. There is a sign-up form below this letter.
Bravery might be a lack of fear. But courage is something else. Oxford defines courage as, “the ability to do something that frightens one.” I might not be brave. But maybe I’m just a little courageous. And maybe you are, too.