peace is a promise
Anxiety feels like opposite day, everything great you think about yourself is weirdly reversed and all the truth you know is weirdly blurry. Feels like you’re in a interrogation room, while watching yourself behind the glass with your best friends and with God but yet, you can’t hear them.
Anxiety is a kick in the face
A trip down the stairs
A cracked rib if ya will
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive or get treatment. And on July 10, 2017, I became one of those 40 million. I found myself crying my eyes out in a cab from Brooklyn to the Lower East Side after a series of bad events and one particularly awful night. As I went over the Williamsburg Bridge I started to sweat, tremble, and had this pressure in my chest. I became terrified, like I was going crazy and in the verge of passing out. My whole body felt numb, hot, and completely weak. It was the worst thing I have ever felt. That’s an anxiety attack.
That was the first of many. From that day on, I felt like that at least 3 times a week. It was a hurt that you can’t describe, because it makes you wanna fight to feel better but you feel mentally too weak to do, so I just sat in it. I would stay home days at a time, in the dark, I would watch tv and eat and cry, and I couldn’t feel anger, because I was just really sad. When I would go out, I would put on a face and I would wait for people to ask me how I was doing to see if i could trick myself into telling the truth, but i would just lie. I’m writing this, not so I get it off my chest or so I get some sympathy but because my most visited thoughts during this time were all lies I told myself and they all went a little bit like this:
“This is the opposite of who I am.”
“You’re strong. You shouldn’t feel this way. Get over it.”
“I am just being a girl.”
“No one feels this way. I’m so stupid.”
“They are just gonna think I’m hung up over a guy. They think i’m exaggerating”
“I’ll get over this.”
“This isn’t a big deal.”
"I'm ugly, a mental case and fat and unqualified...."
All lies, all not true. I wasn't being a girl, what I felt and feel is valid and I don't have to apologize for it. I'm beautiful, and I'm qualified.
So if you’re reading this… You are qualified to feel your feelings. Congratulations.
A couple months later, I went to the doctor after my anxiety attacks became a bit too much and she said “Honey. Don’t worry. Severe Anxiety is very common.” That completely panicked me, it was the first time someone named it, first time I opened up and acknowledged it. Her passiveness freaked me out.
How the heck is this common and normal? It feels like i’m dying!
I’m too strong to feel this way, this isn’t me i’m not anxious that’s for weak people. I don’t wanna talk to a professional, that’s for people with crazy issues (Not true!)
I went home and grabbed my laptop and like any normal controlling human being I looked up definitions on google, obv.
Anxiety: described as a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension.
Worry: described as a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.
When I read the definitions I just chuckled, not because anxiety is funny or at all not real. In fact it’s the realest pain i’ve ever felt. But I laughed because I remembered this verse in the bible that says:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)
I had this thought: If anxiety is excessive uneasiness, but God says His yoke is easy then my anxiety isn’t from God. And if worry is about tomorrow’s potential problems but God’s graced me for today and yet I sit in my worry for tomorrow then I’m out of his will. Suddenly I felt like I got a bit of my fight back, I felt a bit more confident and in control of how I felt. I started to see a way out of it. So, I kept at it. The opposite of Anxiety would be peace, so what does God say about peace?
Isaiah 9:6 (NIV): For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 (MSG): May the Master of Peace himself give you the gift of getting along with each other at all times, in all ways. May the Master be truly among you!
PEACE IS A PROMISE THAT THE PRINCE OF PEACE HIMSELF MADE ME, A PROMISE HE INTENDS TO KEEP BECAUSE HE’S NEVER BROKEN ONE.
Joshua 21:45 (NIV): Not one of all the Lord ’s good promises to Israel failed; everyone was fulfilled.
Numbers 23:19 (NIV): God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
2 Peter 3:9 (NIV): The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Matthew 23:16-22 (MSG): “You’re hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, ‘If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that’s nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that’s serious.’ What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? And what about this piece of trivia: ‘If you shake hands on a promise, that’s nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that’s serious’? What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.
What a relief.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in our own diagnosis, our own opinions, our own ideas that we tend to forget the promises, the promise of peace and joy and rest.
So... Inspired by @secretgardentv and the brilliant mind of Laura Toggs, let’s have some fun! My BFF shared with me some of her daily tips to fighting for peace that have CHANGED THE GAME for me, I made them my own and gave them a little spin and here is some!
HOW TO FIGHT FOR YOUR PEACE:
1. FIND YOUR “SAFE PLACE”
- A Person: Who makes you feel safe, comforts you, encourages you, challenges you. I picked 4, each have a different reason and bring me a different comfort but they are all really important.
- A Place: Somewhere you go that brings you peace, go there once a week. Mine is this little LES basement that serves hot drinks, I like to call it 123. I go there with a friend almost every week, we talk and play games and laugh and I leave completely refreshed.
- An Activity/Song: For me it’s a nap, I need a nap sometimes. Sometimes it’s the gym, or eating a specific treat (treat yo self), writing, playing an instrument, surfing (wishful thinking) and PLAYLISTS are my very own little secret to life, get you a good couple of playlists that are ready for whatever mood you’ll be in and you are golden.
- Words: Things people have said to you, or that you overheard that might have struck you. Something encouraging, helpful, a handle. Here are some of mine, with little context but each have meant a lot to me:
“It's just not for you.” - Alli
“It takes courage to be this strong.” - Davs
“You’re growth is exponential.” - Charles
2. TALK TO GOD.
Philippians 4:6-7( MSG): Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
- Sometimes “talking to God” can seem weird, or far reached, it’s not. He listens talk to him. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
BOOK CLUB IT: Start a bible plan, make your BFF do it with you. I am reading the “Bible in 90 days” with 5 of my girlfriends, every day I get notifications of what they got from their reading and it’s never the same as mine! It’s so much fun.
3. REMEMBER THE PROMISES
WRITE IT DOWN: What has God promised you? Give yourself daily reminders: What does God say about me? What has he promised me… If he’s graced you for today, then take it day by day and remind yourself of his promises.
YOUR FEARS TOO: What are you afraid of? Write down your fears in one line and argue your fear on the other (If you wanna be cute use different colors) Example:
I fear that I will never fully feel like myself again.
You’ll be better, and stronger and HOTTER than ever before.
4. BE SETTLED:
Turn off your phone.
Unfollow stuff you don’t need to see, unfollow people you don’t need to see.
Delete texts, social media you don’t need.
Listen to good music.
Get a Chai Latte.
Go to Glossier.
Put on a red lip just cause.
Dance with your friends.
Go for a walk.
Stop that bad habit.
Don't call/text your ex.
Draw a picture.
BE SETTLED, HE FULFILLS, GO EASY.
Philippians 1:6 (NIV): being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
(also this gif is simply here, just cause i am curvy and i like it)