You're NOT created to be STUCK.
YOU'RE CREATED TO MOVE!
Ready to move away from a self-defeating mindset and move towards all God has for you in life, love, and purpose?
Do you find yourself:
Not feeling good enough - like you'll never measure up?
Constantly stuck with the same struggles in life?
Confused with knowing your value and who you truly are?
Wondering if whether or not you're worth it?
At your wit's end and ready to just give up?
Whose Voice Are You Listening To? Anxiety’s or Ultimate Reality’s?
Do you ever feel like anxiety is looming out your front door – ready to take you down yet another downward spiral? Derailing you with all of the compounding stresses that are stacking up and overloading your mind; stealing yet another day?
And truth be told, God has been challenging me to my core with some of my hidden beliefs about Him, myself, and what’s really happening versus what I feel like is happening.
Out of nowhere, His strong steady voice comes to the forefront of my mind:
Whose voice are you listening to? Mine? Or Anxiety’s?
As I stand there feeling completely paralyzed by what appears to be happening around me, His next question comes right in on the heels of His last one:
“What’s hindering you, sweet child? Why aren’t you moving forward in the things I’ve called you into?”
As His questions hang in mid-air, my diffused, scattered thoughts slowly come into a singular focus: How long have I been here? In this mental space? Trapped in a loop of defeating thoughts? How long have they been racing around my mind as if they’re on a mission, yet going nowhere – just scattered and chaotic and loaded with a looming fear of “what if”.
As I take in a deep breath I realize I’ve been starving my lungs of air for quite a while. I’ve been stuck in a gridlock of cyclical, debilitating thoughts PACKED with anxiety.
TWO dead giveaways its Anxiety talking:
ONE: Anxiety is cunningly vicious and keeps us stuck on a never-ending loop. It’s all about what MIGHT happen in the future. It’s scattered, diffused, and chaotic. Its attention is broad and multi-focussed.
That’s why it’s so dangerous! It’s why we’re told NOT TO BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING, BUT TO PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING. Its primary goal is to pull our focus off God and onto a million, unending “what ifs”.
And what makes it extra vicious is it has the ability to get really big really fast if we base what might happen in the future on what has happened in the past. Even the past as recent as something that happened within the last 24 hours.
TWO: Anxiety SCREAMS. The more vicious the loop, the louder it screams. All in an effort to drive us to keep “chasing our own tail” with cyclical, defeating thoughts. Round and round we go with the SAME arguments, the SAME pretensions, the SAME false beliefs. Looping and looping and looping. Keeping us so busy and so preoccupied processing and reprocessing and reprocessing yet again, that we eventually buy into the belief that we’re stuck in an unchanging, unending, hopeless situation.
Hello mental stronghold!
Is Anxiety really worth that??
Are we really going to let it keep us looping around our own thoughts until it bullies us into a state of hypervigilance? Vigilantly keeping hyper-focused on a perception of reality versus what’s ultimate reality?
To help me discern whose voice I’m listening to, I’ve recently begun looking at anxiety for what it really is: a scrawny, pain-in-the-butt, pest that’s in DIRECT CONFLICT with God and what God has to stay on any matter that concerns me.
Who’s voice are we listening to?
One leads to death and one to life.
I’m sure you’re with me on this, but my guess is neither you nor I, are interested in death. Not death of a dream, a relationship, a marriage, a family, not death of anything we value.
So Anxiety needs to take a back seat and shut up.
Here’s the challenge (at least my challenge):
Regardless of our perception of reality – regardless of how loud Anxiety is screaming at us – we have to determine for ourselves whether or not we believe God at His word NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.
Depending on our circumstances and how loudly Anxiety is screaming – this can be an extremely hard determination to come to in the face of a crisis. Especially with those that have to do with the people and relationships we value the most. This mental battle can feel like an ALL OUT WAR of determining who and what we’re going to listen to.
Are we going to listen to the voice of Anxiety? Or to the voice of Jesus?
I know for me when Anxiety is SCREAMING down on me with all of its “evidence”, NOTHING in my five senses says God’s word is true.
Yet, I keep hearing Him say, “Sweet Child, fear is a liar.”
Fear as in False “Evidence” Appearing Real.
I hear you saying, “But, Heather, there IS evidence for my fear!!”.
I know! There’s evidence for my F.E.A.R. too!!!
HARD COLD EVIDENCE.
However, does our perception of what the evidence looks like trump God’s perception?
Joseph – one of my absolute favorite people in the Bible – had a horrific experience when his brothers betrayed him, threw him into a pit and then sold him as a slave. I’m fairly confident he went through all the emotions and mental anguish any one of us would have gone through had we suffered from the same treatment by a loved one: PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, etc.
But over time, somehow, someway –miraculously through a strength beyond his own – he gained an ETERNAL perceptive – one that was beyond his own limited point of view. He slowly came to a point where he began to sense there had to be another story being played out under the surface of the one that was currently screaming at him. A bigger story – a deeper story that was beyond his ability to see based on his own limited human-based perspective.
It’s astonishing how he came to a place in his mind and emotions where he was able to handle his brothers in a way they did not deserve. Somehow, someway he got to a point in his thought life where he could sincerely and authentically say to the same people who betrayed him, rejected him and abandoned him,
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it ALL for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20 NLT
I don’t think for a minute Joseph callously or religiously thought, “Oh yay! I’m being abandoned and rejected by my brothers so God can use it for the saving of many lives!”
He was just a guy (not a superhero) and just like anyone of us. He wouldn’t have been able to articulate – for a LONG time – an authentic attitude of God-intended-this-for-good while crying his guts out in a fetal position on a jail cell floor.
I’m sure if we could talk to Joseph right now – he would tell us just how much he wrestled with laying down his own story and allowing God to reveal to him the bigger – deeper – eternal story.
Please know, I’m NOT minimizing anyone’s circumstances – nor my own! Nor am I minimizing PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, or the like. If you and I had the opportunity to get to know each other better – you would learn the reasons why I too have struggled with a feeling of being “out of control” in my thoughts and emotions as Anxiety and Depression bully me into a corner of feeling utterly hopeless and powerless.
But just because we experience or perceive something to be one way – doesn’t mean that’s what’s really going on under the surface of our ability to see. There could be a bigger, deeper, eternal story being played out just like it was in Joseph’s life. We can only see what we’re capable of seeing at the time and what we’re willing to see based on the story we’re telling ourselves and or the false beliefs we’ve bought into.
If you’re caught up in telling yourself a self-defeating story and feeling utterly hopeless and powerless – check out last week’s blog on hope. We have a Hope available to us that’s from God. One that holds us tight as if we’re being anchored to something stronger than the raging storm around us.
What is the REAL story anyway?!
Every time I want to believe my fears – false evidence appearing real – I keep getting challenged with a particular word Jesus used to describe himself:
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” John 14:6 TPT
I can see how He’s the way – as in the pathway to God. And I can see how He’s the life – as in He died so we can have eternal life. But truth? What does that mean, He IS the truth?
The word truth comes from the root Greek word, aléthés.
Aléthés is an adjective, meaning: undeniable reality, something that’s fully tested, that will ultimately be shown to be fact.
So when Jesus says, “I am the truth”, He’s essentially saying, “I AM undeniably, ultimately, reality. I AM what’s really going on.”
Therefore, out of all the “realities” I can buy into with my own ability to see, His reality is the Ultimate Reality. As in, HE IS ULTIMATE REALITY.
This tells me then, that His perspective on any matter that concerns me trumps my perspective as derived by any of my five senses (unless of course, I’ve already taken on His perspective). Regardless of how loud Anxiety is screaming at me and regardless of what story I’m telling myself, His reality is what’s really reality.
This is called believing God at His word – go figure! As in actually trusting Him and believing Him regardless of what we perceive to be real. This is tough. Easy to say – hard to walk out.
This type of faith takes surrendering and being infused with a supernatural power beyond our own ability.
The only way I know how to get that power is to ask for it. If you want it too, I invite you to pray this prayer with me over yourself:
I ask that you will re-deposit your faith in me and that you will infuse me with your explosive power to help me conquer every difficulty, including the one I’m currently having Anxiety over.
I don’t want to stay stuck in my looping anxious thoughts. I want to be free regardless of what is happening around me. I want to be internally free in my mind and emotions.
I want to see my circumstances and the people around me the way you see them – from an eternal perspective that’s based on YOUR ULTIMATE REALITY. I pray you will take my limited perspective and help me to see the REAL story that’s being played out versus the one I’m telling myself.
In Jesus Name,