“Is this ever going to happen?”
“Why is this taking so long?”
“What if I can’t handle it anymore?”
“This too shall pass….right?”
These are only a few of the thoughts that roll around in my mind during those long, dark nights when my heart is pounding and God feels so far away. I’m no stranger to living uncomfortably in constant worry and anxiety over things that could happen but haven’t yet…or let’s be honest, probably won’t ever happen. It’s a sick cycle that I am tired of repeating.
It is hard for me to imagine I can put my trust in anyone or anything and have it be an unspoken sacred bond that never breaks. As a newcomer to faith, I imagine every possible bad scenario because that is all I’ve ever known. I’ve put my trust in others time and time again, expecting a different outcome only to get my hopes up and my faith in humanity shattered in the process. It is then, when I imagine the worst, that I am reminded of the times when I thought my life was in jeopardy but God showed me that he had it all under control, shifting things in my favor all while keeping me safe. It’s comforting to know that we serve a supernatural God, capable of things we cannot even fathom.
Five years ago, I had a dream—an actual, intense dream where you’re asleep and you feel as if what you’re experiencing is real, the kind that makes you feel dazed when you wake up. That dream changed me, initiating my newfound relationship with God, and I saw my potential future—something that up until then, I didn’t even know I could attain.
As I have been exploring the depths of my new path, I’ve been slowly learning how to trust, though the walk hasn’t been an easy one. With setback after setback pulling me down, I’ve often wondered if I heard God wrong—the promises a figment of my imagination. Apprehension plagues me like no other, and it gets to the point where I don’t know what to believe.
The way I see it, God has paved a road of hope numerous times in the past, but I wanted nothing to do with it. That road held so many promises of peace if I just trusted in it, but I could never find the courage to allow myself to let him take over. So naturally, the road started to rot. It formed cracks and bumps that I probably deserve to walk over. Though he could have paved it over again, he’s challenging me, forcing me to discover my boundaries. I know deep down that handing it all over to him would end my misery. So why is all of this so difficult for me to grasp? What can I possibly fix that he cannot? Why can’t my mind stop with the “what ifs”?”
“But what if I can’t handle the worst-case scenario?” Trust is learning to let go of those fears, having him hold our hand as we walk away from the ledge and knowing that we can live with peace in our hearts because he will take care of us.
As hard as all of this is and as much as I’m shamefully gearing myself up for a huge blow to the heart, I still have this little seed of hope that God is on my side and that he’s arranging things. It troubles me that he can show me so much yet I still think he’s going to wreck me. It’s a reflex from what I’ve experienced in the past. I am not worthy, yet he continues to love (and put up with) me.
Worrying does not solve anything. It won’t grant me the power to control what I cannot and it serves no purpose other than to harm my health. With the thought of running to doctors in hopes of them fixing me up with some miracle drug, I’m then reminded that God has had what I’ve needed all along—his own prescription, if you will: trust.
Jesus says in Matthew, “ Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” It sounds so simple in print, doesn’t it? If you live with anxiety, putting your trust in anything beyond your control is absolutely, mind-numbingly terrifying. I need to remind myself that this is not the way he intends for me to live. My doubts are not God telling me I should be worried. I’m trying to learn not to endure it but to fight it.
As Proverbs says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” I find comfort in that verse. My own understanding is a mess. I’ve been programmed to think positive things will never happen if I’ve never witnessed them firsthand. If I see something that troubles me, I automatically think it could never turn around. Why would I want to lean on that? I want to believe God is going to surprise me with something amazing that will drown every fear and put my heart at ease.
One night a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting by my window with the stars above me and this heavy burden in my chest of a promise yet unfulfilled. I simply gave my worries to him in prayer, saying, “God, I’m not sure I can handle this anymore, but because you brought me to it, I know you will get me through it. I am trusting you to bring your promise to pass by trusting in your timing for this pain. This feels impossible, but I know that nothing is impossible for you.” After saying that prayer, I immediately felt a lightness one can only describe as simply divine. He was waiting for me to do that so he could show me he’s got this; it’s just going to be a bit longer than I expected. It’s freeing to let go and let God. Eventually he speaks and the anxiety eases, even though results may not come as quickly as you’d wish.
I would like to tell you it was then, at that window, that I truly began living a life of peace and trust, but faith is a lifelong learning process. I may not be where I need to be—that confident, righteous woman who trusts in a God who can never fail her—but I thank God I am not who I used to be. The most comforting part through all of this is that I have him to guide me and hold my hand. Just that alone makes a big difference for this anxious heart.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)