Happy Friday! I hope it is a happy Friday for you. But if it’s not, welcome to my Friday anxiety post.
When The Valley Is Dark
When my anxiety was at its peak, I felt so discouraged. I was doing all the right things. I was praying. I was reading the Bible. I was gratitude journaling and exercising and eating right and breathing and EVERYTHING that you are supposed to do to banish anxiety. But every morning I woke up with a pit in my stomach. The days were hazily filled with fighting the thoughts. My nights were spent lying awake, exhausted, but unable to sleep.
During this time, I hated talking to anyone. My anxiety had gotten to the point where I was having anxiety attacks every day and when I was in conversation with someone it was almost inevitable that tears would come. Of course, when people see these things they want to help and what better way to help than with a Bible verse? But where these were meant for encouragement, they only made me more discouraged.
The reason I am writing this to you today is that I know a lot of you are in this spot. You are crying out to God. You are on your knees begging Him to help you. You are wondering what you are doing wrong. You are at a loss as to why you can’t seem to get any peace from the Bible verses that should be bringing you peace. Verses like these:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19
And there is many more.
Don’t get me wrong, these are wonderful verses! And now, I completely understand them and am so thankful for what God has done in my heart when I read them! But at the time, they were discouraging. I felt like a failure in everything. The verses made no sense as much as I wanted them to and no one I spoke to had any helpful advice. I was told that I was anxious because my heart was not right and even that it was a sin to be anxious! Now I know that my heart wasn’t right. Even though I deeply loved the Lord at the time, my heart still needed to be purified. But it isn’t a sin to be anxious. Anxiety is an emotion. One that will drive you to your knees, crying out to God and in turn understanding His awe-inspiring sovereignty.
I remember laying in my living room, feeling lifeless, wondering where God was. Was it a waste of time to call out to Him? Crying, I just said to God, “I feel so alone.”
And I did. But I was not alone in the least little bit. He was with me and was doing great works inside of me. You have to understand what God is doing when suffering comes.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Friend, there is a purpose for your pain. You are being refined and I promise you, though it doesn’t seem like it now, there will be peace in the end.
This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'” Zechariah 13:9
Look at this. Do you know the story of the Israelites being brought out of Egypt? If you don’t, it is so good and will encourage you greatly! The Israelites were in slavery in Egypt and God rescued them in such a miraculous way! But being brought out of bondage was scary for them even though they were being rescued. Look what God tells them through Moses…
Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste–so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt. Deuteronomy 16:3
Ok, I am aware this verse may make no sense now. But God was bringing them out of slavery. He was rescuing them! But they left in haste. They were nervous and afraid. Why? SO THAT THEY WOULD NEVER FORGET.
Friend, you are going through affliction and there is a reason. So that you are brought close to the Lord and understand His salvation, love, goodness, and glory. It has to be this way so that you never forget what He has done for you.
Keep praying, keep reading His word, don’t look to the right or the left. Look straight at God and keep walking toward Him. You are in the right direction.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28