I’ve spent the last few days at CIY Move Camp with the students and other leaders at my church. Although it is a camp for students and messages aimed towards that audience it never fails that I leave with renewed vision and clarity as well. This year was no exception to that truth. I know I talk about anxiety and struggles a lot but I promise you this one is worth the read.
Ever since I started having a anxious brain I’ve always accepted that it wasn’t something I was going to ever defeat. That may sound silly but it’s the truth. When talking to others about anxiety they would encourage me saying it would get better. I’ve heard that I would learn my triggers, things that set anxiety spiraling and also the things that bring me peace. No one has ever said you can beat this or you have the strength to move on from this. If no one ever encourages you with those words of course you are going to believe that you probably will never defeat this. That’s exactly how I’ve been dealing with it. Not only has no one ever told me that this is something I could beat but I’ve never once thought to myself that I could. I’ve been living from one victory to the next with anxiety. Being thankful and proud when I have victory over thoughts and waiting for the next time they come along.
The last night at camp this week I was feeling anxious about a flight I was going on today. Planes have always been one of my triggers. Thinking of my flight it suddenly started to overcome my mind with nervousness. I was struggling to make it look like everything was okay when inside I knew it wasn’t. I knew it was just going to be another one of those times where I have to feel super anxious and scared until the situation is over. Once the situation is over I could be thankful that yet another victory is added to the charts. I sat down at worship fighting back tears asking God and mainly myself, “Why does it have to be like this? Why does my brain have to work like this? Why do you have to have an anxious mind?” For those with anxiety have you ever had those thoughts? Have you ever wondered if life was just going to go on this way forever? I sat there thinking about these things and fighting to hold myself together.
As the band starting playing and worship music filled my ears I heard the still small voice of God. Now don’t overlook what I just said because that’s huge. Hearing God among 1,000 middle and high school students is no easy task. It was super hard to hear at first but I kept hearing it again and again and all he said at first was, “You don’t.” It was one of those moments when you look up at the sky and you are thinking What?!? What do you mean I don’t? Then as clear as day I could hear, “Ally you don’t have to live like this, can’t you see you are fighting a battle I’ve already won?” There was nothing I could do to hold myself together anymore.
The message that night was ironically but not so ironically about how we have an accuser and we have an advocator. Satan being the accuser wants me to believe that this is a struggle I will continue to deal with. He wants to tell me that I’m weak and my brain is something I will never control. He wants me right where I am not fully trusting that God has the power to take this away or the trust that He will. But and don’t miss this, you know who tells me otherwise? Jesus. He says my thoughts belong to him. He tells my accuser that I’m His and that he can’t get to me without first going through him. He tells me that I am strong and have the power to move on from this because He is living inside me. Guys I can’t even begin to tell you how freeing that is.
The tears couldn’t be held back any longer and tears were flooding my face as the words, “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God” flashed on the screen. Oh how true that line is if we choose it to be true.
I’m not saying that I’ll never be anxious or nervous again. What I do know is that Satan is going to have to work a little harder if he wants to get into my mind again. Satan tells me I’m weak but Jesus says I’m strong. Satan tells me that my thoughts are uncontrollable but Jesus tells me they are in his hands. Satan tells me I’ll never move on from this but Jesus says I’m already on the other side of this struggle, come join me.