I washed my hands all the time. I fretted about everything. I cried easily. Anxiety plagued me. I lived in prison — a prison of my own making. My struggle with anxiety increased in my early teens. I feared stealing, lying, cheating, killing myself, and so many others things.
Today, I open part 1 of my journey through worry. I hope you’ll stay for all of it.
A life of constant worry lead to exhaustion. I felt stuck in a black hole, unsure of how to climb out. How could I go from chains to freedom? How could I break the cycle of questions and torments, especially when trapped so deep? Would it ever happen? Or would I always live like this?
These feelings tormented me.
As a young girl, this did so much damage. Such thoughts always lead to deep damage. Eventually, I voiced my twisted, dark thoughts, because I couldn’t cope alone anymore. It wasn’t hard for those close to me to know I struggled, but it was hard for me to verbally admit it.
But at last, I told my Mom the struggles I faced. I was tired of the endless darkness. My Mom gave me the first shreds of hope. She wrote Scripture on 3×5 cards for me to read over and over again. She also bought me Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. This book pointed me to Scripture and showed practical ways to break out of my self-destructive thinking patterns.
However, it isn’t easy reaching this point. Admitting one’s struggles takes courage. It’s hard to share the dark thoughts inside us or to say, “I’m afraid I’m going to kill myself.” If I could travel back to my life as a young teen, I’d tell myself three things.
1. You are not alone.
After many, many months, I realized that others also fought twisted, deep, dark thoughts. Others struggled and experienced the same prison I faced. Had I known, it would have been easier to come forward and ask for help. So, you are not alone.
2. Voice your worry to someone you trust.
Shame silenced me, but when I finally spoke, the healing process started. As I mentioned before, I told my Mom of these dark thoughts, and telling her freed me of the silence. Keeping your struggles to yourself is almost as exhausting as fighting them! I wish I had spoken to someone sooner. While my Mom didn’t rescue me of my anxiety, (God did that!) she showed me the way to hope. In life, we all need someone who will show us the way.
3. Breaking free of worry requires hard work, but it’s worth it.
Here’s the thing, living in a constant state of worry takes work. You think the same thing in a million different ways. You bring yourself to a breaking point, then plunge into darkness again and again and again. It becomes a habit! Speaking truth to yourself, learning to meditate on Scripture, asking yourself the healing questions will take even more work — but it’s the right kind.
Do not misunderstand me, God is the One Who rescues us. He is our Refuge! He is Truth. But we have to decide to think on the Truth. We have to go from spiraling out of control to choosing to think on God’s truth even when it’s hard, even when our minds scream for us to think in blackness. Every day, we have to choose to think on the truths of God. Only then, do we open the door for Him to rescue us from the deep, perplexing worry.
So, how did I go from the darkness of worry to a full, joyful life?
Practically, how did/does this look in my daily life?
Grab a 3×5 card and write out Philippians 4:8. Read that at least twice a day. Then, come back next week, and we will talk some more. I like to call it the Truth Process — a way to attain freedom from worry!
It can happen.
It happened to me.