There are moments in our lives where we feel building walls is much easier than tearing them down. It's just like packing for a trip and then coming home and facing the reality that vacation is over and you must take all the happy memories, fold them neatly, and put them back in their day-to-day places, that are full of the same day-to-day questions, motions and uncertainties. I much rather pack for the trip than break my suitcase down.
All of us have or will at some point walk paths that leave us questioning our self-worth and whether or not we truly are enough, loved and needed. I've been through circumstances over my 30 years of life that may all look different but each of them carry that same weight of feeling rejected, not chosen and simply - not enough.
Was I not strong enough to be a twin mom, was I not loved enough to be that lifelong friend, was I not loud enough to be noticed, was I not smart enough to carry out that dream? Questions like these are the bricks I use to build the wall around my heart. While I face the uncertainty if I am truly enough, I turn the questions into stones that I feel will ultimately protect my heart from any more damage but as I stand here, brow dripping of sweat from all the hard labor, I drop a brick and fall to my knees. I surrender.
The battle between guilt and shame has been one I've allowed to play in my heart for way too long. This battle has caused an anxiety like no other that leaves me with a racing heart, sleepless nights and a desperate plea to God to fix it all - and quickly.
God has been working within this war in my heart, and He's trying to make me realize that I am worthy, I am loved, and I am His.
The other morning I woke up at 4am with racing thoughts of all the areas in my life that I feel I have no control in. I prayed. I prayed before I allowed the anxiety to take over because I simply cannot let it win any longer.
And God revealed to me some armor I can put on when I start to feel the uncertainty again, and I wanted to share those truths with you.
5 Quick Ways to Fight Anxiety:
Before you allow ANY worry, shame or racing thoughts take over, pray. Bring the concerns to Him and ask Him to meet you in the center of it all. A peace like no other will come over you and will gift you some clarity to think through each concern, and He'll help you sort the tangible solutions you can do and what you must leave and trust Him to do.
Declutter your space and your mind. Quickly think of the areas that could be causing extra anxiety in your life. Don't think of big tasks but the ones that you can tackle within 20 minutes. These acts of decluttering will give you a hands-on experience that will fulfill the urge to "fix." For me, I usually delete my Facebook App to create space in my mind, wash the dirty dishes and purge a closet I've been dreading to open. I may not be able to make a huge decision I've been worried about for the past few months but having a tidy head-space and surroundings allows me to be still with God to sort out those answers. Delete the apps, grab the trash bags and purge as fast as you can.
Write it out. "I'm not a writer," you say. Friends, this isn't a piece for a publication. This is more of a brain dump. Writing out what you're feeling and/or what you're worried about allows you to GET IT OUT. Sometimes our concerns don't feel good being spoken out loud. Actually, I've been working at getting into the habit of telling my husband when I'm feeling hurt or concerned because he's my person, and I'm usually the one who stuffs her emotions. When I stuff, I usually explode and it's usually on him, even though he's not the one I'm upset with. By writing out my feelings, I'm allowing myself to acknowledge that I am hurt and I am concerned, and I can use that process as a tool to know what exactly I should be praying for. Hiding and stuffing things will only do more damage than scribble on a piece of paper. Write it out.
4. Delete The App & Replace It With 'First 5 App' or a Good Book
Sometimes my anxiety stems from lies I tell myself of not being enough. Can you guess where this originates? You guessed it, social media. I know for a fact I'm not alone in this boat but social media is an amazing tool to connect friends and family all around the world, but it can also leave you feeling left out, alone and not enough. A simple post between two close friends who hung out (without you) can leave you wondering why you weren't invited. Or how about that mother that home schools perfectly, dinner perfectly styled, and dare I say it, on time, and still manages to work out, eat healthy and dive into a good book. Ouch. All the above makes you look at your life and wonder where you're going wrong. DELETE THE APP - even if it's just for a day - and fill yourself with truth! I recently replaced my Mail App (which is usually the second app next to my messenger & telephone buttons on my home screen) with the First 5 App. Nick calls it muscle memory and I couldn't think of a better term to describe it because every hour of the day, I click on the app out of habit. Instead of an email popping up, God's word fills my soul as a little reminder that He's there every step of the way.
5. Fresh Air
Get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Sometimes I don't have much time to actually be outside but I try to create space for fresh air. I like to open my garage while I'm doing laundry, open my sliding glass door to hear the traffic go by and wind blow and even the quick walk to the neighbors to pick up my little ones helps me have a moment to catch my breath and clear my mind.
Close your eyes and let the fresh air reach your soul. Then tell yourself one single truth, "You are worthy, you are loved - you are enough." You're not in this alone and God is at work. Trust Him. While building walls around your heart feels like a safe place to hide, know that anxiety can follow you in those places and bricks only make it harder to escape. Tear down your walls and let God in. Go through these five steps and then let Him do the work. Surrender.