I deal with anxiety on an ongoing basis due to my generalized anxiety disorder. The triggers are varied and come often. My morning could be going great then one of my triggers will set my anxiety off like a match to a pile of dry timber.
To help soothe the smoldering embers of raw nerves, I have discovered the effectiveness of prayer. However, my prayers in the beginning have not always had the right tone. When I would begin to feel anxious at work, I would pray for relief for my nerves. My prayers to God would sound like this, “God please make this day go by faster”. “Please make the weekend get here quickly.” “Lord, please let my boss’ schedule keep him from coming into the office this afternoon.”
These prayers never worked to ease my anxiety. The prayers failed because they did not address the real issue. I needed to go down deeper to the heart of the matter instead of just scratching the surface. What I was saying to God with my prayers was I know I have anxiety, but I do not want to face my fear of failure. If I go to work, I will have to face my fear. I just want to stay at home and shut the anxiety out.
One morning as I was pulling into the parking lot at work, I was getting ready to pray one of my typical “Let my boss be late this morning” prayer, when God spoke gently to my heart through His Holy Spirit. He said that He knew that I was anxious about my fear of failure. He knew that I have battled this fear for all my life. In that moment, He showed me that my approach to my fear was all wrong. I was running away from my fear and not facing it head on. I needed to open my eyes and my heart and see that I was not alone in my fight against this fear of failure. He showed me that I didn’t need to pray for Him to take me out of the situations that created fear, but to invite Him into the battle and allow Him to fight for me.
Once my prayers grew up, I began to pray, “Lord, let me sense your presence in a huge way in the midst of my anxiety during this situation”. When I prayed that prayer, He showed up, and I felt His presence. He didn’t always dowse my anxiety inferno. What He did do was walk with me through the anxiety blaze. The greater the heat, the greater I felt His presence.
When the anxiety flames burn high, I turn to Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Actually, I have this verse typed out on an index card and posted at my desk at work in two different places so it is always visible to me. This verse has been my touchstone whenever I feel the anxiety heat up for me at work. I now know when I get anxious, whatever the situation, I do not have to fear; I can count on God to help me through the anxiety.