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Anxiety Is Not Your Identity

Anxiety is a topic that is close to home for me. I started dealing with anxiety at a very young age due to my father leaving. His leaving, wondering if he would come back, and then not coming back established fear of abandonment and of the unknown in my life. Sadly, the more and more people that left me the more that fear grew.

As I grew so did the fears. For years I struggled to go places alone because of my fear. My fear affected the way I interacted with the people in my life and new people. Nowadays, we would just label that as social anxiety. And truth be told, I probably did and do still relate to that "label" in some form.

To this day, I hate making phone calls. I make them because I have to. Thanks to be an adult. But, the whole time my heart races, my palms sweat, and my brain is scattered.

I understand the label. But oftentimes, I find so many young women taking that label and believing it to be their identity. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that in God we are made new.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new."

And then 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Those two scriptures tell us that fear and anxiety are not who were are! Those things are not of God. The enemy however tries to convince you otherwise. He tries to beat you down until you are too tired to fight.

I remember having moments of such fear about something in my life that my heart would race, my hands would shake, I struggled to breathe, and I would crumble to the floor. It was terrifying! At that moment it was as if the whole world was falling apart.

Dramatic? I know. But that is exactly how it felt emotionally.

I started going to therapy to help with these attacks. For me, it was beneficial to have someone I could share things with knowing it would never leave the room. But ultimately it was prayer and reading God's word that equipped me and gave me understanding that I did not have to give that spirit so much power over me. It was a stronghold that had to come down!

If I were to say it was easy, then I would be lying. It takes so much to undo something you've had so close to you for so long. Often times you do not understand how attached it is to you until you have to remove it. But I remember taking small steps at first. Asking for directions to my classrooms in my freshman year of high school, making more eye contact when talking to people, and ordering my own food at restaurants. And I know those things seem so basic, but for me, they felt like mountains. However, the more I did those things the smaller they became. Then I started becoming more and more confident in myself. I talked louder, made jokes, went to places alone, etc.

Nowadays, it is a trend for girls to say " I can't do that. I have social anxiety."

But when we do that, we are claiming something that really is not ours. Because our tongue has the power to speak life or death.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."

Proverbs 18:21

Fear and anxiety are spirits of the enemy. And why would we want that?

It is okay to struggle, it is okay to wrestle. But we should not take ownership of it. We should not be content living under that "label". It may mean that you have to take smaller steps first and be more patient with yourself but it does not have to be who you are.

The reality of something that is so strong is that sometimes it still comes knocking. I do not wrestle with that spirit nearly as much as I use to. But every now and then when life feels a bit heavier than usual I find myself feeling more afraid and anxious. To be transparent, this very day that I am typing this, I had a minor anxiety attack. My mind was full of thoughts of the future and they kept spinning round and round. I have no control over the future and often times that terrifies me.

So, once again my heart began to beat fast and my breaths became shorter.

But, the difference between then and now is I know I am stronger. I now recognize that those emotions are not of God and that spirit has no more control over me. So I began to pray and speak to God. The weight of fear lifted off and his blanket of peace came over me.

I am not saying that overcoming fear and anxiety is an easy path or making light of the emotions you feel. I get it! What I am saying is, that anxiety is not your identity. I am living proof that the fight is worth it. And I am no longer a slave to fear.

You do not have to be either. You have access to things the enemy does not. God's strength, joy, and peace! And I believe in you! I want you to feel the freedom and liberty that God has for you because it is a beautiful thing. I do not want you to believe a lie that says," It's okay to stay out of the light. It's okay to sit in the dark." I understand that feeling you have, wanting change, tired of feeling suffocated, but you also think you're not strong enough to stand up from the wall and walk away, so you stay.

But God does not hide himself from you. Neither should you because he does not give his love in pieces. But he gives fully. He wants to give you full comfort and peace. He wants to be your identity.

The hard part is the mind because that is where your battlefield is. Just like Daniel defeated Goliath, Moses parted a sea that destroyed the Egyptian army, or how Gideon defeated an army of 135,000 men with only 300, you too can defeat the enemy with God's help.

A few ways to help equip you for the fight:

SCRIPTURES+PRAYER: these are a few scriptures I use to comfort myself when I begin to feel overwhelmed or afraid. Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Heb. 3:18) He is a God that keeps his promises and his word remains forever. (Psalm 145:13 + Matthew 24:35)

2 Cor. 2:14

Isaiah 41:10

Hebrews 13:5-6

John 14:27

Deuteronomy 31:6

MUSIC: music has always been a tool I use to help drown out all other voices in my mind. The song you choose to tune into can either help you or drag you down further.

BOOKS: books are a great way to learn from others and receive insight and understanding. they also provide helpful tools to apply to our daily lives.

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