Thursday, July 7, 2016

Anxiety and My Suitcase

Disclaimer – I have never been officially diagnosed as having anxiety, but I have also never been officially diagnosed as tall, but it is what it is. But, with that being said, I in no way want to make light of the struggles that people with diagnosed mental issues go through – these are just my experiences.


Merriam-Webster defines anxiety as a fear of nervousness about what might happen; a feeling of wanting to do something very much. The site also lists the definition of control freak as a person who has a strong need to control people or how things are done.

I am a recovering control freak and a currently practicing anxiety sufferer. For years, I thought my need to control situations around me was somehow helpful to God. Like I was doing my part. I wasn’t just aimlessly standing by; oh no, I was actively engaged in the process with God – or so I thought. I was not “helping” God. The truth is that I had a lack of faith and pride problem. God has been very gracious to me and for the past 6 years or so has begun to chisel away at the many areas in my life that needs refining. I have a lot to overcome – but God has been very patient with me.  It is actually freeing to realize that so much of life is beyond our control – from little things like the traffic in the morning or to how people will react to issues - to the big things like health and job security.  Even though the need to be in control still flares up now and again, I can honestly say that I rest so much easier truly believing that nothing is random, that God is good, I don’t need to have all the answers and that today I have enough. Say those things with me. Believe them in your hearts – if you have similar issues, you will be amazed at how much better life is when you release the control that you never truly had anyway.

Now, on to my anxiety. God is going to have to do a lot of chiseling with this this one. I think this is a part of my make-up. Was I born this way? I don’t know. I just know that I have had these issues for as long as I can remember and they only seem to get worse as I get older. Would medication help? Probably, but I have chosen to just be me for now – I am sure those closest to me will let me know when I need extra help. J What type of anxiety do you ask? Well, of course I have the normal issues – I sing occasionally at church and teach in our youth group. I have the standard sweaty palms, cold sweats and nausea that anyone has before those times (that is normal, right?) But I also deal with anxiety when it comes to many normal life issues. One I am dealing with soon is the concept of going away. Any time I leave my home to do anything out of the normal, I deal with an amount of anxiety. My sweet newlywed daughter and I plan to go away for just a few days to visit one of my best friends at the beach. About a week before we were to leave, I started getting nervous. What if we get lost or break down? What if my dogs miss me? What if someone gets hurt while I am gone? What if???? The level of anxiety is so great in me about leaving the comfort of home, that my racing heart tells me to just cancel. That life is just so much easier in the comfort of my own home. I have to argue with myself all of the time. No, we will be fine if we break down, the dogs will survive 4 days without me, etc. I literally have to choke down feelings of panic. To help cope, I make detailed hour by hour lists for everyone left at home (it gives the old beast some sort of a feeling of control) and I will pray and ask God to calm my spirit and I will make myself go. And, I know we will have a wonderful time. I always do. I might cry even while I am gone, but I always have a amazing time. I know most of you can’t even imagine what I am describing.  Everyone in my family are wonderful adventurers, so I know they can’t relate. Worse part is that I have to psych myself like this anytime we leave the house to do anything besides the normal routine of work or errands. Even a day trip to the mountains or an extended shopping time with friends. I bet you didn’t know that about me, did you?  Only a couple of close friends besides family have seen my true craziness, and my family graciously has learned to ignore it. I so appreciate those dear ones for loving me anyway.

Why do I share this? Just so you know how loony I am? No, besides this just scratches the surface. You know that second part of anxiety? The strong desire to do something? Yes, that is why I don’t like heights – I always feel an incredible urge to jump.  (See, I really am strange!) I share this because I can’t be the only one that deals with issues that seem beyond their control. And your issues may not look like mine, some people have anger issues, depression, other control issues etc. I don’t know how people get through things without the Lord. Left up to me, I would be the crazy dog lady that never leaves the house. But when I read verses like 2 Tim 1:7, I read that God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline. That tells me that God has given me the power to overcome that fear and anxiety and if I let those things control me, I can’t show people the love that He has also given me.  God also give me the self-discipline to help overcome my issues. I also love John 14:27 - I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid.  There are so many great verses on trust and not being anxious. So, please take it from your loony friend – do the things you are scared to do. Even if you aren’t ready to do something big, do baby steps. See how God gets you through it. My big goal is a mission trip in the near (but not too near please) future – talk about out of my comfort zone! But, for now, my goal is to have an amazing 4 day girls get away and I plan to leave as little room as possible for anxiety in the suitcase!

Always Sincerely,



1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh....there is someone else like me....I thought I was the only weirdo! Love you Shannan...thanks for sharing! I live your pain! And Im an Overcomer too!