I find myself very teary this week. There are so many issues right now stirring me up and not one of them is less important than another. The tragic and horrific death of George Floyd. The Black Lives Matter movement with growing protests across the world and the unrest in Hong Kong. All the COVID-19 stuff rumbling around the media and the intense anxiety of waiting for news of a 14-year-old autistic teenager lost in the dense Australian bush.
It’s like all these things sit right under the surface of my skin, knitting themselves in and I can’t unpick them. They are intertwined with my anxieties.
Will my family be okay? Are we going to manage our finances? Am I being a total loon to try to reignite my business during all this chaos?
And where is God amongst it all?
Last night I said to my son, my mind feels waterlogged. I am not drowning yet, but so over-saturated I can’t always take deep breaths.
And I am not even someone directly impacted by any of these major traumatic events. I haven’t been sick. No one I know has been infected by COVID-19. I have not been directly impacted by racism. My sons are safe and well.
So what’s happening? Why am I so unsettled and fearful despite being secure, free, and supported?
The exposure to all that is happening is visceral for me. I am a ‘feeler’ – an ‘empath’ or ‘highly sensitive person’ – and I take on the sense of others’ feelings.
The unrest. The violence. The fear. The accusations. The threats. All these things are flooding social and mainstream media and I struggle to step away from it all.
And I am sure I am not at all alone…
Whilst each needs to ascertain how much vulnerability to present events they can manage, it is vital we do not underestimate the exposure to these and other social and global developments and how they affect our world and later emotional response.
And perhaps I should reassess my level of risk given my ongoing sense of wellbeing…
Amidst all these things I am experiencing pockets of peace; a sense of knowing that everything will be okay. Not the same as it was, but okay all the same. A perceiving that I will move through this and grow through it despite what my emotions are telling me.
This comes from my foundation of faith. I have seen God work miracles in my life and the lives of loved one’s time and time again on every level: financial, emotional, physical, and social.
Repaired and reconciled relationships. Bolstered finances. Emotional and physical healing. I know that he provides as he says he will.
Yet I still flounder in fear and anxiety.
It’s a two-pronged problem.
On one hand, I see that God is with me. He proves it to me repeatedly and yet but I still wind myself up into a tizzy and get lost in my worst-case scenarios.
And yet again, he patiently reminds me he’s got this. He reminded Joshua when he needed courage:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.Joshua 1:9 AMP
And again he reminds us all in Matthew 6 to be anxious for nothing.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.Matthew 6:34 TPT
And in case I missed those, he says in Matthew 11:
‘ “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.”’Matthew 11:28-30 AMP
You’d think these scriptures would immediately arrest my anxieties but I can’t deny that I face differing levels of anxiety daily, regardless of how much effort I put into not being anxious and believed what the Bible says.
But each time I give my fears to him, I get stronger. My attention shifts to his promises and commands more. I take less time to get over myself and let him handle the heavy stuff.
So I encourage you – cry, be aware of your feelings. Don’t push them away or discount them. They are real.
But they are not the thing to focus on. Let them out, but then give them to God. David did. Jesus did. And God always came through. His shoulders are big enough to handle them.
And he will, I promise, give you what you need in return.
I am still battling my emotions today, and even minutes ago felt like the world was getting under my skin even more.
In the middle of this, I felt prompted to write. And he reminded me of these promises in scripture as I wrote.
And my heart feels lighter – not that I have dismissed the feelings or reduced the importance of the events swirling around our scared world right now – but that I have more perspective.
That it’s important to be informed and to be compassionate and concerned and prayerful but not to be anxious.
He says he will never leave nor forsake us. I will hold him to that, even if I have to keep reminding myself of the promise he made to me.
“Because he set his love on Me, therefore I will save him; I will set him [securely] on high, because he knows My name [he confidently trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never abandon him, no, never].Psalms 91:14 AMP