Categories
Marriage

3 Ways to Help Your Spouse Who Has Anxiety

Almost everyone I know has an anxiety disorder or at least has had a panic attack at least once in his or her life. With this in mind, I am astounded that people exist who have never had a panic attack or even understand what it’s like to have anxiety. One of these people may be your spouse.

Anxiety is like another language. Those of us who have anxiety understand it completely, but those who don’t have anxiety are oblivious to what we feel. If you have a spouse with anxiety, and somehow you’ve managed to live on this planet thus far without any panicky experiences, you need to show your spouse you understand somehow.

Based on my own experience with a man who has no anxious bone in his body, here are some ways to help your spouse overcome their own anxiety. For the sake of saving word count, I’m using the “she” pronoun. This is based on my own experience anyway, and I am in fact a woman.

1. Tell her (and show her) you care

Anxiety is a very isolating disorder. When you have a panic attack, you feel alone. You feel like no one understands you.

If you don’t struggle with anxiety, you definitely do not understand why your spouse is acting the way she is or thinking what she’s thinking. Anxiety is irrational sometimes, but to your spouse, those anxious thoughts are as real as ever. Instead of trying to fix her, show her you care.

In the medical drama New Amsterdam, Max Goodwin, the Medical Director of the hospital, always asks his team and his patients, “How can I help?” Be like Max Goodwin to your spouse. When she feels alone, take a hold of her hand and ask her, “How can I help?”

She may know the answer, but sometimes she won’t. Sometimes she just needs you to sit there with her and listen to her talk. Sometimes she feels uncomfortable and may need to leave a situation. Always show her that you are on her side, even when her anxiety confuses you.

2. If you need more information, ask questions

I had a friend in high school who was afraid of pennies. Seriously? At first, I thought she was just seeking attention, but when I asked her about it, her answer made sense.

It turns out that she believed pennies were dirty and was afraid of the germs on the penny, not the penny itself. Why she was only afraid of pennies and not other coins, I don’t know, but instead of judging her, I accepted her and met her where she was.

Fears like going to parties, taking public transportation, and even going to work can make absolutely no sense to others. On the other hand, those who have social anxiety, PTSD, or work anxiety are totally gripped with fear at the thought of any of these activities. If you’re wondering why your spouse is anxious about a good thing, all you have to do is ask.

For me personally, I’m happy to answer questions about my anxiety. It doesn’t embarrass me to explain my fears, unless you make me feel like an idiot for having them. Truthfully, I don’t open up to you or listen to your advice unless I know you’re on my side.

3. Take her mind off of the problem

Since I have OCD, sometimes the best way to help me is to distract me from my anxiety. My panic attacks dissipate when I’m no longer thinking about whatever makes me anxious. If your spouse has OCD or an extreme phobia, help her take her mind off of the experience.

While you will need to help her deal with the root cause of her anxiety in the long run, if you’re out with your family or on vacation and her anxiety acts up, you need to distract her and help her as fast as you can.

4. Remember that your spouse is not a project who needs to be fixed

Anxiety is a mental disorder, but that does not mean that your spouse is a project. Your spouse is a person. Your spouse needs you to love her, care for her, and walk with her through this.

Now that you are one, this anxiety is yours, too. I’m still a newlywed, but I’ve heard that over time, you start to feel what your spouse is feeling and think what your spouse is thinking. I’m sorry if you feel your spouse’s anxiety, but instead of fixing her, show her you’re on her side.

You can show her you’re on her side by:

  • listening to her without judgment
  • praying for her on a daily basis
  • pulling her out of a situation when she is uncomfortable
  • standing up for her when others don’t understand

Pray for your spouse with anxiety

Ultimately, the only people who could heal your spouse with anxiety are her and God.

When you don’t understand, pray. When you want to be there for her but don’t know how, pray. When you’ve done everything you could to fix her and she’s still struggling, pray.

I believe God will give you the words. I believe God will give you the wisdom to help her. I believe God will ultimately heal your spouse from anxiety.

On behalf of all those who struggle with anxiety, thank you for taking the first step toward understanding your spouse and her deepest struggle.


Photo by Toimetaja tõlkebüroo on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety

Be Thankful and Have Peace

When I first became a Christian, I struggled with anxiety. I memorized verses about anxiety, such as Philippians 4:6-7. After wrestling with this passage for about a decade, I know that this verse literally has the key to curing anxiety.

Here is the verse, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (NLT).

Don’t Worry About Anything

As we tend to read this verse, the first four words stick out at us. Don’t worry about anything. Wow, Paul, that’s MUCH easier said than done.

I think that’s why I’ve seen this verse more as a band-aid than as a Word from the Lord for me. When I worry, I feel like I’m sinning against God. I feel like I should be able to just shut off my thoughts and “get over it.”

If you keep reading, you’ll see what the verse actually means. You’ll understand that God wants to do more in our lives than take away our worry.

Pray About Everything

In another part of Scripture, the same writer of this passage writes that we should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We pray in the good times and the bad, but we especially need to remember to pray when we are anxious.

Part of my anxiety is obsessive thoughts (not to be confused with OCD, which includes compulsive behavior). If I have to wait to hear back from someone or something for any length of time, my mind will start to wander. I’ll worry myself into a hole and I won’t resurface until the waiting period is over.

When I pray, I make the choice to focus my thoughts on God. As I fill my mind with prayers to God, taking the attention off of myself and my circumstances, I notice the faithfulness and love of God. God’s love, peace, and faithfulness are all much stronger than my fears.

Be Thankful

For those of us in the United States, Thanksgiving is a time for us to pause and show our gratitude for what we have. As I ask every year, who are we thankful to?

Sure, you could be thankful to your parents for raising you, and to your family for supporting you through everything. You could even be thankful to coaches or teachers that have given you wisdom and have encouraged you to follow your dreams. If you really thought about it, where does all that goodness come from?

Thanksgiving reminds me that what I need comes from outside of me. God is the one who supplies my every need. When I thank Him, I take time to recognize that every good thing I have comes from Him.

Experience God’s Peace

Is it that simple? Can I really have God’s peace after praying a simple prayer and saying thanks to God?

Yes.

I wish I could say that anxiety disappears after you become a Christian. But I’ve learned that God has been faithful to me in the midst of my anxiety. I have experienced God’s peace in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.

God’s peace has equipped me to face hardships and struggles, knowing that He is on my side and fighting for me. With God as my defender, I have learned to experience God’s peace in all circumstances.

The Rest of the Story

In Philippians 4, Paul continues to write about his ability to find contentment in all circumstances. He has learned that he can do all things through Christ (v. 13). And so can we.

Further down, he writes that he believes in God’s provision. God will provide for all of our needs (v. 19). My needs, and your needs.

Do your needs worry you?

The Rest of Our Story

Our story can continue without anxiety ruling over us. In Christ, we have the power to experience God’s peace, to be content in all circumstances, and to trust God for His provision. In the waiting, we have a way to escape the mind trap of OCD.

Don’t worry. Pray. Be thankful. Have peace.

Which of these is the hardest for you to do? Where do you need to trust God the most in this season?

Categories
anxiety

Update for You!

FINALLY! I have time and energy to update you all on my life.

Well, as of about four weeks ago, I started a position at an online marketing company. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that I’m working from home and having the time of my life. I can officially say, after years of praying, waiting, and hustling, that I’m a full-time freelance writer and editor!

Guess what I’m doing? Writing longform content for websites!

Yep, that’s right. I’m writing blog posts.

All day.

Every day.

So that’s why my personal blog posts have been lacking.

For those of you who don’t know, longform content is writing more than 2000 words on a website’s page. I have only explored the tip of the iceberg that is longform content, but what I’ve discovered so far is that longform content helps you rank better on Google. That’s why you see those long articles before a recipe for baked zucchini chips. OK, we get that your family loves them and that you and your husband took a trip to Italy to taste delicious zucchini. But there’s a reason why Google put that recipe on its first page for “recipe for baked zucchini chips.”

My desire to write to you all has been here the entire time. I’ve wanted to update you on my third wedding anniversary as well as on how God has been teaching me more about anxiety. So, as of now, here is my plan:

  • Write a blog post once a month.
  • I want to hear from you! Please reach out to me regarding what topics you want to read. I’ll also be sharing a survey soon.
  • I’m going to be doing some short stories to get you all excited for my book. I’m working on a lot of books, but before I released one, I wanted you to get accustomed to how I write and to my genre. So, tell me, do you like short stories?

My job as a freelance writer and editor (full-time!) is ultimately growing me as a writer. For now, my priorities are in a different spot, but it’s exciting.

One of these days, I’m going to get back into my routine. But between writing a novel, writing at least 10,000 words a week for businesses, and having a life, blog writing will take some time.

Until then, tune in next week for my Marriage Monday post about how leather perfectly describes my marriage!


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety

where is your ship?

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took a little canoeing trip. Although it was supposed to be relaxing, when we first got into the boat, we were freaking out. The boat was much smaller, and much less stable, than we had expected. This thing was supposed to carry the two of us down a river? To top it off, I also struggle with emetophobia, and the last time I threw up, I was on a boat. So, as only people afraid of throwing up would understand, I was certain I would get sick on this rickety little canoe.

My husband, being much more calm than I am, took no more than five minutes to fully get over it. I, on the other hand, felt nauseous, then started hysterically crying and asking if we could go home. I negotiated with my husband, politely asking him to turn the boat around. Then I threatened my husband, reminding him that I was also carrying an ore and would bring this canoe right back to the dock (which, by the way, was only a couple of feet away).

To get me to go further out into the river, Lenny started to challenge me. “Let’s make it to that boat up ahead. If you still want to go home, we can go home after that.” I made it to the next boat. And the next one. And past a bird. And past the dock. And past that patch of low tide where we pitched our boat for a couple of minutes to catch a breather. Lenny ultimately wanted to go to a bird sanctuary that was at least forty minutes away. I was scared, but I wanted him to enjoy himself. I also wanted to show my anxiety who’s boss!

After about a half hour, my anxiety had fully subsided. Birds flew overhead, and the only sound we could hear was our ores swimming in the river. It was so calm and peaceful, I wanted to stay outside all day. We even thought about the possibility of buying a boat!

Going out on the canoe for the first time, I didn’t understand how the disciples did it. I didn’t know how Peter had the audacity to step out of the rocky boat and attempt to stand on the stormy waters (see Matthew 14). I couldn’t comprehend how these men could earn their living catching fish, spending most of their waking hours rocking back and forth in the choppy sea.

But then I understood.

John A. Shedd wrote, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” Ships are incredibly dangerous. Not only can you get seasick (which is scary enough for me to avoid a cruise), but the weather is also out of your control, and you can get lost at sea. Have you ever seen a movie where there’s so much fog, and the boat is so far out, that the people in the boat can’t see land in their field of vision? Ugh, I’m shuddering just thinking about it!

And yet, there’s something within all of us that desires to go through it anyway. We desire to do the impossible, the scary, the dangerous. That’s because we, like ships, were not created for “safe” lives. We were created to make a difference. We were created to glorify God by doing the impossible through His strength.

Although God has an adventure of a life for all of us, He also is the only one that allows us to have true peace. We can plow through white water rapids, or we can keep our ores still as we soak up the sun and float over calm waters. Each season of life provides a new way for us to travel on this river of a race that God has marked out for us (see Hebrews 12:1).

So, where is your ship today? Is it safe in the harbor, is it sailing the rough seas (even making you a little queasy), or is it simply enjoying the ride?


Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety Marriage

Marriage and Anxiety

Marriage often brings two different people who work together to become one, and in so doing, there is some growth between the two people. My husband, with his calm demeanor, has helped me tremendously with my anxiety, while I, with my organization and administration, have helped him to plan better. However, if we’re not careful, we can let anxiety put a wedge in between our marriage. Our previous coping mechanisms can isolate us, and can confuse our spouse, especially if he or she does not struggle with anxiety.

Before I met Lenny, I believed that my husband would cure my anxiety. For those who are single and waiting for a man to fix you, read this carefully: Marriage does not fix you. Only God can take your brokenness, redeem you, and make you new. But for those who are married, God can use your husband, however great or however flawed he is, to help in that sanctification process.

You cannot rely on another person to fix your anxiety. While therapists, friends, and family can help, you still need to deal with your anxiety yourself. No one can make you stop believing lies; only you can. No one can control you when you have a panic attack; only you can. The only difference between being married and single is, now you have to be open with your spouse about your anxiety, and see how God uses him/her to help you overcome it.

While anxiety has consumed less of my life in the last couple of years, here are some practical ways to be open with your spouse about your struggle with anxiety:

  1. Be clear with your spouse about your fears, triggers, etc. If you have been following along with this blog long enough, you have dealt with your triggers, so you know how to communicate them with your spouse. Your spouse may not understand right away, so he/she might need a reminder. I’ve told my husband about my obsessive thoughts, and it didn’t click with him until I was telling him about another person who had the same disorder. Suddenly, my anxiety made sense to him. He said, “Oh, is that why you do such and such?” If you have specific coping mechanisms, tell them to your spouse, especially if they involve what to do in the middle of a panic attack. Although you may be tempted to isolate yourself when anxiety strikes, you can’t do that anymore. You need to let your spouse into your pain. I’ll warn you, it is not an easy process, but it will help you both become one in your journey together.
  2. Don’t be afraid to say no. For most people, anxiety is like a physical ailment. When I’ve had an anxiety-inducing day, the last thing I want to do is be around people. I don’t want to be exposed to more anxiety. If I know a situation is going to bring me into panic, I tell my husband I can’t do it. He understands, and he advocates for me.
  3. Be flexible when you can’t say no. We both have family in Florida (a plane ride, or a ridiculous drive, away). I hate planes, as they give me debilitating anxiety, but I can’t let that be an excuse not to see my family. If my husband has a work event, or a family gathering where I have to be, and I’m not able to say no, I kind of have to suck it up. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Remember that you have to be there for your spouse, and take the focus off of yourself. Now, if you are forced to go to an obligation, plan ahead. If you have an anxiety-inducing event on Tuesday, take it easy on Monday or Wednesday.

Don’t let anxiety creep into your marriage. Bring your anxiety to God, and then to your spouse, to find healing and to become one in your marriage.


Photo by Kylli Kittus on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety

distracting myself

Do you have OCD? Well, I have the obsessive part but not the compulsive. I don’t have chronic compulsive behaviors, but I do have obsessive thoughts that I can’t get out of my head! Like a bad song. I also have psychosomatic symptoms, so when I have an idea in my head, it almost always makes me sick.

Recently, I caught myself before I was about to go into the “obsessive” trap. I ate something, and I thought it would make me sick. Almost instantly after I thought it, my stomach began to turn. I was going to be sick. But I recognized the thought, realized that I wouldn’t get sick that quickly (especially conveniently after the thought just entered my head!), and then told myself I was fine. The more I thought, “I’m fine,” instead of, “I’m going to be sick,” the less sick I felt over time.

It was literally all in my head.

When a thought enters my head, it won’t leave. But, now that I’m older, I have learned how to drown out the thoughts. It’s called distraction.

Here are some practical ways to distract yourself, so that you don’t have to keep hearing the noise of regret, doubt, shame, or simply that nagging voice telling you what you need to do:

  • Music: I’ll typically listen to something that will calm me down, so that my body will naturally relax. Worship music is my go-to, as a lot of worship songs talk about the healing power of God, or about whatever I need from God in that moment. Focusing on God’s presence instead of the false pretense that something bad will happen shows me the truth, that my anxiety is a lie and that God’s will is for me to have peace. The same is true for you.
  • Prayer: While listening to music is a defensive way to distract yourself from obsessive thoughts (it’s like a shield), prayer and reading the Bible are both offensive. Think of prayer as a sword. You are declaring the promises of God out loud to yourself and your fear. You are speaking to the anxiety and telling it to leave. You are actively speaking against what your heart might be feeling or your mind might be thinking. You are speaking to a real person, who cares for you, listens to you, and helps you in your time of need.
  • Reading the Bible out loud: Like prayer, the Bible is a sword we can use to pierce the anxiety and the obsessive thoughts. Open up to the Psalms or one of the Epistles (in the New Testament) and read about God’s love for you. Reading it out loud uses more senses (hearing, seeing, and feeling) than it does if we simply read it in our heads. It also proves to be more of a distraction from the obsessive thoughts, as you’re focusing outside of your head rather than within.
  • Games: Sometimes, a good old-fashioned game on my phone helps me relax. When I’m anxious or have thoughts I can’t control, I’ll play a game of solitaire and take deep breaths. If I’m extra anxious, I may play a couple of games, but usually by the first game I’ve calmed myself enough to move on.
  • Journaling: This is one of my favorite ways to distract myself. It helps me process my thoughts (instead of ignoring them) and it gives me a reference for when I’m dealing with the same issue in the future. I love looking back on journals I’ve written 10 years ago and gaining insight from my teenage years.

These things help me drown out the noise in my head. What about you?

Categories
anxiety

God Gives Us More Than We (Think) We can Handle

When I was in college, as part of my major, I had to go on an internship out of the country for at least six weeks. After months of searching and praying, I finally found an internship in Andalucia, Spain, with an organization called Camino Global (which has since then merged with Avant Ministries). It was required that I speak at least intermediate Spanish, and I had to raise funds all on my own. Then, when I finally learned Spanish and mustered up the funds, I had to take a plane by myself, and be in a country where I didn’t know anyone…all by myself.

Needless to say, it was more than I could handle.

A common misnomer is that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. The basis for this is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13. I’ve wrestled with this for years because, as I struggle with anxiety and know that God has spared me from so much pain, I know that God truly is in control of my life. But there also have been times where I truly believed that God had given me more than I could handle.

The axiom should be replaced with God knows what we can handle. Instead of trusting in our own strength, we can trust in the grace of God. We can trust His hand to guide our lives. The early church was persecuted for their faith; Paul even says that when they were in Asia, they were burdened beyond what they could bear (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). But, as Paul declares, God didn’t allow them to go through beating and mocking for nothing. Rather, Paul and his missionary team endured trials so that they could rely on God and not on themselves.

We place limits on ourselves that God never put there. God also places limits on us through our circumstances when we think we can handle it. The same guy from the Bible, Paul, heard “no” from God several times. God actually prevented Paul from going to Asia and Bithynia at a certain point in his ministry (Acts 16:6). There are different speculations about why Paul wasn’t allowed to go to those places at those specific times, but the short answer is: it wasn’t God’s will. Maybe it’s that Paul couldn’t handle it, but maybe it’s that God knew what was best for everyone involved in the situation.

To come back to my experience in Spain, I did it. Taking a plane by myself was difficult, and even debilitating, but God provided. On the way there, I sat next to two gentlemen who traveled to Spain every year; they gave me advice about what to do, and they even showed me how to go through customs. On the way home (the longest flight I’ve ever been on), I sat with a boy from Israel whose family had moved to Texas; because he was sitting away from his family, I felt responsible for him, which gave me little time to worry. On my connecting flight, I sat with a guy who was a prayer leader for Liberty University, and he prayed with me during the flight. And that was just the plane.

The first few days were hard, but again, I did it. I made some friends and listened to music and practiced my Spanish. I had a couple of nightmares, and I did panic once, but God used the people around me to help me find peace in Him. By the end of the experience, I was ready to go back to Spain after paying off my college loans. Thank You, God, for your grace!

During that time, God knew what I could handle. His grace sustained me through the six weeks I was away from family and friends. In fact, His grace allowed me to make new family and friends. However, there were other times where I wanted to go and serve Him in other countries, but He closed each door. I like to think that God knew what I could handle, and that He found another person who He would grow like He grew me in Spain.

You’re braver than you think. You can handle more than you think you do. But for the things that debilitate you, trust in God’s grace. He knows what you can handle.


Photo by Leio McLaren (@leiomclaren) on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety

The day they locked me in a salt cave

We went to a salt cave a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, I was living under a rock, because I thought we were going to a literal cave. But actually, it isn’t a cave at all. It’s a building that is filled with Himalayan pink salt, which has never been processed. People with allergies, dry skin, joint pain, and anxiety, can benefit from the atmosphere as they breathe in salty air, lay back in zero gravity chairs, and stick their sock-covered toes in the pebbles beneath them.

What I’m going to say does not reflect my experience at the salt cave in particular, so I am not going to say where I went. The staff was great, and people seemed to enjoy it, but I would neither recommend it nor tell you not to go. This is simply what went through my mind while I was sitting in that chair, in the dark, in a closed room with four other people I didn’t know.

When we arrived, the staff made us take off our shoes and recommended that we use the restroom before we started, since we wouldn’t be able to walk out once the session began. Oh, great, put me in a room full of strangers and lock the door. Sounds relaxing to me! Upon entering the room, we were told not to talk, snore, or get up during the experience. Again, I felt trapped. Thankfully, there was a chair right next to the door, and even if we couldn’t move, I at least pretended I could leave.

As we sat in our chairs, the door gently closed, and music began to play. For forty-five minutes. I had nothing to do but breathe and think. So that’s what I did.

I took a deep breathe and felt like I was at the beach. Oh, THAT’S why the beach relaxed me. I thought about how stressful my life has been, and how I hadn’t made any time for myself. But as I took another deep breathe, I thought about how many opportunities there are to relax. We can get a massage, we can do yoga, we can even go to a salt cave. But how come those don’t have lasting effects?

Needless to say, the salt cave did not help my anxiety, but it did make my skin feel like I had taken a bath in body lotion. Seriously, my skin was soft for at least a week after going. So, that was a plus. But since this post is about anxiety and not about skin care, I’ll finish my musings about anxiety.

What I didn’t mention was that I had done some research about this particular salt cave before making an appointment. They do not just have a spot where you can sit in salt for an hour; they also have psychic mediums, reiki, and singing bowls. Knowing this, here is why these self-care techniques don’t have lasting effects.

In my Christian faith and my understanding of the Bible, I believe that we are spiritual beings. Our souls have eternal value. I completely believe in the spiritual forces behind yoga, mediums, reiki, etc., because I have seen it first hand, before I came to know Jesus. However, I do not trust in these spiritual forces, as they are not for Jesus, but against Him. Jesus wants to set me free from anxiety, but the “other side” wants to keep me in bondage. While it looks like these mainstream self-care techniques want to give us peace, it’s not true peace. It’s numbing the pain, not dealing with it.

True peace comes from recognizing that our souls are secure in Christ. When we leave this life (because every one of us will one day die, or Jesus will come back), will we be in the loving arms of God, or far away from Him in the pit of despair? When we know that God will be with us no matter what, suddenly, everything we fear doesn’t seem so scary anymore. It’s not that we’ll never struggle with anxiety again, but that we have a Person to turn to when we do have those panic attacks, instead of dealing with it on our own.

In a world that wants to medicate pain instead of treating the wound, don’t lock yourself in a salt cave! Check your heart before you indulge in any self-care techniques. Some Christians enjoy yoga, and I have no problem with that, as long as they do their research and treat it more like a stretching exercise than like a spiritual awakening. No matter what you do to relax, meditate on the God who can offer you true peace. Only in Christ will you have true peace in God.


Photo by Vincent Erhart on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety

Pessimism is NOT Realistic!

I generally tend to be optimistic. However, in light of my optimism, people tell me that I’m sometimes unrealistic. And when people look at the negative side, they tend to tell me that they’re just being realistic.

One day, when I was in college, I looked outside and said, “Wow, it’s a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining, and the clouds are white and puffy!”

Without hesitation, my friend said, “Yeah, well, it’s going to rain tomorrow.” So, basically, the sun isn’t going to last.

This short scene from my college days reminds me that “pessimistic” is not a synonym for “realistic.” I chose to focus on the positive, that it was a beautiful day and that the sun was shining. My friend chose to focus on the negative, that the sun wasn’t going to last and the rain was coming tomorrow. Both were true, but which one did I choose to focus on? The one that made me happier.

Life is all about perspective. For example, my apartment is both a great place to live and a terrible place to live. Our little home is clean, spacious, and affordable, but we also have noisy neighbors, and it’s a little far from our friends and family. Everything I told you is real and true, but because our apartment is neutral, I choose to focus on the positive. We truly are blessed to have such a great place!

By definition, optimism is: “the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.” On the other hand, by definition, pessimism is: “the belief that the evil and pain in the world are not compensated for by goodness and happiness” (both definitions are from Dictionary.com). So, in essence, pessimists believe that the evil in the world outweighs the goodness. While the world isn’t perfect, I know that God has given us power to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). God is good, and He is the all-powerful, Almighty God. There is no power greater than His. To believe that God is not enough to overcome the evil in front of us, is to be a true pessimist. It doesn’t sound too faithful, though, does it?

Ultimately, we don’t know the future. Only God does. If we claim that our situation will definitely get worse, we are taking the place of God. Sure, our circumstances can make us believe that the future isn’t bright, but God is in control. Whether it rains or shines tomorrow, let’s thank God for the sunshine He’s put in our lives today.


Photo by LIU HSUAN YU on Unsplash

Categories
anxiety

Intimacy with God

Intimacy with God is made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit. We are able to draw near to God when we accept Jesus’ sacrifice as truth, because we now have the righteousness of Christ.

A couple of weeks ago, I read Tauren Wells’ devotional on the YouVersion app called “Known,” based on his song of the same title. He said something on Day 3 that has stuck with me for about a week: “Access to information and an invitation to intimacy are two very different things.” Basically, God knows everything about us, but He doesn’t just want to know about us; He wants to be invited into those details.

As much as I hate to admit it, anxiety reminds me to invite God into my day.

Yesterday at work, I had a mini panic attack where I felt nauseous and dizzy. I looked down at the plaque on my desk: “Pray more. Worry less.” Taking a few deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth, I prayed that God would meet me in the office.

I hate to admit that my anxiety reminds me to invite God into my day, because without anxiety, sometimes I forget to invite God into my day. I feel like I don’t need God unless something is wrong with me. But the point of intimacy with God is, God doesn’t just want us to need Him. He wants us to want Him.

I’ve struggled with writing about this topic for several reasons, the most prominent being that I struggle with this topic in general. I’m a practical, to-do list kind of person, and intimacy is just not that easy. I wish I could give you a step-by-step guide to help you grow in intimacy with God, but there is none. I wish I could tell you exactly what to do to have the perfect relationship with God, but we’re all different.

All I can tell you is to be.

Unless we micromanage the other relationships in our lives, we can’t expect that micromanaging our relationship with God will work. While we should be intentional about spending time with Him, instead of squeezing Him into our schedules, we shouldn’t think that if we follow a magic formula, we can expect God to act a certain way. God is faithful, but He does not fit into the box we’ve created.

So, the point of this post is to tell you that intimacy with God is important. We were created for relationship, and that’s starts with a relationship with God. God is the only One who can fully know us and love us. When humans fall short, God reaches into the depths of us and pulls out things we didn’t even know were in there!

In Christ, there are multiple ways to experience God. Whether you enjoy music, journaling, dancing, meeting with other believers, studying the Bible, or taking a long walk outside, God can meet you when you invite Him into what you love. (As a side note: All of those things are necessary! You still have to read the Bible if you want to encounter God, even if you don’t like it).

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” While it’s not easy, it is simple. When we make time for God, when we invite Him into our day, He miraculously comes to meet us. Today, invite Him into your day, and begin that journey of intimacy with Him.


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash