Yup, it is me…
…standing in the need of prayer.
I feel kinda selfish asking for it. I feel sorta vulnerable telling you why. But a dear friend (you know who you are!) encouraged me to be honest, and so that's what I'm going to do.
Most of you know that my dad passed away in January. What most of you don't know is that this event has triggered a debilitating bout of anxiety.
Anxiety is a terrible affliction. And it’s a *thorn* that I have dealt with all of my life. As long as I can remember, I have always been nervous, agitated, afraid.
I've been to the doctors and counselors, the ones who have told me about a hereditary predisposition toward the problem. I know that there's a family history of it. I know that my temperament lends itself to it, too.
But still, the explanations do nothing to make me feel any better when the waves of worry overwhelm me.
Fear can sometimes be a good thing. Fear keeps you from potential danger, and fear can serve to kick in that "fight or flight" response that is necessary to survival. But anxiety is not beneficial.
It is adrenaline on high octane. With no tangible reason in sight.
Anxiety is debilitating.
It's like the feeling you get right after almost having a car accident. I wake up with that feeling every morning. I have it every night at bedtime. And often during the day.
And boy, I've really been struggling with insomnia lately.
Lonely hours when I either can't fall asleep, or hours in the middle of the night when my thoughts keep me from falling back to sleep.
I've had some meltdowns lately.
Crying that I thought I wouldn't be able to stop. Frantic, breathless moments when I felt like running out of the room and never coming back. Times when I was sure that my heart would burst or my head would explode if I couldn't calm down.
Anxiety – the dreaded feeling that something terrible is going to happen soon. An impending sense of doom that I'm just waiting for the email or phone call to tell me what I fear – not knowing exactly what it will be, but knowing that it's going to be awful.
Ever heard that phrase "waiting for the other shoe to drop"?
Well, that's how I feel. Except I'm sure that the shoe is going to fall on me and crush me under its weight.
Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite. I write my blog posts, and try to finish on a *faithful* and uplifting note. And it's not a lie because I write about what I truly believe. And, truth be told, I do feel a lot better myself as God speaks to me through the words He gives me.
But I've been terribly afraid that if any of you knew how I've been feeling lately...well, maybe you would realize that I don't feel very faith-full at all.
I don't want to disappoint anyone.
I don't want to disappoint God.
And, I've been afraid that if I came out with the truth – like I am now – well, that you'd all think less of me.
But I have dedicated myself to telling the truth, no matter how that might look.
So, I'm being honest.
I am struggling, dear friends.
Struggling mightily with the fearsome enemy called FEAR.
And I could really use your prayers.
Even though I feel self-conscious asking for them.
I know that many of you are battling some heavy-duty stuff right now, and I feel slightly embarrassed asking for prayer. I feel that my battles with anxiety seem paltry in comparison.
Sometimes I have wished that anxiety could be measured in a blood test, or seen on an x-ray. In other words, I wish there was measurable and tangible proof that it exists. That it really is a real condition.
But deep anxiety is real. Trust me. And if any of you suffer from it, or know someone who does, you know how pervasive and devastating it can be.
So yes, here I am…humbly asking for prayers.
And please know this, I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.
Now, having gotten that off my chest, I do refuse to end this post here.
For indeed, though I am in a difficult season right now, I must never give in fully to its darkness.
I cannot ask for prayers without acknowledging the full faith that I have in the One to whom you and I will be praying.
Even though I have been questioning His wisdom in the word He gave me for 2014 – JOY.
Five months in, I'm still saying to Him, "Really, Lord?"
How can He expect me to find joy in the middle of the toughest times I have had in a long time? How can joy compete with a million other thoughts and feelings? How can joy overcome mind-numbing fear?
I wonder, and I ask God about it all the time.
I don't really have any good answers. Except this thought…
JOY must be something "other" than any other feeling we experience in normal life. It must be something that supersedes the natural. It must be something that invades my soul from the outside, rather than a feeling that bubbles up from my own efforts.
Joy may not blot out trouble or suffering. It may not make anxiety disappear.
But it can stand above it all.
And I guess that's what I'm asking you all to pray for. Sure, I would love the anxiety to disappear. I ask God for that all the time. And trust me, I'd be totally OK if He answered with a miracle of serenity!
But, if not, I am asking that you'll join me in praying for JOY to stand above what I feel.
That my panicky moments, my fearful days, my anxiety-filled nights will not steal the joy I have in knowing that even though I am rocked by life right now, I am still in the safe and secure hands of my Savior.
I am asking that the Prince of Peace will reign – even when I can hardly breathe.
This is what I pray for you, too.
Thank you for hearing my heart...
Even though I fear the storm clouds,
the SON is still shining.
"As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, 'Where is this God of yours?' My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be...Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you...I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. 'O God my rock,' I cry, 'Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?' Their taunts break my bones...Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again - my Savior and my God!" (From Psalm 42, NLT)
"Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent. Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer...In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe."(Psalm 4:1, 8, NLT)
"Those who are left will be the lowly and humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the LORD...They will eat and sleep in safety, and no one will make them afraid...Be glad and rejoice with all your heart...For the LORD...will disperse the armies of your enemy...At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster...Cheer up...Don't be afraid! For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears."
(From Zephaniah 3, NLT)
"I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart...I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy...In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the LORD, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need...Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help...The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time." (From Psalm 34, NLT)
"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." (Psalm 55:22, NIV)
"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." (1 Peter 5:7, AMP)
What is your battle today, and how can I pray for you?
***Take the above highlighted parts of the Scripture verses, put them together. This is what you get!
Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember You.
Free me from my troubles.
Cheer up. Don't be afraid!
With His love, He will calm all your fears.
Those who look to Him will be radiant with joy.
The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.
He will never let the righteous be shaken.
For He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
PRAISE THE LORD, O my soul...
Linked today with:
SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, UNFORCED RHYTHMS, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, TITUS 2 TUESDAYS, UNITE, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS, WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS, LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WINSOME WEDNESDAY, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, WORDS OF LIFE WEDNESDAYS, TELL HIS STORY, THRIVING THURSDAY, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, FAITH BARISTA JAM, EVERYDAY JESUS, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAYS, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, THE FRIDAY FIVE, ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, WHATEVER IS LOVELY, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, RECOMMENDATION SATURDAY, STILL SATURDAY, WEEKEND BREW, SUNDAY STILLNESS, GIVE ME GRACE
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"