When Peace Gets Away: My Struggle with Anxiety

Philippians 4:7 God's peace guards our hearts.

God’s peace is beyond our ability to truly understand, yet it arrives with the power to protect, to guard our hearts and our minds, safe in the hand’s of Jesus.

Our crazy heart, the seat of our feelings, responds to peace and the mind, interprets peace. In this verse, there is a specific route to peace that involves refusing to give in to worry and choosing to pray instead.

I don’t know about you, but I frequently do the praying, but have trouble with the Not-Worrying. I am grateful that God does’t put a qualifier on our prayer, He just tells us to have the faith to ask Him for everything that we need.

Yes for me, the hardest part is this be-anxious-for-nothing way of living. You see, I happen to be very good at worrying. It is one of the few things that I just might be exceptional at…  Anxiety and I have a track record, a history.

Anxiety Robs us of Peace

Years ago, I sat in a bare, utilitarian Dr’s office, checking on lab results. “No one called you?” asked a rather frantic nurse. She explained to me that my thyroid test (six months old) indicated that I had Graves Disease, a hyper-thyroid autoimmune disease. My first thought was, I am moving three small children across the country in three weeks, I can’t be sick.

I don’t have time to be sick.

I didn’t matter.

I was tested, diagnosed, and medicated, then release to move my merry way. “This isn’t so bad,” I thought as packers loaded up the truck and we readied our van for the cross-country trip. A few weeks later, as we pulled up to our new home in Monterey, CA, the imbalance of my hormonal system tipped to a place called uncontrollable. Plunging down the incline of a thyroid-induced roller coaster, blood pressure and adrenaline flooded my system and it was months before I felt anything close to calm.

It was months before my hands stopped shaking.

No Peace

Fear marched in with a take-all vengeance. A persistent feeling of dread plagued my days as we got settled and I tried to take  care of our three little peeps. Peace a distant memory, I stopped sleeping and my nights were filled with a useless energy that kept me pacing and unfocused. No matter what I tried, I could not turn off my mind or my feelings.

6 weeks later I was a basket case–afraid to go out and afraid to stay in.

Afraid of being afraid.

Afraid of nothing specific.

Afraid of everything.

Unable to eat and no longer able to drive a car, I worried I would never know peace again. By the time my doctor decided to radiate my thyroid, destroying the tissue, my uptake was at 95%.

It is a humbling and frightening thing when your sense of sanity and well-being are as fragile as numbers on a lab report. In this strange and difficult time, God surrounded me with sweet friends, He brought His Word to life and helped me through. These were days that I hung on with all my might, waiting for God to bring me through the waters of upheaval.

Peace Lessons

During these anxiety-filled days and nights, Philippians 4:6-7 was a verse I repeated often. I wrote it,  journaled it, prayed it, meditated on it, repeated it, yelled it…

Sometimes God takes us through things so that we can learn on the deep level of experience (Click to tweet). There comes a time when it is not enough to say it, or even think we believe it. Moments come when temptation pounds against belief, and we experience God in a new way as He provides for needs, ministers comfort, infuses strength, and lends us miracles. He brings us through.

He is with us.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you” (Isaiah 43:2).

As God brings us through,

belief is forged iron-strong into our core.

Lesson upon lesson,

layer upon layer,

faith upon faith,

struggle to victory, He is ever faithful. (Click to Tweet).

In the fire of hard things, God builds faith, and we begin to know the relationship between prayer that is the deep cry of the heart and the peace of God.  Though my deepest struggle with anxiety had a hormonal cause, anxiety and worry are unwelcome visitors that show up from time to time. Regardless of the cause, the effect is the same:

Anxiety robs us of peace like no other.

God showed me, “When you are anxious, your heart’s emotional attention is on the problem, the need, the uncertainty rather than being fixed on Me.  When you look at the storm, the storm is what you will see.  When your mind is stayed on Me, you will know the perfect peace that grows out of trusting me and is evidence of My Presence within you.  I AM your peace.”

Slide09

Be anxious for nothing.

But in everything…

What is your everything today?

Today I am linking to Transformed Tuesdays at More to Be. This is a great site for more encouragement!

7 Comments

  1. Wow, Ginger — Mitzi just posted on worry too! My everything is my family. Especially my kids. You think things will get easier when they grow up, but they just get more complicated and more serious. I’m glad God knows them better and loves them more than I ever could.

  2. Oh, friend I agree totally. The older they get, the stakes seem to go up and the less they want our input. God is a much better parent than I am and I am grateful He has them in His hands. Thanks for chiming in today!

  3. Ginger, I am so glad you linked up this post to Transformed Tuesdays. It captures truth and the road to transformation. I was super blessed! Thanks!

  4. Hi Ginger! I would not be being honest if I said I wasn’t a worrier. I am learning to trust, to let go and just be. It’s not always easy, but I save myself a lot of heartache and physical symptoms when I choose to trust and not worry. Blessings!

  5. Thats some strong practical advise! gods word is always refreshing to the soul, but he should be a different approach on how to deal with anxiety. I can’t believe I’m going to share this with you, here it goes…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrepJUBr2SM

    • Ginger Harrington

      Thanks for sharing your powerful story. Praise God for how he is using you to encourage those who struggle with anxiety.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *