Mental Health

When Jesus asks Hard Questions: Anxiety

I haven’t written a blog in a fairly long time. While in Nepal, I felt like God was asking me to pick up one of my loves again, and that is writing. I enjoy being able to tell a story and to encourage others through the words I write. So here I am. As I sit in my bed on the floor of Nepal, I am reminded of how Jesus pursues. He reminded me of this several times over my time trekking the foothills of the Himalayas to go share His love to those who don’t know Him.

Picture this: a group of 16 young adults trekking up a mountain, two throwing up every 20 minutes due to their bodies rejecting the food, a couple people with respiratory issues who were relying on an inhaler to catch a breath due to rapid elevation change, but yet they kept going. There is, to me, no other explanation other than Jesus pursuit of not only the Nepali people, but us, that kept us going. He gave energy when it was needed. He gave strength in weak moments, laughter in frustrating times, but most of all, love and grace. We trained leading up to this trip, but that only took us so far. The heat, humidity, and elevation were a lot more challenging than first anticipated.

Why do I bring up this story? I know more now than ever that no matter the circumstance, Jesus is there alongside each and every one of us, pursuing our hearts and helping us strive toward the goal before us. He longs to give us the desire of our hearts. We simply need to ask for energy, for strength, for joy, for whatever we long for. There has never been a time I was more desperate for God to step in, to intervene than our last night in that beautiful Nepali village. There was a massive storm. Thunder, lightning, and flooding filled the village. (Not to even mention the spiders larger than my fist that made their way in. And waking up to one right above my head… I was terrified. Laying on the hard concrete floor, all I had was Jesus.  Isn’t that how we all feel sometimes? I think Jesus let me get to that point to show me that He is all I need. I didn’t know if we were going to survive the night. All I could do was fall asleep to the promise Jesus spoke to me saying we would be okay, that we would make it. I had nothing else to cling to. My anxious thoughts kept me awake half the night because I had a hard time giving them to Jesus.

The whole next day as we trekked down the mountain, Jesus and I chatted. I’ve allowed anxiety to rule my choices the last couple of years. Whatever my anxiety said would kill me, I didn’t do. And it was silly things, but my anxious thoughts would overtake me and nothing anyone could say would change my mind. In fact, I’d just get angry and shut down. This is not and was not what God wanted for me and my life. On the trek down, Jesus asked me to give Him my anxiety. The thing is, it’s the hardest thing for me to do. Anxiety has been driving my life for a while now, how can I simply let it go? I kept saying, “it’s not that easy.” I’d hit bushes and rocks with my trekking poles. “How can you ask me to give you my anxious thoughts just like that? It’s not that easy.” And that’s where I was reminded, Jesus pursues and he wouldn’t leave me alone once I gave it to Him. In fact, He’d be the one driving my life, giving me what I need to succeed. Did anxiety ever help me succeed in anything? No. It made me give up on a lot of things I love. It made me overthink everything. It made me a closed off person in relationships. It forced me to hide because it told me that everyone and everything is to be feared.

Am I completely rid of my anxiety? I don’t think so. I’m not sure what this next season will look like, but I know that I need to be reminded daily that Jesus wants my anxiety and he longs to give me a fear free life. I need to remember that a life with Jesus is worth pursuing because He first pursued us and my anxiety has no place in that life. I don’t want my anxiety to hold me back anymore, but to push me forward, never looking back. I want this trip to be a changing point, a memory to look back on and say that’s where Jesus met me in my anxiousness, grabbed my hand and pulled me out of it. He deserves all of me, not part of me.

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