Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago throughout the span of my fast, not really planning on posting it. But, I decided to share it on here anyway because it captures the not so glorious part of being a Christian and shows that it’s not always easy, but in the end, it’s worth it. —
Today marks day two. Day two of my first fast. As I sit here writing, (and wondering when I will actually post this since i’m fasting social media) I begin to feel excited. A weird, new type of excitement that I don’t even know if I have ever felt before.
I feel expectant. Expectant that something so mystically beautiful is on the rise and that my world is about to be turned upside down. I can already feel my heart starting to shift and I already feel like i’ve learned SO much.
If I could somehow find all of the best words to accurately describe this feeling, I would start by telling you that I feel like i’ve gained a complete new set of eyes. Eyes that see things through a light that I’m so unfamiliar with.
As I sit and watch the things going on around me, in a moment I usually would miss because I would normally be focused on my phone, I start to see beauty in the simplicity. But, through the beauty, something sticks out to me so much that I can’t even try to ignore it anymore..
I find myself watching a group of friends walking by, footsteps completely in sync, laughing and talking about something from earlier in the day, but then I notice one of the friends, trailing behind, alone and completely in their own world.
As I focused in on that friend, I began to think about how I’m also that person. The one that’s always there, but never really there. The one that seems to be going the same speed as everybody else, but somehow never in sync with everyone else. The one sheep that always, in the end, ends up lost. Away from the rest of the herd.
Now, something that I really have struggled with for my entire life is anxiety, and it only seems to keep getting worse as I get older. I constantly am struggling with trying to fight the overwhelming feeling of never being good enough. And even though I am almost always surrounded with great friends, family, and coworkers, I still feel alone. I feel as if my words are unheard and my actions are unseen no matter how hard I try to convince myself that that is not true. And lately, I’ve found myself believing all of the lies and feeling more anxious than ever before.
Fast forward to a week after starting my fast, I wake up feeling expectant and a little bit better than the other days. I knew that I would be going to church that night and I just couldn’t wait to be immersed in the presence of God.
Finally, the day goes by and I am walking into church to help set up and as soon as I walk in, the lies start coming back. Right when I began to set up rows of chairs, I began feeling disgusted with myself. All of the sudden, terrible, negative thoughts start coming to mind and I began to feel lonely again. I started to try and distract myself and think about things that usually make me feel better, and somehow, even those things became hurtful too. I tried my hardest not to let it show. I kept reminding myself that in just a few minutes, service would start and I would soon feel peace. My friends and I goto our seats and start filling each other in on the things that have been happening to us since the last time we were together. Hoping that it would make me feel better to have a conversation with someone that wasn’t my own mind, I was let down. In fact, talking to my friends only made me feel worse because it brought up more opportunity for Satan to tell me more lies. He moved off of their words and twisted them to hurt me in any way he could. And it was working. I felt completely worthless.
At this point, I was holding onto one last thing to make me feel better and it was the presence of God. Worship was something that I’ve always turned to when feeling anxious because there is absolutely nothing more comforting than His presence. It started off okay. I jumped around and danced just like I normally did, but the joy just wasn’t there. I just shook it off and closed my eyes and tried to sing. I thought that maybe if I did everything that I normally did, everything would just feel okay again. But, even though I was singing and praising God the same way as usual, all I could focus on was the lies that Satan kept feeding me. I was convinced that God didn’t even want me there. I believed that I was so unworthy that He wasn’t even on my side anymore. I was 100% convinced that everybody, including God, had given up on me. I couldn’t even open my mouth at this point. I had tears streaming down my face, but I was so mad that I couldn’t even lift my hand to wipe them away. I felt trapped. I just wanted to fall to the ground and sob until I could no longer shed any more tears. I was counting down the minutes until worship would be over.
Finally. Worship finally ended and I had never been so happy to go back to my seat. I went to my chair, grabbed my phone, and ran. I ran to the doors in the back of the church with tears still running down my cheeks and I left. As soon as I got outside, I was able to finally breathe again. I walked out to the parking lot only to realize that it was raining and that if I were to stay outside, I’d be sopping wet and more miserable than I already was. I walked out to my car, praying that maybe, just maybe, I forgot to lock the doors. Well. I didn’t. Pissed off, I knew that I only had one choice. I had to go back inside. After much contemplation, I finally worked up the courage to walk back in those doors. So I went in, and stood along the back wall as close to the doors as I could so the second that service ended, I could escape. As I was standing there, trying to hold my tears back, a friend of mine that I used to goto school with that I recently reconnected with after realizing we went to the same church, walked back to where I was standing and just hugged me. I lost it. The tears were back and this time, they weren’t stopping anytime soon. My friend just held me as I sobbed without asking any questions. She invited me to sit with her and at first, I felt hesitant. Satan started giving me reasons to not take her up on her offer and telling me that it would be better if I just continued to stand alone in the back where it was easy to escape. And in that moment, I decided to fight back. I grabbed all of my stuff and went and sat with her. I opened my notebook and started taking notes like I normally did, and I made myself focus on every single word that came out of my pastors mouth. Though it was just normal, everyday things, I knew I was making Satan cringe with every note I jotted down. Service came to an end and my pastor began praying over people with hardened hearts who felt like there was a fence from them, I began crying and received the prayer, even though Satan was trying his hardest to convince me not to. When service ended, my friend gave me another hug and looked at me and just simply said, “I’m in your corner, D.” I wept at her words, but for the first time in what seemed like forever, I felt like I had value. I felt like I meant something to somebody. I finally heard something that Satan wasn’t able to use against me to cause me any more pain.
Those four words were everything I needed.
The next day, the anxiety and the lies came back. Satan found me and he started working against me again. Everything and everyone seemed to be against me. I lost hope again. I began convincing myself that no one cared anymore. I knew I’d never understand what I did to become so unworthy. I felt alone and completely helpless. I didn’t think I mattered anymore and I began to become so familiar with feeling this way, that I began to think that this was God’s plan for me.
That night, I went to my church group. For the first time ever, I dreaded going. I knew that I was only going to end up feeling even more worthless and alone. When we walked in, I said hi to everyone, trying my hardest to not show all the pain I was feeling on my face. I went to get food and was greeted by one of the leaders, who stopped and talked to me. And even though our conversation was brief, it made me feel a lot better on the inside than anyone could’ve been able tell from the outside. After we ate, we all joined together and began going around and talking about something we needed prayers for at the moment. At first, I tried to think of the most basic, vague thing I could say in front of everyone so that I wouldn’t have to go into detail about any of the things that were actually bothering me. But then I heard God tell me to be honest. He told me not to hide anything, and to just be completely honest with how I felt, even though I was scared and hurting so badly on the inside. My time came to share about what was testing me and I began to share about how my anxiety has come back stronger than ever and how no matter how many people I was surrounded by, I always felt alone. As I shared, tears filled my eyes and my throat got tight. It became so hard to talk, but I did anyway. We then split off into small groups based off of our prayer requests and started to pray for each other. In my group, we all had some type of illness or disorder. We began sharing our battles and going more into depth on what kind of things we were facing. Our group leader began asking me questions on where my anxiety stemmed from and as soon as I started talking, she stopped me. She said, “you’ve been believing all of the lies Satan’s been telling you,” and went on and somehow was describing every single thing that was happening in my mind without even knowing the entire story. I was amazed. She then started praying over me and having me pray aloud and declare the truth over myself. Instantly, I felt a release. All of the burdens I had been carrying around on my shoulders lifted. I felt like I could breathe again. We continued praying for everybody else and I was able to pray over people and feeling confident in my prayers over them. I became expectant that each person would be healed. I felt powerful.
The night continued, and I began to notice a drastic change in the way I was feeling and how I was responding to things. I was no longer reacting to every single thing that happened, I was responding with joy, love, and a much stronger faith than before. I was hopeful again and knew that God wasn’t finished with me, and that this was only the beginning. I found my place again and the lost sheep was brought home.
For anyone who has struggled/struggles with anxiety, this one’s for you:
Today, I woke up feeling confident and expectant. Confident that God is going to use me in amazing ways, just like He’s going to do the same for you. He wants you to know that every single one of your prayers are heard, even if it feels like nothing is changing. He wants you to know that the negative, worrisome thoughts that are attacking your mind right now, are lies. You see, the Lord is a good father and no matter what Satan tries to convince you, those thoughts that you get, where you feel unloved, unworthy, and unimportant, aren’t from Him. The Lord wants to comfort you right now and free you from any thoughts and worries you may have. He doesn’t want you to feel guilty anymore for any doubts, anger, or pain you have against Him because He can handle it. He just wants YOU to keep fighting those lies by declaring the truth over yourself.
That you are worthy.
That you are loved.
That you are beautiful.
That you are qualified.
That you are heard.
That you are seen.
That you don’t have to worry anymore.
Because He’s not finished yet and neither are you. He is going to use you in ways you could never even imagine. You have a purpose that was custom-made just for you. So, don’t let the devil convince you anything else because you are so much more than what he tells you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image, and nothing will ever change that.
Let’s take on this battle and overcome all of lies together because we are children of God and that is the most honorable thing you can ever be. If you’re ever feeling unworthy, beaten down, or discouraged, just know that so many people, including me, are in your corner and you will never have to face any of this alone.
Because no matter how far you stray, you’ll always make your way back to Him.