(Watch the video-version of this post here.)
I think I‘ve been on the brink of an anxiety attack.
This “new normal” crisis-lifestyle has wrecked me.
Elephant sitting on my chest, can’t take in a full breath, thoughts spiraling out of control, emotional outbursts, the whole she-bang.
But I have been in complete denial.
I actually called the Covid-19 triage to state my breathing symptoms…. surely catching the Coronavirus would be preferable to having an anxiety attack.
It’s not Covid.
Just a few months ago I tried to convince my college Bible study girls there is no shame in having anxiety. They probably saw right through me.
Sure, there’s no shame for them to be anxious, but if I started to have anxiety, well that would be embarrassing.
I’m Becky Rosty. I cringe at the “live your truth” statements, but deep down, I believe them. If I identify as a strong Christian woman then good grief that is who I am! And this anxiety issue doesn’t fit with that narrative.
Cue the shame and denial and numbing myself with lots of 500-piece Thomas Kinkade puzzles.
But if this were you on the other side of a phone call or a coffee table, I’d tell you there is no shame, truly. God doesn’t expect us to be Him. He calls us “sheep.”
Sheep get overwhelmed easily. They get sick, need help, and don’t do well when isolated.
It’s ok to be who Jesus said I am. A sheep. A sheep who isn’t doing well in isolation. A sheep in need of help and healing. A sheep who wandered into anxious mental territory and needs rescuing.
But I am not a sheep without a Shepherd.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
The Good Shepherd doesn’t just pluck me out of the thicket. He walks with me through the shadowy valley.
The anxiety hasn’t vanished with a prayer. But I haven’t been left alone with it either, all this time.
Whats the point of this post? Solidarity.
To say in true honesty, to you and myself, there is no shame in anxiety.
I might be able to regulate my thoughts and choose my feelings, but my body is still on red alert. Something is wrong. So my body responds in flight or flight mode (thanks to my mentor for this perspective!).
It’s not a defeat, a failure, or a personal problem.
It isn’t a sin or lack of faith.
It’s a valley, and we are sheep who sometimes walk through valleys.
Maybe the valley is wide and barren and lasts for years. Maybe we will shake off the dust from our feet sooner rather than later as we leap to new heights of joy and motivation. Either way, we don’t walk alone.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
He will carry the lambs in his arms,
holding them close to his heart.
He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. Isaiah 40:11
We are ever guided, loved, carried and comforted by our good Shepherd.
Let’s all take a moment to feel His presence with us. A very non-Christmasy Emanuel moment for the needy sheep at His feet.
Now may the God of peace—
who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
may he equip you with all you need
for doing his will.
May he produce in you,[e]
through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
I shared this a little more personally on Youtube. Feel free to check it out and share if it encouraged you!