I can feel its invisible presence this week. Like the hot air filling up the inside of a balloon. Only instead of lifting me off the ground in freedom – it feels like I might explode any second.
That metaphor took a weird turn and I suddenly feel like I’m talking about pregnancy. Which is something I have zero experience with. However, there is something I do have a lot of experience with: anxiety.
The little monster that can crawl inside you and put a choke hold on your heart before you even know he’s there. The gremlin that can find the one pressure point that will paralyze you, leaving you frozen in fear. The thief that steals the air right out of your lungs, and rips the rug of peace out from under your soul.
I have a lot of metaphors for anxiety – because this is a battle I fight on a regular basis.
Can I be honest? This week, I kind of feel like I’m losing the battle. I can feel my chest tightening and my heart racing. I wonder – am I doing it all wrong? Am I letting everyone down? My head aches, my thoughts feel fuzzy… and I just want to crawl under the covers. (Not metaphorically. Literally.)
Sometimes the basics really are what I need most to clear away the fog. Nourishing food. Sleep. Exercise. Together they are a kind of medicine. Helping my mind, body, and soul work together instead of against each other.
But there are still days when the monsters break through my first line of defense... and I feel powerless to stop them. I’m staring at the blinking cursor on the screen now, because this is the part where I’m supposed to turn the corner and tell you that I said a prayer – and poof! The monsters disappeared. That may be someone else’s story. But it isn’t mine.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t prayed about it. It also doesn’t mean I haven’t seen any growth in this area of my life. I think for most of us, healing is a much more gradual process than we would like it to be.
This morning while I was driving into work, I could feel the coil winding up inside of me. So I pulled out my phone and sent a friend a message. I told her I was feeling really anxious, and explained some of the things I thought were triggering it. We share a similar struggle, and this is what we do for each other. Confess. Process. Pray. We journey together, without condemnation. We tell each other the truth. And in a way, this is its own kind of healing.
It makes me think of this verse, which usually comes with a large dose of anxiety for me... "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16.
This verse still sounds a bit scary. Until I think of the relief and freedom I feel when I send my “confessions” to my friend, and I hear her reply with these words: “Me too."