It’s infiltration was slow like the mist coming off the sea.
It crept in and enveloped me unaware, until I was covered as with a wet blanket.
I didn’t recognize it for what it was until I was weighted down under the cascade—the waterfall of anxiety.
That’s how anxiety usually works: it often starts out small and over time grows to troublesome proportions.
Rarely, for example, do people wake up one day with a full blown case of agoraphobia. Often it starts with something fairly small and inconsequential, like a moment or two of turbulence on a flight which then leads to a fear of flying. Then perhaps a fear of any public transportation. Next, a fear of traveling on highways might ensue, followed by a fear driving outside the neighborhood, until ultimately becoming homebound.
Afflicted by a rather severe but nonetheless innocuous cold, not wanting to keep my husband awake from my congestion and painful moans, I moved to the guest bedroom.
Only a few years before, that was the room I occupied during a several month recovery from a serious illness. As I attempted to sleep now, haunting visions of that dreadful ordeal seeped in to contest my sleep.
Unable to get up and do anything productive, my mind gave in to a playground of questions:
- What if this turns into something more serious?
- What if I can’t recoup the lost time?
- What if there is something about this room that breeds devastation?
Have you ever fallen prey to the “What if?” trap?
- What will I say?
- What if people don’t like me?
- What if the check doesn’t clear?
- What if I don’t pass this test?
- What if I don’t get that job (or job promotion)?
I found it comforting to learn that even Biblical greats have wrestled with similar questions.
In Exodus, God sent Moses to Pharaoh to bring His people, the Israelites, out of Egypt. In his fear, Moses began listening to the lies in his head:
- What if I’m not qualified?
- What if I don’t know what to say?
- What if they don’t listen to me?
- What am I supposed to tell them when they ask who sent me?
God first assured Moses that He would be with Moses—He wasn’t asking Moses to do it alone. Then, “God replied to Moses, ‘I AM Who I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14
God’s answer to Moses is the same as His answer to our doubts, our fears, and our anxiety today.
First, God will be with us—we do not face any situation on our own. Second, He is our “I AM.” He is everything we need. He is everything we need Him to be and everything we need Him to do.
In Him, we are sufficiently equipped for whatever He calls us to.
As my mind entertained haunting flashbacks of that particularly dire time in my life, anxiety flooded every part of me. After several nights of battle, I began to fear bedtime itself. I had given in to the enemy’s lies that I was defeated.
The answer to my anxiety came from the same source for Moses’s relief: recognizing that God is sufficient for my every need and that wherever I went, God went with me.
I repented for entertaining lies from the spirit of fear and began declaring that no matter where I go, I AM sent me and is with me.
The answer to our anxiety is resting in the power of God’s decree, “I AM.”
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)