Do not be anxious. That sounds easy enough when you’re reading it, but it is so hard to do when we’re going through difficulties in our lives. Can I get an Amen?
There once was a point in my life where I was eat up with anxiety so much that I was on anti-anxiety medicine. After my sister took her life in 2001, I fought to find my sense of normal again. I lost my sister but a huge part of who I was in the process. As I tried to recover from a completely unrecoverable act with my sister ending her life, I did not know who I was any more. She was my only sibling, and I lost the ability to identify with any one about our childhood. Not only that, but in our adult lives, I lost my very best friend; my sister. We were always together, and there I was thrown into a pit of nothingness, it seemed, when she was gone. We always knew that we could count on each other, and then one day, she was taken from me. I felt completely like a fish out of water without my sister. She was my big sissy, and if we were not on the phone talking, we were together cutting up and acting silly. Our lunches were together during the work week, and we were together on weekends as well. That all changed on that hot July day in 2001, though. And my world would never be the same again.
Anxiety filled my body. Ordinary things that wouldn’t have bothered me before started grating on my nerves. I wanted to isolate myself for fear that people were whispering about my family and what happened with my sister. Others would just out right ask you about that tragic day wanting every little detail. Please … if you find yourself curious, be gentle with the person. If you just can’t help yourself and have to ask, be gentle. This is a very difficult situation to talk about any way, but it makes it especially traumatic every time the person is asked to re-live that horrible day.
Add in the fact that I had issues with my ex husband and his new wife, oh yes, the anxiety was mounting.
Things in my marriage weren’t right, yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Yes, the trauma took affect in every aspect of my life, but that wasn’t what caused the issues in my marriage. Much later I would learn of my husband’s pornography addiction that he kept hidden for years. Yet, knowing things weren’t right added to my anxiety.
Then the office I worked in – full of women – seemed to turn more toxic than usual. Maybe it was because I was able to escape their harsh criticism and tactics as they focused on other victims, but when they eventually got around to me, they were unmerciful in their attempts to bring me down. The harsh reality is that very few care what you’ve been through. These “ladies” knew of my sister’s suicide, and it was almost as if they used it to push me closer and closer to the edge. Maybe they were hoping I’d do it, too. But, I did not. Instead, I turned it around when it felt as if they were egging me on and pushing me further into that pit as they attempted to ostracized me. I enjoyed not being part of “their” group. There were days I came into the office and went straight to my office not to come out until lunch time to leave, then returning where I’d practically lock myself in my office and not stick my head out again until quitting time. My office was my place of refuge. I did not need nor want to associate with them. They snubbed me, talked about me, and treated me poorly anyway. I was better off staying to myself doing my work. What could they possibly have to say about me if my work was done, and I was producing a high volume of quality work? Even still, they picked me apart and used every opportunity to barge into my office to ridicule me. Finally, I decided that if I could not accept the situation (and who should accept this ill treatment from adult “mean girls” in the work place?!) nor change the situation (I did eventually speak up to the executive director who did absolutely nothing because his family was friends with my boss and her family), it was time for me to leave. At that point, I knew for my sanity and for my health, I had to bid them all farewell … and you know what? Almost immediately I could feel the anxiety leave my body!
It has now been 13 years since my sister’s suicide. Thankfully the problems with my ex husband and his new wife died down for a few years, too! Praises to God, as it has been almost three years since I left that toxic work environment. And one that I will forever be grateful for, God has helped us in my current marriage as it has been one year since my husband sought help for his pornography addiction. We are closer than we have ever been, and I continue to see the change in my husband on a daily basis. How refreshing to feel loved, treasured, and cherished now! Oh thank you, God! And you know what else? It has been years … YEARS … since I have been off of that anxiety medicine. Praises to God above!!! The anxiety medicine is no longer needed. God calms His child.
Today, I am HAPPY! Yes, I can honestly say that today I am the happiest I have been in a very long time. I thank GOD for removing all of the anxiety in my life. He raised His hand in the mist of the storms in my life and calmed the raging seas that threatened to consume me. While I did have to eventually leave the job that I once loved, God gave me the wisdom to see that it was best. I trusted Him and took that leap of faith … and I am ever so grateful today that I did! He has provided for and met my every need, and I am eternally grateful.
The bible tells us:
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I’m here today to tell you that this is so true. If I had referred to God’s word more during my times of trouble and had been obedient to what this verse says to do … think of how sooner peace would have filled my soul. I thank God for the peace that is mine through Him today!
You can have that peace, too. Do not be anxious, friend. Instead, turn it all over to Jesus.