Dancing with Anxiety

RACHEL CRADDOCK|GUEST

I dance with worry and anxiety too often. Sometimes I let anxiety lead the rhythm of my step. I find my feet walking to it’s beat.

Just like you when a child naps in the afternoon who usually does not I may begin to worry that he may be ill. I am walking in anxiousness waiting for that thermometer to read above 100.5.

Or other times when my husband is not home at the usual time and is also unreachable on his phone. My mind assumes that something is really wrong, most of the time assuming the worst and waiting for an officer to show up at my doorstep to tell me my husband has been in a terrible car accident. The rhythm of anxiety causes my mind to pace just to keep up with it’s steps.

Most of the time what I see in myself when I am dancing is really just the symptoms of anxiety. I see the dance of anxiety and I am beginning to recognize it’s luring rhythm. Racing mind, racing heart, outrageous thoughts,  sweating plams, edgy tone, words that spew out of my mouth like an unredeemed child with an out of control God. Words like:

I fear…

I can’t…

It won’t…

I try to cover up the symptoms of anxiety with prayer and verses memorized from scripture or verses found in the Bible topic glossary under the bolded words: worry and anxiety. But the worries come back. I find myself back in the luring rhythms dancing with worry and anxiety because I am only seeing what is above the surface.

I forget to go down deep below the surface and take a good look at the giant glacier below me- where worry and anxiety are breeding a faulty foundation completely out of sight.

I am lured by worry and anxiety in my thought life because beneath the surface I have an unbelieving heart.

Beneath the surface I am drinking from the broken cistern of control. (Jeremiah 2:13: “For my people have committed two sins. They have forsaken me the spring of living water and they have dug their own cisterns: broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”)

Beneath the surface I am a beautiful jagged mess of pride and unbelief. 

My pride desires to be in control. I want to know what is coming. I want to prepare my heart. My pride believes if I know what’s coming I can be more prepared. My pride tells me I am able to do all things. Like Eve, I want to taste the fruit so my eyes will be opened and I will then know like God knows.

My unbelief is screaming I have giant patches of cold glacier where I fail to know the character of a loving God. In my unbelieving desire to control I forget that God is in control of all things for his redeemed children. In my unbelief I choose to dance with the enemy instead of the One who truly loves me and knows the plans He has for me. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I’ve always known I am prone to worry. When I sing the words from “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing,”

Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love-I think of my anxious adulterous dance. My constant pattern of leaving the God I love to wander over and let the rhythm of worry and anxiety control my steps.

It has just been recently that I have had the courage to look deep beneath the surface at the giant glacier of pride and unbelief breeding below me. Where the desire to control and the unbelief in my Great God are growing beneath the surface of my anxious symptoms.

Before I can examine what is tangled up beneath the surface I need to know how loved by God. I need His presence and His Spirit to be present with me.

So with courage and the armor of the Holy Spirit I have been willing to go down beneath the surface. When I see the beautiful jagged mess below. I am heartbroken. I didn’t even know about my broken cistern to be in control. But with the armor of the Holy Spirit I remember that God knew this about me anyway and He still sent Jesus to die on the cross for that icy jagged mess. I place my hand on my head to remember that no matter the mess my helmet of salvation is secure.

With the armor of the Holy Spirit I can begin to unravel all the tangled up dances from wandering back and forth between belief and unbelief. With the armor of the Holy Spirit I know I have a Great Surgeon who helps me go to work, ever so gently to unravel the wandering mess I’ve made.

For now I am going down deep beneath the surface to fight the unbelief and pride of my heart. Not alone but with the armor of the Holy Spirit. With truth. With the gospel of peace. With the helmet of salvation secure.

I am called Sought Out. A city not forsaken. God remembers me and He cares for me SO MUCH that I am sought after. (Isaiah 62:12)

Why do I let the myths of anxiety lure me when I have a God like this?

I believe. Help my unbelief.

Rachel has her undergraduate degree in education from Eastern Kentucky University and was an elementary school teacher in her days before motherhood. At twenty-one she heard the gospel for the first time and at twenty-two she was married to Michael and alongside him at Covenant Theological Seminary while he pursued his dream of one day serving in the local church. Currently Rachel is a stay at home mom to the four children they had in four years- Ezra, Asher, Caleb and Lydia Jane. During naptime, Rachel writes on her personal blog and occasionally finds the time to speak at women’s retreats out of a deep desire to share the transforming power of the gospel in the every day as well as the humbling moments of being a pastor’s wife while raising, sweating and wrestling four young children in the front row. Rachel is the Women’s Ministry Coordinator at North Cincinnati Community Church where her husband serves as the Lead Pastor. Rachel is in search of time to eat, strong coffee, and a long trail run. You can connect with Rachel on Facebook, Twitter or on her blog, rachelcraddock.com.

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