One of the worst experiences of my life was being diagnosed with severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder. When that particular beast finally had a name, I allowed myself to become enslaved to it. I allowed it to take over parts of me. I labeled debilitating emotions as simple side effects and left it at that. I allowed myself to fall into a pit of despair and stayed there. For years.
This anxiety manifested itself in different ways. Tiny grievances ate away at my psyche until I was left a gibbering mess of “what ifs.” I lost countless hours of sleep nervously mulling over the events of the day, looking for shame. I second-guessed decisions until my head spun.
This experience is not unique to me.
Many can relate to these and increasingly worse “symptoms.” I still have the occasional anxiety attack, yet some suffer daily, hourly. Everyone has hardships of varying degrees. Frustrations like bricks tied to our feet which make trudging through this earthly life all the more difficult.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. | Romans 8:37
In trials and testing, in woe and despair, when we are hated, when we are at our wits end, when all is lost, when we are terrified out of our minds, even if our very lives are threatened…we are more than conquerors.
We’re past the edge of victory,
even in the midst of battle.
We are overwhelmingly victorious. Our enemy may throw difficulty our way, yet we are not alone. Our companion is the victor. That’s the best part of it—“through Him who loved us.”
His love enables us to claim and share in the victory that our Lord died to procure.
Not only are we past throwing off the shackles and burdens of earthly life—we are free.
Free of fear,
free of sin,
free of shame.
…neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. | Romans 8:38-39
I am never one to villainize a disorder. Many have no choice over their sufferings and often have shame to accompany it. Dear one, despite this, it (whatever “it” may be) does not have to rule you. Though you don’t choose your life, you do choose how to play the cards that have been dealt. You choose whether it is your woes or Christ that rules you.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” | Frodo to Gandalf on the burden of the ring in The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
Consider electricity. Left unchecked it can destroy nearly anything in its path. It seems uncontrollable. But when scientists get a hold of it, they can harness and focus it, and it is put to wonderful uses. This otherwise destructive thing has been molded into something that humans would be hard pressed to learn to live without. If that’s what human scientists can do with electricity, imagine what Christ can do with the raw power of a human heart.