Lately, I’ve spent a fair amount of time with an individual who has really been struggling with anxiety. I have noticed myself feeling rather irritated with what appears to be ridiculous behavior, and my patience has begun to run thin. I have felt so annoyed on more than one occasion that it took everything within me just to keep my mouth shut. I was praying for God just to help me to be nice.
And then one day, it hit me. This was ME in the past! I closed my eyes and put myself back in time to remember for a moment how anxiety had once crippled me. I was so controlled by fear that I could hardly function. It was controlling me until…
Until what you ask? Until I completely surrendered everything to God. The moment I did that, I experienced tremendous peace. I learned that nothing in this lifetime would separate me from God’s love. Nothing could happen to me or my loved ones that would ever destroy my eternal hope. Romans 8:38-39. And lest you think that my anxiety was miraculously gone forever, let me be the first to say that it still creeps in from time to time and I must deliberately hand it back over to God... AGAIN...and AGAIN...and AGAIN!
I suddenly realized that I had been missing the opportunity to show someone else how to surrender to God amid crippling fear. I felt ashamed that my approach had been one of irritation. Knowing it is never too late, I searched back in my phone at all the bible verses I had bookmarked on fear and anxiety and I started to write them down for this person on note cards. These verses had been a healing balm to my mind; they healed me over time. It was now my responsibility to not keep that to myself but to share it with someone else who needed it. And when I finally did just that, this person was so grateful. It’s going to be a process with this individual because trusting God amid fear takes time to learn and we never arrive at perfection in this lifetime. I know I must check my attitude each day and choose to see people the way Jesus sees me.
What about you? What lesson have you learned that could help someone else? Are you feeling annoyed or are you seeing people through eyes of compassion?
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 ESV.