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Dear Anxiety: Striving Keeps Me Stuck

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Dear Anxiety,

Striving keeps me stuck. Stuck in darkness. Stuck in habits. Stuck believing lies about God.

Lately, I've been realizing what it means to live in God's love. I have been so stuck striving for a relationship with God forgetting that the Holy Spirit resides in me and He is constantly and consistently inviting me to sit at the table with him. I forget so easily that God loves me, wants only good for me, and delights in me and that leaves me striving. Striving leads to anxiety.

I strive. I hadn't recognized my striving until recently and woah is it eye-opening. How easy it is to strive but get nowhere. Striving keeps me stuck. It keeps me from growing. It keeps me from recognizing when my body needs to be cared for. It keeps me from recognizing when my mind heart and soul need to be cared for. Most importantly, it brings me away from a spacious place I have with the Holy Spirit where I am able to recline in his arms and simply just be no matter what is going on. Sometimes, I find myself so exhausted I say "Lord, you know my heart. You know my wants and needs. I'm too tired to pray. I'm going to lay in your presence."

Psalm 18:19

"He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me."

After discovering some not-so-favorable news, I noticed that my overwhelmed mind started trying to figure everything out.

I then realized it wasn't the time to figure out all that was wrong or right. It's not a time to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, in a hurry to get to where I’m going. I can't fix what is going on nor can I control it. If anything, it’s a time to really slow down because a hurried, overpacked brain actually slows me down.

Instead of shelling in, I want to Try Softer (a book by Aundi Kolber). I want to sit at the table with Jesus. Recline. Lean back. Let the Holy Spirit go to work for me as I live my day. He only wants good things for me. So I'm going to let him work it out and be free from doing the work myself because I can’t control anything. I will be doing work in vain. I will be doing work that isn’t glorifying.

I'm going to be present and stop striving. He loves me even in disappointment. He sees me. He understands every feeling and emotion.  Stop striving and rest because rest is where I hear his voice.

When I spiral, I can't hear the Holy Spirits' voice because I'm so focused on me, myself, and I. What I ended up doing on this certain day was a ten-minute meditation that refocused my mind on God's love and strengthened my brain. After those ten minutes, my brain was back to somewhat neutral and I was able to move forward in my day.

The next day, something else made me spiral and instead of doing the above, I googled and then googled some more which led me to believe I have an awful disease. I was treading water the rest of the day, trying to stay afloat. It wasn't until I said out loud, "I'm done ruminating on this because I can't solve it right now." that my brain was able to relax and in turn, after an hour or so my body was again at a neutral state.

Going forward, my goal when my brain lights up like a game show board, is to practice acceptance and not try to shove down all the sensations, emotions, and thoughts. I'm going to practice being okay with my thoughts. Let them float on by as my therapist would say. I'm going to practice not striving but when my brain is doing the ding, ding, ding, like a game show I need to keep the anxiety away from me so that I can look at it and it doesn't become me. I will envision my anxiety out in front of me instead of within me. By doing this I separate myself from it. I am then going to redirect and refocus. That means I will be present even though all the lights are on in my brain. I'll read, I'll play a game with Quinn, I'll do the dishes, I'll fold the laundry, I'll listen to a podcast, anything that is life-giving and gentle.

Continuing to learn,


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