Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and putting your heart on the line is no easy feat. Vulnerability is uncomfortable. Letting your heart pour over is terrifying–at times even messy and painful.
We crave deep and meaningful connections with those around us, so why is being vulnerable so difficult? Why are we afraid to show others our true selves? Why can’t we talk about the messy things? The painful, not-so-nice parts of our lives?
We live in a era where social media feeds are carefully curated to illustrate the wonderful and alluring parts of our lives. We are so consumed by these picturesque squares found within social media apps that we forget that they are only part of a person’s story. For instance, if you were to peruse my Instagram feed, you’d see pictures of things I find beautiful. You’d hear me speak of how grateful I am for the life that I live, for a Savior who sacrificed so much for me, and for a family and friends who love me.
And while I am undoubtedly grateful for all of those things, I rarely speak of how paralyzing my anxiety is, how deafening my moments of sheer panic are, or how my depression can leave me in a fog for days at a time.
“No one wants to hear that,” I think.
“People will judge me,” I say.
More importantly, though, as a Christian, I have felt more like a hypocrite than a vessel for God. There are countless instances in the Bible where God asks us to trust Him, yet, I still worry. I am still anxious. We are taught that God will take care of us, yet I still carry my own burdens.
“I am not fully resting in God’s promises,” I think. Shame and guilt consume me.
I am heavy.
“I am a horrible Christian.”
Anxiety is placed in our lives–and is one of the many attempts made by Satan–to make us doubt God and place limitations on His power. It is Satan’s attempt to make God small.
“This problem is too big for God,” the enemy says.
“God isn’t interested,” he scoffs.
It is a misconception that Christians don’t struggle once they’ve found Christ. We stumble, make mistakes, and remain imperfect just as much as any other person. The joy and freedom found in Christ is everlasting, but that doesn’t mean our respective obstacles disappear. We are faced with the temptation to give in to the enemy, to let grief overwhelm us. But it is God’s hope that we choose Him in the midst of our moments of darkness.
There is a quote by C.S. Lewis that I love:
“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
At times, we get overwhelmed with our own present circumstances, devastated by our own shame, guilt, and feelings of unworthiness, that we forget our Father’s past faithfulness–instances in our lives where He went above and beyond what we could’ve ever hoped for or asked for in our time of need.
We fear that His will won’t be ours. We can’t see into the future like He can, so we meet the unknown with trepidation. It is impossible for us to fully comprehend God’s power, unconditional love, and mercy. If we have trouble comprehending these things, it isn’t a surprise to me that we fail to comprehend just how capable and truly competent He is.
And, yes, friend, it is easy to be consumed by fear about the things beyond our control, but the good news is that we don’t have to go through this life alone:
God is our Warrior, and He will fight for us.
Exodus 14:14 says,
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”
There is a reason why we don’t hold all the power. We are not all-knowing like the God we serve. As Believers, we are constantly learning, growing, and transforming into the people God wants us to be. That includes facing our fears, confronting our demons, and working to be better versions of ourselves every single day. This transformation is us learning to accept His will instead of our own and working towards it instead of against it. Part of that, I truly believe, is learning to accept our imperfect nature and to allow God to do the heavy lifting in our lives.
That sounds easier than it actually is, right?
Such a journey is forged with trial and error, a season full of heartache, frustration, and disappointment. God doesn’t want us to live there, however.
A few days ago, I was talking to my cousin Ryan about being an anxious follower of Christ. This was his response:
If we could perfectly wait on the Lord, we wouldn’t have any reason to improve. God gives us our weaknesses so that we can be humble and rely on Him more.
God wants us to come to Him with our problems!
Matthew 11:28-30 says,
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Even when we are unsure of how God is working in our lives, we have a choice to make. We can choose to believe that God is working towards our good, stretching us and growing us into the people we are meant to be, or we can choose to hinder such growth by giving into our temptations and becoming slaves once again to our bondage–the very things that keep us far from God. We need not be afraid, we need to remember His power and believe that the end result will benefit us, ultimately because He cares for us.
Recall 1 Peter 5:6-7, which says,
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may lift you up. Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.”
As someone who struggles with anxiety, I can tell you first hand that it is a battle, every day. Many days, I am reminded of my weaknesses and shortcomings. I get discouraged and find myself grappling with my mind–fighting off hurt, pain, and heartache created by the enemy. In the midst of the trials I’ve experienced, I’ve also come to know that I am loved and cherished, powerfully beyond measure.
God has never once given up on me. Instead, He has sat with me in my pain, held me in times of grief, and cheered me on through every obstacle. He has been faithful, even though there have been times when I have been too blind to see it. And, even on my best days, I know that there will never be a time when I won’t need God.
Psalm 33:4 says,
“For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.”
He is faithful in all He does. If you are struggling and find yourself lost in a pit of frustration, sorrow, or anger, remember this: God has not given up on us. We should not give up on Him.
We may not know what He is doing, but we know who He is:
A God that loves us fully and completely.
words by Amanda LeMasters and photo by Gretta Sheehan