I have, like many people, struggled with anxiety and depression for a good part of my life. It is where the enemy targets me—especially in moments where I am basking in the glory of God’s light. This time of year, November-January, is always the hardest. The days are dark and long. The stress is high. Each day is a battle, a spiritual one.
A few nights ago, around ‘fall back’ time, I had a dream. To the average person, this dream seems mundane at best…stupid at worst, but here it is:
My good friends got together. They did not invite me, I just happened to stumble upon them at a park where they were gathering. They greeted me with smiles and told me the plan. Of course, I was invited, they were glad I was there. But I knew I was an afterthought.
I walked away.
A couple of them followed, but wallowing in self-pity, I didn’t return. Instead, I watched the gathering like an omniscient ghost. Every good friend I have ever had, met, or spent time with was there. Illogically they were together and having a great time without me, even though most of them didn’t know one another.
Later, I flooded the bathroom–I’m not really sure how that fit into the dreamscape, but I woke up startled and confused, breathing in the anxiety of my dream.
My friends. My Family. The people I do life with. I know they love me. Intellectually I have no problem accepting this. Yesterday I had an amazing time hanging out with some of the people who have been with me since elementary school–clearly not a place of anxiety This dream was stupid, yes, but it also is very telling about my fears.
I had dinner with a friend of mine and I said something pretty stupid. My extemporaneous delivery in conversation sometimes is terrible, and my comment was meant as a joke, but based on her reaction I realized it was not life-giving, it damaged hope. I felt bad. I’ve obsessed over it for a few days now, even though I know she immediately either forgot or forgave my insensitivity, I still sometimes struggle with the feeling that one wrong move and all my relationships might just crumble.
I fear many things, but rejection is pretty high on the list. Even when I’m with people I love and who I know love me, a part of my mind is always battling against the whisper that I am unwanted–that I don’t fit in and I should stop trying to.
I fear being an afterthought. Forgotten. And worst of all, being isolated in my own head because I allow these fears to become realities.
Because the fact is, sometimes I do allow it.
Psalm 94, of course, spoke to me after a night of restless dreams. Verses 18-19 read:
When I said my foot is slipping, your love, O Lord, Supported me. When Anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy.
The fact is simple. We all have a choice–to lean on God or let the world support us. The world will always let us down. No matter how much our friends and family care–they are only human and they make mistakes. We simply can’t count on them to sustain our life force the way that God alone can.
Don’t get me wrong. Friends and family are important! Jesus had 12 BFFs that he did life with, but even Jesus asserted that we must leave them and trust only in God.
Only then will we find consolation for our weary, fearful souls.
I found this graphic to be simple, but effective. It helps me, so I’m sharing it in case your spiritual battles are equally mind-blowing.
I can’t control every subconscious fear, but I can put God in control, and listen only to his voice. When he is my foothold, then the fears can never control me.