Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
— Proverbs 3:5–6
I have serious anxiety credentials. From my childhood, well into adulthood, anxiety and fear manifested themselves in a variety of ways: stomach aches, a borderline eating disorder, perfection and control issues related to school and a lot of other things, panic attacks, a fear of heights, lots of worry, and that is just what pops into my head right now! You may be thinking, “This chick is a wreck! Why would I read anything she has to say about anxiety?” You would have been right, but please note: I wrote in past tense.
I’m willing to reveal this because I’ve been freed from so much, I want to tell what our Lord can do. Fear and anxiety are powerful because they have us constantly running, from whatever it is we fear or are anxious about. But God gives us antidotes. He gives us courage to look the feared thing in the face and fight. Often freedom comes when we experience, or are willing to experience, the very things we fear. Sometimes, however, he calls us just to trust him and surrender completely.
In early 2001 I made a commitment to pray and read the Bible daily. That time with God put me face to face with him, and I grew in knowledge and awe of who he is and what he can do. Through confession I grew in knowledge and awareness of who I am and what I can’t do. God told me, “Don’t worry. You’re small, but I’m big.” In late November of that same year, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. My time with God’s Word and in praise and confession led to a response that surprised even me: I told God, “If you are going to use me, you can use me in a wheelchair.” It was freeing and wonderful — I was genuinely not afraid. As it turns out, my case is very mild, but I didn’t know that then.
Sometimes we just have to let go of fear and surrender to God, but we must know the one into whose hands we are placing our trust. I have found that as I have done that, it is not only easy to trust, but a wonderful adventure and the only sensible way to live.