Proverbs 12:25a “Anxiety in the heart….causes depression”.
I could have been a poster child for this verse. Ms. Anxiety herself unless there was a swimsuit competition, then not so much: I have nervous ankles, quaking thighs, jiggly arms and a Jell-O midsection. But anxiety alone? I was really good at that. I could whip up a bath of concern over almost anything.
A cloud in the sky meant a dangerous storm. An unexplained glance from someone meant she despised me. A simple rash meant a deadly disease. I could go on and on. There was no end to how I could take almost any life experience and dip it into nerve-racking scrutiny, which eventually painted me into the corner of agoraphobia. Anxiety, while scary, comes with adrenaline rushes, which can be addictive, but almost always end in depression. The body wasn’t meant to be constantly on full alert.
After time, I realized that the anxiety controlling my life was mine. I was aware that my lifestyle supported my anxiety; watching sad movies, listening to the same threatening news, calling everyone I knew to talk up a problem. I also didn’t eat well, stewed over the past, didn’t exercise and slept way too much. I woke up one morning almost non-functional. I didn’t want to get out of bed, bathe, dress or take care of my family. On that eye-opening day, I made a decision…that I wanted to live.
The decision was huge. My journey wasn’t easy, but with the hourly choice to move forward things began to shift. With much prayer and strenuous effort, I gradually replaced negative life patterns. At first, it’s a wrestling match, but with time it becomes more of a natural response.
I also developed strategic plan to win over my taunting thoughts of misery and judgement. I searched the Scriptures and memorized uplifting verses. I joined a Bible Study, and I read heart-cheering, faith anchoring books that inspire me. I still do.
I learned the healing benefits of shaking the scary contents of my heart out into the open so they could be aired and examined in the light. Ah…the light. What a revelatory healer it is!
What habits have YOU successfully broken?