1. Be Still my Soul hymn lyrics (Hymn # 124)
4. 2 Timothy 1:7 - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
7. Isaiah 41:10 - Fear thou not: for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
8. Courage = Healing + Action + Grace (amazing references in this talk)
I have anxiety. It's something I don't talk about too often but I think I better start because if we don't talk about, how are we going to raise awareness?
The first time I remember having a panic attack was when I was eight years old. My parents required me to take swimming lessons. I hated swimming lessons, my teacher would force me to go into the deep end of the pool and I literally pictured everything that could possibly go wrong. I thought I was going to drown to death and die. (The way I look at it, those with anxiety have a strength - it's called a wild imagination haha!) One summer morning my parents came into my room bright and early to help me get ready for swimming lessons. I felt sick to my stomach, this was the day we were required to jump off the diving board, I had never done that before and I dreaded the journey that lay in front of me this day. Well I went, not by my own will or consent. I ended up jumping off and it became one of my favorite activities. It was the fear of the unknown that was set before me that day that made me feel trapped and limited my ability to think clearly.
To this day I still experience anxiety. As my testimony has really become strengthened and anchored in my Savior Jesus Christ, it has affected me less and occurred much less frequently. I remember a time where my testimony was growing at a rapid pace and I thought my anxiety had been cured forever. As much as I believe in the atonement and that Christ can take away our pain, my anxiety comes back from time to time. I hate it, if you have ever experienced anxiety before, you know how miserable it is. Words can't explain how trapped and hopeless you feel. It's as if you have no control over the situation and you have no control over your faith no matter how much faith you desire to have.
I've learned that anxiety usually enters my life for a reason.
Heavenly Father needed me to walk on my own to test my strength and see if I would seek Him in my times of trial and grief. Sometimes it will appear as if I have been forgotten and Heavenly Father's peace has left me, but it's an opportunity for me to turn my heart to my Savior Jesus Christ and to choose to love Heavenly Father with my own free will. He wants me to prove that I will be faithful no matter what I face. Anxiety is actually a gift if you think about it, it's an opportunity to show your love, faith, and devotion to Heavenly Father. Will you still choose Him no matter what pain you go through.
While I don't like to refer to anxiety as a weakness because often it is a chemical imbalance in the brain you have no control over, I refer to it as a weakness for the fact that I can't ever get through it on my own. When I'm left in the dark and feeling alone it reminds me of
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all me that humble themselves before me:for if they humble themselves before me; and have faith in me, then I will make weak things become strong unto them."
It's a weakness that has me calling upon Heavenly Father. I need my Savior Jesus Christ to bring peace and comfort to my heart. I can't do it alone. He knows my weaknesses and He wants me to remember that I am absolutely nothing without Him. (Alma 26:12) My faith comes from Him. I have to remember that I don't know all of His plans, but the only thing He asked me to do is to trust Him. Heavenly Father loves each of us so very much, He doesn't want us to be in pain forever but He allows us to experience pain to grow and change and become like Him. He has so many great plans for you personally and sometimes pain is the only way to get from point A to point B.
What if we were more open in talking about anxiety and we helped society to not think of it as a burden and limitation, but as a blessing and an opportunity?