3 Things Love Taught Me About Anxiety

I’m wondering if “home” has less to do with the place and more to do with the conditions of our heart.

Many years, I spent running from house to house. Away from myself was the goal. Trying desperately to detach myself from the things I had done and the God who said He loved me anyway. In fact, there are moments still….deep in the trenches of anxiety, when I feel a desperate urge to leave. Anywhere….the next room over, on a walk outside – any place where “that feeling” would not, could not stay with me.

If it wasn’t running…..it was a beverage, a person, a shopping mall, or a doughnut. If I couldn’t get away, then I would try to escape the feeling by replacing it. But what was “the feeling” exactly? Was “it” the heart palpitations, shaky hands and flushed cheeks? Or were those just the warning signs…..like a fire alarm alerting the soul awake. Something is burning and it’s time to GET OUT!

Will water, alone, put out a soul fire? The destructive kind. The raging wildfires you see on tv. We know fires grow bigger with oxygen – so those attempting to speak life into me just aggravated the flames. I’d seen that smothering it had worked before – temporarily at least. So I continued doing that.

But one day God would send me someone, who instead of trying to put the fire out, came with marshmallows and 2 chairs. He said “I will sit here with you until the fire reduces to ashes.”

1- You can’t hide a fire

Have you thought about that? What hiding a fire might look like? Arms stretched out wide, standing in front of it in an attempt to hide the growing flames. Or maybe putting something over the top of it…..to cover it. Move it to a closet? A raging fire cannot be hidden, covered or moved. If anxiety is a fire burning inside of us, the same must be true. Our failing attempts at hiding it, covering it or trying to place it someplace else will only get us burnt time and time again as it rages inside of us.

2- You can’t ignore a fire

When that fire alarm goes off in the house and there is indeed a fire burning, do we turn the alarm off and go back to bed? Do we pretend to our neighbors that it was a false alarm and everything inside is just fine? Why do we do that with our anxiety and pain? Eventually, the smoke will billow out and the flames with start to consume those around us.

3- We must sit with it

I’m thinking of the wildfires that have consumed the beautiful state from which I was raised. Colorado wildfires have devastated many communities and when thinking about the devastation, I can’t help but look to the firefighters and how they handle flames of such magnitude. When they are out of control and “spreading like wildfire.” They simply try to contain it and watch as it gets smaller over time. It’s a process, but they certainly don’t throw some water on it and leave! Sitting with our loved ones in their pain, acknowledging it, and letting them know that they are not the fire. The fire does not define them. They are the Forrest. Something people travel from every corner of the world to see. A masterpiece, created by God’s own hands. Little by little, love will look through the pain and see the person.

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