The rumbling...do you hear it? Can you feel it? You are standing in the grocery store, or heading to the movies, or just about to sit down in church, and here they come...the Anxiety Elephants...
That is about the closest thing I can use to describe the feeling of an anxiety attack. It comes out of nowhere, and it literally feels like a herd of elephants jumping up and down on your chest partying like it is 1999! It may feel like a party to them, but it does not feel that way to you. It feels more like being paralyzed in fear, not being able to move...one...tiny...inch.
If you have never dealt with this, thank God right now!
If you have ever dealt with this, or maybe you are right now, just know you are not alone.
Several years ago, I was in a place in my own life paralyzed with anxiety. I will be very honest with you and tell you that I thought anxiety was not a real thing. When people would tell me they dealt with anxiety and needed prayer, I did not respond with the compassion of Jesus. I would tell them they needed to stop whining and complaining. I would even say to just pray harder and trust God more. I didn’t know what they were experiencing until one day, that all changed.
I was hiding this very struggle with a smile always on my face. I was terrified of people finding out. I thought these Anxiety Elephants, as I like to call them, only came after me. I didn’t know that there were others struggling with the same thing and desperately wanting to stomp them out.
I hid them because I was worried people would respond to me the way I had responded to so many. I was already telling myself those things:
"Just pray harder Caris"
"Trust God more Caris"
"Stop whining Caris"
"Suck it up Caris"
"Stop going crazy Caris"
Hiding can only get you so far. I even tried to hide from God...you know that shame and fear thing that Adam and Eve dealt with? Yeah, I was right there with them.
But you know what? Even though I thought I was keeping it hidden from God, He knew right where I was at in my struggle with anxiety, and He was there with me through it all. He came looking for me. He came to give me help. He didn't want me to feel as though I needed to hide FROM Him. He knew my answer to overcoming the Anxiety Elephants was to hide IN Him.
I finally came out of hiding to my Good, Good Father and the most wonderful thing happened...freedom!
He began to show me that I had these triggers that would open the flood gates for the Anxiety Elephants to come and the rumbling and partying to begin.
Once I realized what some of these triggers were: fear, stress, lack of sleep, negative thoughts about myself were just a few of mine, He began to give me tools to stop these triggers.
By using these tools, I would be able to stomp out the Anxiety Elephants and stop the party before it would start.
I still feel the rumbles at times and hear them coming, BUT, I am equipped to stop them. You can be equipped too! He wants you to overcome and be free...that is not just for me!
One of the most powerful tools that He has given us to stomp out these Anxiety Elephants, is His Word. That tells me He knew this was going to be a struggle for many of us.
A few of the most helpful scriptures for me during these times have been the following:
Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon youand learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all
understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Friend, if you are ready to come out of hiding...if you are ready to stop the rumbles...if you are ready to stop being paralyzed by the horrible feeling of these Anxiety Elephants and stomp them out, this is your time.
It is a process, but you are worth it to take that first step.
If you need help, I am here! Reach out and I will be your encourager as you take those steps.
If God can help me stomp out these Anxiety Elephants, I know He can and will do the same for you!
We are on this journey together so let's do this!