Anxiety and Change

I’m currently reading a devotional plan through the Bible app from YouVersion. It’s called “The Invisible War” by Pastor Rick Warren. Today’s reading was titled Change Requires New Thinking. It wasn’t a long devo, but it said so much – to me anyway.

A little over a year ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD, Severe Anxiety, & Depression. I struggled with this diagnosis for awhile before really talking about it to others outside of therapist, my husband, my best friend, and God. The PTSD is a result from years of being sexually abused as a kid and then, years later, being raped by another soldier when I was in the Army. I won’t go into all of the details, but that right there is A LOT to deal with and work through. Not only do I have PTSD from that, but the after effects are the anxiety & depression.

I wish these things were something I could change. Some days it takes every ounce of strength I have to get out of bed. Something I wish I could make others understand is that I don’t choose this. It doesn’t affect my faith in God. It doesn’t affect the fact that I know God has me in the palm of His hand. In fact, I’m 100% convinced that if it weren’t for my faith in God, I’d have been dead a long time ago.

I’ve worked with me therapist for 5+ years at this point. Over the last 2-3 years, we’ve been digging into healing my very wounded heart. With that has brought a lot of changes – positive ones. A long time ago, I refused to remain a victim, but rather be a survivor. Because I decided to make that decision, I’m convinced that Satan tries to suck me back into victim mentality. In the devotional today, Rick Warren writes, “The battle to change the defects in your life is always a mental battle.”

Warren later in the devo says, “Defects are often strengths being misused.” Every time I get to a point of feeling strong and like I’m near something big that God has planned for me, it seems like I lose my way and then Satan sneaks in and drags me down and I don’t even realize it until I end up on a dark place.

I confess that lately, I have been super inconsistent in spending time with God through His Word and my prayers have been more self-serving than actual prayer. We have 32 days left of 2017. There’s still time for me to make my daily commitment to God become a consistent part of my day. There’s still time to start giving attention to the things I told God I would earlier this year. Warren also wrote in this devo, “The time you spend intentionally studying God’s word and in prayer is the spiritual renewal in your mind.” This statement grabbed my attention.

Last week, I had a car accident – nothing terrible. No one was hurt or killed. It’s 2 cars that have some damage. I almost immediately went into a very dark place after the accident. A place, I’m sure, I wouldn’t have visited if I’d been consistently and intentionally spending time with God every day.

The mental battles are hard. That’s where our battles to change are lost or won. The diagnoses I have are just an added challenge to that. Yes, I will be taking medication for this everyday for the rest of my life, but that doesn’t mean I have to fall back into the victim status/mentality. Philippians 2:5 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” New thinking comes, for me, with the help of Jesus and also the things I need to do everyday to help battle the PTSD, anxiety, & depression. I know that God is using, can use, and will use all of these challenges I have for good. God never intended for any of this to happen to me. God never intended for evil to permeate the world as it has and is. Unfortunately, Satan is very real and very much at work. Evil does exist. God takes the lemons and makes lemonade. He take the crap that happens to us and uses it for good. I want to live into that. I want to fully live into the calling that God has for me. First, change requires new thinking. That’s the big battle.

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