Not to get all personal up in here (wait, really? This whole blog has more personal stuff on it than I ever thought I’d share with the wide world of cyberspace), but I’ve struggled with anxiety for a good portion of my life. It set in hard during part 2 of our love story, complete with physical signs of shortness of breath, a tight chest, and tension headaches. Having been a person who held on tightly to perfectionism and whose expectations for myself were always high (who are we kidding, I still struggle with those same obsessions), I was continually disappointed by my own inability to measure up. My sin was always a stumbling block, and yet I could never muster up the self discipline to knock it out. Add to that that I had just lost the love of my life, and I pretty much had to be admitted. My anxiety was controlling my life to the point that I started taking an antidepressant to assuage it.
I always used to think of God’s grace as a one time deal. Jesus died on the cross for my sins and once I believed him it was up to me to prove that I was indeed good enough for His sacrifice. If I truly believed then I needed to be in alignment with all the rules that come with it. I didn’t understand that grace is for this Christian life, not just for eternal security.
Grace is because we can’t possibly follow all of God’s laws to perfection. God in His holiness wouldn’t be just if he allowed unholy people like ourselves into his presence without some justification. The only way we can be justified is by Christ’s perfect life and sacrificial death to take the punishment for our sins. But it doesn’t stop there. Every struggle and sin we have in this life we can lay at the foot of the cross and trust God to continue to redeem it for His glory as we stumble along this Christian life. It’s not up to me to prove anything because no matter how hard I try, nothing can be more for me that what Jesus already did.
God revealed His love for me in new ways at a time in my life when I was in the most stubborn place in my relationship with Him. He showed His grace and faithfulness to me in a way that I never should have deserved. He held me in the palm of His hand when I was holding onto my own self pity. The more I recognized Him in my life, the more my anxiety eased and I no longer needed to rely on medication to help me cope.
As I realized God’s got this (more theologically known as Sovereignty), I could let go of my obsession with getting it right every time. His grace changed me. Instead of trying to earn His forgiveness, I could rest in the fact that He had extended forgiveness to me without me even asking. I could live a life in response to His great love for me and that makes me more like Christ. Do I mess up? Um yes, sin is still very real in my life. I still struggle with deep-seated anxieties that threaten to control me, but I can rest in His love and purposes for me.
~ I’ve mentioned my obsession with butterflies before, but I love how they remind us not only of our new identity in Christ, but of the freedom we have to spread our wings and live for Him every day. To release those worries and anxieties and cast our cares on Him. To share some fragile and fleeting beauty to those who might be living in a lost and dying world. I’m loving this new card set that I recently added to Birds and Berry Studio ~
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