Here I am 17, young and excitable. I’m at that point in life where everything is on the verge of change. I’m going to graduate, become an adult, maybe go to college, or get married; who knows? Though my future is uncertain I am able to go sleep at night knowing God is in control.
This is something that used to be an extremely dreaded and difficult thing in my life. Before I tell you all about my story of sleepless nights and how I overcame my fear let me tell you a little more about myself.
Raised in a wonderful Christian home, I am the youngest of three sisters. I have great friends, great family, an amazing boyfriend, and no reason to complain. God never ceases to show me His goodness and has amazed me with his mercy on my family and me.
When I was younger I enjoyed playing sports, dancing, Basketball, soccer and I truly enjoyed my many years as an equestrian. I was no doubt a tomboy and an expert at making mud pies. I am homeschooled and have been my entire life. I’m a true bookworm and a fan of all things green.
I accepted Christ into my heart when I was 8 years old, but rededicated my life to Him when I was 15. It was then that I started truly walking with the Lord and feeling his presence in my life.
My struggle began when I was 13. It came out of nowhere.
I was an active church kid. I went to an only girl’s small group and weekly Sunday service. I was a good girl, with good friends, and for the most part, I obeyed my parents.Life went from simple, to complicated, in just one night. It was fear that got to me. The unsettling feeling would creep into my heart at every given opportunity. Thoughts that I felt I couldn’t control started rushing through my head. Thoughts like: “I am so ugly.” “I’m so stupid.” “God doesn’t want me.” “I am such a disappointment.”
I didn’t push the thoughts away; instead, I held onto them. I considered them and dwelt on them until I believed them. Then it happened, I had my first ever anxiety attack. It was right as I laid down for sleep. It was awful. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I thought I was sick. My chest felt tight, my heart racing, and my entire body shaking. The worse part of all would be how trapped I would feel. It felt like I couldn’t escape my very own thoughts.
After that night it seemed to get worse and worse. I was having anxiety almost every night. I would gag and sometimes I would even throw up. I was very quiet about my struggle and didn’t even share it with my parents. I was afraid. Afraid of what people would think. Afraid of accepting my problem. Afraid. So days became months and months became years.
I was 15 and my struggle was still constant. I had a built up anger towards myself, that turned into resentment towards God. I would cry about my struggle, but I was mostly angry. It was so strange because in the daytime I was happy and carefree, but as soon as the sun began to set the dread would set in. Something needed to change, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. God and I were good, and that was all.
Our relationship was surface level.
At this point, I was done.
Done with silently struggling, done with feeling afraid, I was done giving in.
I decided I had to do something. The best decision really. The problem was I didn’t look to God’s word, I looked to the internet. I started listening to calming music before bed, drinking tea, breathing exercises, and a special anxiety blend of essential oils. Nothing worked.
Done with silently struggling, done with feeling afraid, I was done giving in. I decided I had to do something. The best decision really. The problem was I didn’t look to God’s word, I looked to the internet. I started listening to calming music before bed, drinking tea, breathing exercises, and a special anxiety blend of essential oils. Nothing worked.
One night in 2015 I went to youth group. I had never been before and my first impression wasn’t great. The couches seemed gross, and the crowd slightly odd. I brought my Bible, a journal, and my favorite pen.
As the study took place I wrote several pages of notes. I had no distractions, no negative thoughts, and felt completely peaceful. Worship took place that evening and I could feel God’s presence. The room was dimly lit and full of kids, but It felt as if it was just me and God. I remember going home and opening my Bible. I opened to Psalm 4:8 “In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” I laid in bed and whispered the verse repeatedly.
That was all it took. I was able to enjoy my first night of peaceful sleep in what felt like an eternity. My anxiety started getting better and better until God gave me victory over my struggle in early 2016. I wouldn’t change a thing because going through this experience truly shaped my life. I am who I am today because of my anxiety, and I am madly in love with Jesus because he helped me through this trial.
A true testimony of how God works all things together for our good. Now don’t get me wrong I still have moments of fear, and every now and then I will have an anxiety attack, but it no longer controls my life.
I know God is in control, and he is my ultimate peace. Don’t get discouraged, because in this life we will always be facing trials big and small. Remember God is bigger than your: anxiety, fear, failure, sin, and pain.
More from Rachel King at her Dear Rachel Blog.