Self-Reliance: One of Life's Achilles' Heels
You guys know I'm not afraid to be vulnerable in front of my readers. In fact, I virtually insist upon it. I have always been very fortunate. Whenever I speak, people tend to listen. Notice, I did not say people always agree, but people do listen when I have something to say. I want to use this platform to advance the world in a positive direction and move things toward an environment that is pleasant for all people. This is why you see me talk about topics some people may tend to shy away from. I believe it is my duty to share my experiences so people can relate or learn something.
Do you ever feel as though absolutely nothing seems to be going right? Every minute of every day last week, I felt like that. I wanted to rip my hair out and scream at the top of my lungs every hour, on the hour. My anxiety was so revved up. I woke up every morning with an extreme tightness in my chest and severe nausea. Now, for those of you who suffer from anxiety, you know it's a journey. For my anxiety sufferers, you know the feelings I'm describing all too well. You know your peace of mind is a fragile state that is to be protected.
There was no singular source of my crushed spirit. I felt stress and sadness for a variety of reasons. Getting into the weeds about why I felt this way is irrelevant. The point is, most of us have been there.
In these times, it's crucial we turn our focus to God. Ultimately, there is no one on earth that will be there for you in the way God can. We often forget He knows our every thought. He knows all of our weaknesses and all of our stressors. He is always waiting for us with open arms.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV
So, why is our first response rarely to surrender everything to Him? Sure, we may pray about what's eating at us, but if we still feel anxious, it means we haven't fully given control to God. I, of all people, know the struggle of relinquishing control. I don't why, but many of us anxiety sufferers have tricked ourselves into thinking worrying somehow gives us control over the situation. We are WRONG and we need to be reminded of this.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Phillipans 4:6-7 NLT
Sometimes, self-reliance can be taken to the extreme. We must not be so autonomous that it makes us prideful. Relying on God is never a weakness and it is never something to be ashamed of. Give yourself permission to ask for help. For the love of God (LITERALLY), give yourself a break. We are so hard on ourselves. Some of us have more sympathy for random people than we have for ourselves. It's time to change the narrative. It should no longer be: "Me, Myself, and I." From now on, let's try: "The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit."
While we're at it, let's go easier on each other as well. I am disgusted at the lack of empathy I see every day. People can be so self-righteous about topics they know nothing about. How about the art of listening, anyone down to try that for a change? The world does not get better from you making assumptions about things you haven't experienced firsthand. The world can only get better from building relationships with people from all walks of life and listening to their stories. Ironically, this circles back to my point about self-reliance. Don't be so independent that you can't ask for help from God and don't be so unconnected that you can't ask others about things you don't understand.
Coping with stress and anxiety is hard, especially in this "every man or woman for themselves" culture. I hope we can all remind each other that we are not alone and God intended for us to rely on him. Let's stop perpetuating the lie that we are meant to do it all on our own. Let's give ourselves a softer place to fall when we're down and let's be kind to ourselves. Lastly, I want you all to know this: you are not weak if you need God's help, you are simply human.