Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer has been married for twenty-three years to her high school sweetheart, Paul. She is the mother of three children, Paul IV (22), Samuel (6), and Grace (6). She also has six babies residing in heaven. It is those six tiny souls who have propelled her into women’s ministry. She is a conference speaker and author of the book Nothing to Hold but Hope (one woman's journey through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility). Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
I’m not always certain what triggers anxiety in me. It’s usually the little things rather than the big things. It can come from a noise too loud or a light too bright. Regardless, it comes. Like a fast train headed down the tracks, it has full intent of taking me on a journey. My heart beats fast while my thoughts focus on nothing else but the feeling of a war waged deep within.
I remember being a little girl when it started. I would wake my mom up in the middle of the night and tell her, “I have the feelings in my throat.” What I couldn’t communicate at that young age was I felt as if I couldn’t swallow. It was as if something was blocking my airway, but nothing really was. To this day, if a bad panic attack sets in, swallowing is difficult.
I’ve often felt ridiculous about being plagued with anxiety. I’m healthy, my family is healthy, we have nothing to complain about. Everyone goes through the mud at times, but we always reemerge and clean up well. Many times I’ve thought, It’s a shame there are people in hospice care dealing with life better that I can. The whole thing causes guilt. And guilt does nothing more than lead to deeper anxiety.
I’ve asked God the famous question, “why?” The truth is, I’m not sure He’s ever answered specifically. In fact, I’m not sure He’s ever answered that question at all. I’ve pretty much determined the “why’s” of life are for Him alone and really none of my business. It’s the “How?”question He tends to answer best and most often.
When I ask, “How?” He answers, “Jesus.”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Jesus is the how. In every situation Jesus is the answer. Yes, I know, it sounds like a typical cliché Christian remedy with no layer of depth and not one admission to open mindedness. Welcome to the life of a Jesus Lover who knows God can beat any enemy, even anxiety. Having this belief system most certainly doesn’t make me any better than anyone else, and everyone who knows me will tell you I’m nowhere near perfect. The only place my Jesus lover self has an edge is where hope lives.
I’m a hope seeker, and I go to my knees to find it – To find Him.
I don’t battle anxiety nearly the way I used to. However, some days I feel all the old feelings. Today, I’ve been thinking about you who might be feeling panic and anxiety. I’m thinking of you who are waving a white flag of surrender because you feel you have zero control. Well, I’m no medical professional and when I feel it rising up, I often don’t believe I have any control either. And though some may disagree, I don’t think medication is off the table when you’re having proper counseling and medical supervision. However, I need to tell you this: In the middle of your darkest battle, BE A HOPE SEEKER. Don’t stop looking for hope, and don’t let your hope be called anything other than Jesus. Some days are harder than others and if we’re not careful, those days can dissuade us from living our purpose. Anxiety does nothing but work to distract us from hope. It makes us feel as if there’s something terribly wrong, when in actuality, God sent His only Son to make everything right. No matter what today holds, our ending is victorious.
When we allow anxiety to filter our surroundings, hope becomes distant and freedom doesn’t register a definition. If we are going to battle anxiety with faith, then we must be willing to ask God for wisdom. We have to be patient, ready to take a deep breath and ask the question, how? In most cases, the question “Why?” leads to nothing more than distraction.
How do you deal with anxiety?