I struggle with anxiety. I am a worrier. Sue me.
I have been told its probably hard for my husband that I deal with anxiety, and I heartily agree. But it’s even harder on me. I have also been told that Christianity must not be working because if it worked, I wouldn’t be so fearful all the time.
If my faith was authentic, I would be at peace.
People have the notion that since I am so often limping along, dragging my frazzled nerves behind me, God must not be real. If He was real, I would not be suffering so much. I have had all sorts of suggestions.
Maybe if I found peace within, I would be better off.
Maybe if I found peace from the universe, I would be mellow.
Hugged some crystals.
Or smoked pot. (This is Washington, so it is legal, which makes that suggestion a little bit less shocking.)
If I just tried something else, I would be courageous. But since I lack courage, I lack God.
I totally get why people are confused.
If you wanted a poster child for the Christian faith, you wouldn’t choose me because I give God a bad name. I do not advertise the peace that passeth understanding, I will admit that. I would make a better candidate for a prozac commercial, and I would be the before example.
This would have bothered me a few years back.
I would have felt awful that I was turning people away from Jesus with my cowardice way of living.
Back before I realized that God doesn’t need me to uphold His reputation. Before I understood that people are dead in their sins before Jesus and since a dead person can’t do anything, they need to be brought to life first. I can’t breathe life into anyone. I can barely keep my dishes done. God does the calling. The saving. The rescuing. I am to share the Gospel, but I don’t save anyone. No, you don’t want me in charge of something so important as an eternal soul. I would mess that up so bad.
For decades I thought it was my burden to bring people to Jesus, so I tap danced my way to the church pew, hoping nobody would realize I was a fraud. Because then the gig would be up, and God would suffer because I was a miserable Christian. And darn, they would leave without saying the sinner’s prayer and it would be on my shoulders. Talk about anxiety.
Back before I understood the traitor that was my own heart, I tried very hard to behave. The same heart, by the way, that would stab me in the back in a flash. The same heart that would happily lead me to total destruction and then dance a jig on my grave.
I now fully agree that Christians are hypocrites.
And worse. Which is the whole point. And at times, the mixture of sin and holiness in me feels like such a tug of war, that I can only cry out for God to step in and rescue, yet again, from myself. Which He does every time. And I have hope that bit by bit, I will be changed.
It wasn’t until I settled it deep in my soul, that Jesus is the only good in me, that I was able to be honest about my failings without tremendous guilt and shame. There is no wizard behind the curtain trying to hide anything. There is God, and He sent His Son to die in my place, and He suffered more than I will ever suffer. He is no stranger to pain. He even entered into pain with us, so its tough to shake my fist at him when I think of what He endured for me.
Forget about pretending you have it all together. Moralism is a terrible idea. “Doing all of the right things” isn’t what makes you acceptable. God loves you on my best day as much as my worst day.
The fact that I am an anxious wreck many days doesn’t mean God isn’t real.
It means I am human. It means change is slow, and while He is faithful to sanctify me, I will fail along the way. But since I am in Christ, the one thing I can rest in is knowing that He is the brave One. He is the faithful One. And He accomplished what I never will. He exchanged my sin for His righteousness. And even though I am a pathetic Christian, and freak out, I am covered.
If you think I don’t walk my talk, you are right. But I can feel God anchoring me to him as I listen to the Gospel preached, fellowship, take communion and read Scripture. I fall but I keep walking. And I can see His goodness.
I don’t need a Ted Talk.
I need something that can handle my messiness. What happens when I find myself in total chaos? I need to know my Creator is actively working in my life. The good and the bad. I make mistakes, but I know what grace is. And I learn, very humbly, to extend it to others. But the more time I spend reading His word, and let the truth of it work its way into my life, I see tiny victories. I see His goodness. I hold onto His promise that everything is in His hands, and I am safe.
I preach the truth to myself despite feeling no peace. Because I know I am on a difficult journey. I know I am being painfully shaped into His likeness, and it really hurts at times. Don’t be bummed out if I do stupid things. Don’t shake your head when I am scared spit-less. Don’t be shocked if you see my fangs.
Left to myself, I am a scoundrel.
In Christ, I am righteous and loved.
Thank God for that.
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.
About the Author: Michelle Lindsey is a Jesus-loving wife of more than two decades and a homeschooling mom of four who blogs about what happens when romance meets reality (with her adult daughter!) at Nitty Gritty Love. You can find more Nitty Gritty Love onFacebook, Twitter,Pinterest and Instagram.