Anxiety can come from many sources but is almost always connected to fear. Part of our brain is constantly scanning for danger and connections, or evidence, to prove that danger is real. For those struggling with anxiety this process can get stuck, creating a cycle of fear. Anxiety manifests differently for all of us and isn’t as easy to spot as you might think. As fearfully and wonderfully made human beings, we have a nervous system that was created to be grounded in peace but is often deregulated with stress. This can look like rage (fight), panic (flight), or even a checked out shutdown that can appear as calm (freeze).

In my own life anxiety manifested itself as extreme control and calm while underneath the surface so much activation was occurring. I’m a survivor of some pretty horrible stuff from childhood. The fear created in all of that lived silently within as I worked hard to present a different reality into the world. In my fear-filled mind, life was safer that way.

Learning to understand that the fear running my nervous system was not actually based in my current reality helped me begin the practice of recognizing and restoring internal safety. For those of us with anxiety, every day requires practicing radical self-care and soul-care; replacing fear with the trusted- filled peace gifted by God as he restores and reshapes us into who he created us to be. There is hope.

What can you do to remind yourself that you are safe during anxious times? Close your eyes and allow a memory of a place where you felt peace to come to mind. Invite Jesus to be with you in that space.

When someone is hurting or brokenhearted, the Eternal moves in close and revives him in his pain. Psalm 34:18