• Open Hearts

Powering Through

Simple activities do not seem so simple anymore. Finding the motivation to go to a friend’s house is as challenging as ever. Taking tests makes me nauseated. The overwhelming stress of senior year, applications to colleges, and my job have increased my anxiety levels to an all-time high. I feel as if I am stuck in a glass box; I’m able to see all the activities and people who make me so happy, but I am unable to break through barriers to reconnect. I feel different when I’m with my friends: unable to click, feeling awkward and out of place. I’ve never felt so held back from living life and being truly joyful when I feel anxious. I lack the motivation to participate in any activity or complete any tasks--even many I enjoy.

While this has greatly affected my social life and my sanity during school, it has taken a toll on my faith as well. With the effects of COVID-19, a large majority of my youth group friends have failed to find the motivation to attend worship on Wednesday nights. Despite this, my parents still expect me to go and bring my little sister. I cannot recall how many times I felt nauseated when driving to my church and how hard I tried to not cry. I had no idea why, either. I usually enjoy my youth group. I love my youth pastor. Why did I feel so unmotivated and distraught? To this day, I cannot come up with a single reason why I felt this way; my stomach felt like it was being ripped apart and my emotions felt like a puppet, being toyed with by some despicable being. My anxiety has put barricades between me and what I used to love. My anxiety has made it impossible to go to a friend’s house without crying on the way. My anxiety has made it difficult to shower. My anxiety has made it difficult to find acceptance. My anxiety has made it difficult to be a kind sister.

Despite this personal struggle, I was able to find the motivation to push through whatever I was feeling and clean my room, go to work, and even talk to acquaintances. Whenever I overcome my worst periods of anxiety, I always feel the happiest in the end. I feel satisfied; my room looks so clean. I feel less stressed; I finished another college essay. I feel refreshed; I finally shaved my legs. Being able to break through my glass box has allowed me to live life rather than just floating through it. Personally, I have no clue how I’m able to do it. Sheer force of will? Thinking positively?

Most of these potential solutions never seem to cure my internal battles. I fail to think positively when dealing with difficult circumstances; I complain more often than the sun rises. Partly, I believe I have the drive and discipline to make it through dreaded activities, but the renewal I feel after a short period of time is credited to God.

By myself, I’m able to exist through social activity, but the shock of positivity and happiness that I soon feel has nothing to do with my determination. I truly believe God is blessing me with a cure to my anxiety, so I am able to love others and appreciate the world around me. Philippians 4:6 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” I need to have trust in God. I need to be thankful and show this thankfulness by presenting myself as his servant. I need to pray to God to cure my anxiety rather than crying it away. Set aside your fears, regrets, and anxiousness and rejoice in what you do have. Pray to God and praise him for your blessings and pray to cure your anxieties. I believe this is the first step to a prosperous life; why worry about materialistic and earthly matters when there is a much greater life you may live?

Written by Caroline G.