Becoming Grateful

Psalm 28:7 (ESV)

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
    and with my song I give thanks to him.

 

‘Tis the season of pure anxiety!

Money, crowds, money, family, money, Christmas lists, money, Christmas music, money. MONEY.

Both sides of my family (myself, included) are going through some really hard financial situations. Life has happened, and right now we’re not sure what God is doing. What we thought was an answered prayer for my side of the family ended up becoming a bit of a nightmare.

I came across this verse as I was trying to figure out what to write for this post, and it really stuck out to me. Although right now is a tough and scary time for my family, God is still our shield. He is our Provider, and He will never not take care of us.

Sometimes that means making sacrifices. This year, my family and I are giving up Christmas. Instead of spending money on each other, we’re going to have a nice small dinner and family time. And I’m more than okay with this! Not only does it take the pressure off of having to spend money that we don’t have, but it brings the focus back to the true meaning of Christmas. The birth of our Savior.

“In Him my heart trusts, and I am helped.” Life isn’t always going to be easy, and the Bible warns us of that. But we have help. And when we put our full trust in that help, He will intervene. Lately, I’ve had to put every ounce of trust in Him. I’ve broken down emotionally, I’ve lost sleep, I’ve worried about my family. But I know He will get us through it. I also know that it’s on His watch, and not ours, which is a hard thing to grasp and trust in.

Needless to say, my anxiety has been tested quite a bit in the last month. But you know what has helped me see through all this? Gratitude.

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Every time I feel myself getting worried, I think back to how God has gotten us through every difficult time, and how now will be no different. I think of everything He has blessed me with: a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, food and water, family, love, and so on. We have so much to be thankful for. When you look around at all that He has provided for you, your heart becomes so full that you realize you don’t need anything else. You have it all in Him. And He gives all year around!

I know Christmas is a hard time for a lot of people. My family and I struggle every year. There is more pressure this time of year than any other time. It can be the most painful time of year, for some. And I want those people to know that it’s okay. It’s not about the material gifts, but about Jesus beginning His life here on earth. The life that ended in salvation and victory.

Advice tip #27: We have everything we need in Christ, and more. Our sins have been forgiven and our lives made new. We have a refuge, a Comforter, a Provider, a Healer, a Savior. We have a Father, and He has already given us the greatest gift of all. If this is the hardest season for you, you’re not alone. There is so much more to give than material things. You can give love, friendship, and hope. You can give good news to someone who has yet to receive it. That news is that Jesus was born to die for our sins. That we are forgiven, loved beyond comprehension, and cared for in every way possible.

No matter what you’re going through, I hope this Christmas is special for you. I pray that you feel God’s love and that He opens your eyes to all the gifts He provides.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

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Anxious Beauty

 

We all have insecurities, both inward and outward. I’m insecure about my nose, and my social anxiety. I’ve always been insecure about the way I look. I avoided the mirror all through high school, because I didn’t want to know how I looked all day, because I knew I wasn’t going to be happy with it, regardless.

As I mentioned in my testimony, God was completely out of the picture during that time. I did not see myself in a good light. All I saw was ugly, hurt, and worry. The times I would look in the mirror I would get stuck picking at every part of myself: My fried hair, the way my eyes are shaped, my big nose, my acne, how people must have thought of me all day and how much of an awkward weirdo I was. I truly hated myself and it radiated. It reflected on my attitude, my faith and lack thereof, my actions, and my appearance.

I’ve gone through many phases when it comes to my looks, in attempt to hide my insecurities of my nagging anxiety telling me I wasn’t enough, few of them being appropriate. Ratchet, I think is the word. I finally cleaned up a year and a half ago when I found myself in God again. I wanted to because I saw a different version of myself, and no one was taking me seriously because of the way I looked (and acted). I wore far too revealing everything without a care in the world, hoping that it hid the unacceptance of myself. I was acting and dressing in no way that pleased God. The more I seek Him, the better I want to represent Him. So I cleaned myself up, started wearing appropriate clothes, changed my attitude, and started smiling more.

When I let God back in, He showed me who I could be, including what I looked like. What I saw was the complete opposite of what I was. But the more I grew my faith, the more of that person I became, and I started to see myself through His eyes, instead of mine.

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Our anxiety makes us beautiful, because it points us to our Creator. When you step aside and see your anxiety as something God gave you, and embrace it, it ignites this light in you that is reflecting Him, and you will shine.

God loves us no matter what we look like, no matter what kind of illness we may or may not have. The King of the universe thinks that each of us are uniquely beautiful. That means each of us have our own beauty that He created. And when you really think about that, that’s kind of insane. We are insanely beautiful!

Isaiah 64:8 (ESV)

But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
    we are the clay, and you are our potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

 

Advice Tip #26: Be kind to yourself, treat yourself as if you’re someone else and know that you are uniquely beautiful. Try to smile at yourself, respect yourself, and focus on all the good things about you, the things you like about the person you see. See yourself how you think your Creator sees you, as the beautiful work of art you truly are.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

Self-Harm

The first time I thought about self-harming was when I was 14. I remember contemplating on how bad it might hurt and if it would make me feel better. I tried scratching myself with a pair of tweezers because even though I was curious, I was still scared to actually do it with something like a razor blade. I just wanted to “scratch the surface,” just to see what it might feel like.

By this point, I was in 8th grade and had been bullied both online and in school for two years. God was only a fraction of my life, as I only went to church and FCA because my two closest friends at the time went. Even with them by my side, I felt alone, because I was pretending. I was pretending to feel God’s love when I was around them. I was pretending like I was okay, like I was happy and nothing had hurt me.

Self-harm stayed in the back of my mind as I entered my freshman year of high school. The more my two friends and I grew apart, the louder the thoughts got.  It wasn’t until my junior year that I actually self-harmed for the first time. I had been in a very immature  relationship that fueled my anxiety and depression literally more than anything, and I grew apart from my friends out of utter fear of losing him.

Before I give some details, I would like to say that this guy is a good guy. He really is. We were two immature kids who hurt each other in different ways, by different immature actions. Since graduation, I have reached out to him and apologized and wished him the best.

I made the mistake of falling in love at the age of 15. He was my first boyfriend, and I was very attached to him. I didn’t want any other girl to have what I had with him. I didn’t want any other girl to feel his love. I became very controlling and extremely depressed when things got out of control between us. We split up just a few days after my 17th birthday.

This is was the first time I felt the pain I felt when I lost my grandmother a few years prior. That heavy wall crumbled on top of me again, and this time I didn’t want to get up.

The first time I self-harmed, I was sitting on my bedroom floor. Earlier that day at school, a girl who had spent the entire semester with her friends making my life a true living hell, triggered a part of me I didn’t know existed by using a class assignment to share what she had done with the boy I was hurting over, and she and her friend (who sat right beside me) were laughing as the teacher read the paper, oblivious to what was going on right in front of her. To this day, I’ve never felt that kind of anger. To this day, I still tremble when I think back to that moment in class ten years ago. And to this day, I wish more than anything that I had collected my things and left school for the last time to homeschool instead, as my mother had offered due to this girl and her friends attacking me both online and in school.

I took the razor from my bathroom, sat down on the floor, closed my eyes, and finally did it. This became my only escape. It was my only release, and for the first time in years, I felt like I was in control again. Every time they took a jab at me, it was okay, because I would go home and let it out later. It was my only distraction from everything that was going on.

 

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John 16:33 (ESV)

33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Harming myself did not make any of my problems go away. All it did was give me scars and worry my loved ones. It was a very short, very temporary fix. And in no way pleasing to God.

When I stopped self-harming, I sought relief from many other harmful things that I could do instead. It was during this time that God actually spoke to me. No louder than a gentle whisper, He told me He put me here for a reason. My life was more than this pain I didn’t know what to do with.

He warns us of our tribulations. He tells us we will struggle in life. But He also tells us that even though we will have trouble, He is still in control. He is in control of everything that happens to us. I was empty of this promise. I was unaware, completely oblivious to His grace, love, and guidance.

There are so many other ways to cope with your pain besides hurting yourself. If you seek God, He will open the floodgates of love, forgiveness, purpose, and strength. He will put people in your life who will love and help you. He will put His arms around you, love you unconditionally, and show you how much you are worth to Him.

Since that day He spoke to me, I haven’t had the slightest desire to self-harm. Is my life completely free of pain? No. But now I have a true escape, one that heals and doesn’t destroy. One that loves and doesn’t hate. One that provides life, and not death.

Advice Tip #25: If you struggle with self-harm and feel like there is nothing out there that can free you, I’m here to tell you that there is a God who loves you and cares about you and hurts when you hurt. There is an eternal hope for us to abide in, a love that can heal our wounds. You can be saved from this life. You can come out of this dark time as a new person in Christ. Self-harm cannot take your pain away forever. God can turn it into purpose.

If you are someone who is struggling, please feel free to reach out to me. I will be more than happy to show you love, be your friend, and point you in the right direction.

You are loved. You are cared for. You are worth so much more than these scars. And He is waiting to show you, just like He showed me.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

 

 

Good Enough

Too many people, with and without anxiety, feel like they’re not good enough. Whether it’s your significant other, your family or friends, far too many people experience the dreadful feeling of worthlessness. When you have anxiety, though, the two can become a tragic duo.

Since middle school, I’ve struggled with not feeling good enough. I stressed and worried about what I wore, said, and did all day, every day. High school didn’t make it any better, as I struggled even more with self-worth. I felt like no one wanted me around. No one wanted to be my friend, and it fueled my anxiety like no other. What did I do wrong? Why was I just not enough for these people? I tried so hard to make friends just to be ignored or made fun of. What was wrong with me?

I didn’t know Christ’s love. I was dull, broken, and empty. I wasn’t letting Him in, because I knew that meant change, and change scared the living daylights out of me. All I wanted was to be good enough for the people around me.

I’m here today to tell you that the people around you will never define your self-worth. Ever. When it comes to your worth, only God can show you. Only God can fill you with so much love that you overflow with self-worth, because you know who you are in Him. That you are His, a daughter of the King.

Luke 12:6-7 (ESV)

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?[a] And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

The Word spells it out, plain as day. We are worth so much more than we know. We were created in the image of a King. The King of all kings created us. We are highly valuable. Anxiety and depression do a good job of hiding that.

Having a mental illness does not hinder your self-worth, but can add to it. Isn’t that something? The world does so well at deeming mental illness as something “wrong” with us. There’s nothing “wrong” with us. God does not create “wrong.” God does not create mistakes. He does not love you any less. He does not see your anxiety and depression when He looks at you, but the beautiful creation you are. He sees the real us. The us buried underneath a thousand voices telling us how messed up we are.

Those voices mean absolutely nothing. Because they come from the Enemy. The Enemy wants to hide your self-worth behind lies, lies, and more lies. But God can clear every one of those voices with His truth and love.

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Matthew 6:26-30 (ESV)

26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Is this not a truly beautiful passage? I love these verses. If God pays attention to even the flowers, most of which are never even seen, why wouldn’t take even more care of us? This passage is such a graceful reminder of His love and care for us. He wouldn’t love us like that if we were just worthless beings, existing for nothing. No, He loves us so much, finds so much worth in us, put so much work into us and our creation that worthlessness isn’t even an option.

Advice Tip #24: You are good enough. More than enough. You are an heiress to the King and His kingdom. You were created in the image of Christ, and nothing, nothing, can ever change that. Nothing on this earth can take away your worth. Nothing can cover Christ’s love for you. His love for us is so limitless, so abundant and constant, that we cannot even fathom it. When you feel yourself slipping into the notions of worthlessness, I recommend going back and reading these verses and reminding yourself that for God, you are beyond enough. You are so enough, that He sent His only son to die for us. Jesus died for you. For me, for all of us. But to each of us, we have been given a unique gift of love and worth. You are worth more than anything in this world. No matter what anyone says. I know it. God knows it. And you should know it, too.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

God-Confidence

We’ve all heard of confidence, but very few actually have it. We search for confidence in our looks, our jobs, our partners, our friends. It takes work to build ourselves up, especially when it’s so easy to look down on ourselves and whatever we think is wrong with us.

Anxiety can easily hinder our confidence. It can make us sit out on events and say no to invitations. It can make us feel unworthy, alone, and unaccepted.

What if instead of trying so hard to build up a worldly self-confidence, we sought out a heavenly God-confidence?

What is God-confidence and how is it different than self-confidence? Self-confidence is focused on ourselves and what we can achieve, while God-confidence is knowing who God is and what He can achieve.

You can be confident in yourself, but you can also be confident in God, and how He has created us in His image and has given us our own unique gifts that are to be used for His glory. You can have confidence in the fact that He loves you and cares about you. You can fully trust Him. You will build self-confidence when you first seek God-confidence.

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Whether it’s your looks, relationship status, work, whatever is hurting your confidence, God can completely turn it around with His truth.

There’s nothing I can do about my anxiety or depression on my own. You have to learn to see yourself how He sees you. Anxiety and all. You are loved.

What else can we be God-confident about? His provisions, His endless love, mercy, and grace. We can be confident that He is in control and that nothing happens without a divine purpose. We can be confident in knowing that He is our true Father who loves us unconditionally more than we can humanly understand. When it seems like no one accepts us, the King of all creation does.

Advice Tip #23: When you know who He is and everything He does, you will only then find who you are. Our true worth is found in God. We will never live up to the world’s expectations. We will never be good enough for the standards of this planet. But to God, we may fall short, but we are still more than enough.

Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

I’ve Been Nominated

Hey, everyone! Just dropping by to share that I’ve been nominated for the 2017 Liebster Awards! I was nominated by Amanda Stout at The Simply Joyful Life. Amanda is a fellow Christian blogger who is also just starting out. I definitely recommend her blog, as she is an amazing writer with many wise words. Check her out here! Thank you so much, Amanda! I’m honored!

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*THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE. FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE MY DISCLOSURE POLICY.

WHAT IS THE LIEBSTER AWARD?

The Liebster Award is an internet award given to a new blog/small blog of less than 200 followers each year. It is primarily a way for bloggers to promote each other’s blogs. This award serves as a wonderful way to recognize fellow bloggers, as well as acknowledging all of the effort that goes into creating a blog behind the scenes.

There are several criteria that must be met to win the award including:

  1. You must thank and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
  2. Answer the interview questions that you are asked.
  3. Nominate 5-11 other blogs with less than 200 followers.
  4. Notify your nominees so that they are able to accept their nomination

You can find more information, including all the rules to win the award, at The Global Aussie.

MY INTERVIEW RESPONSES

  • What has been your biggest challenge with blogging?

My biggest challenge has been creating enough content within my posts. Writer’s block loves me!

  • Share your #1 tip for bloggers.

My number one tip would be to write authentically, and from the heart. Be true to yourself, your values, and your motives.

  • What are your hobbies other than blogging?

Art! I love abstract painting. I also read and just recently started bible journaling.

  • What successful entrepreneur do you admire and why?

I would have to say my mother-in-law. She recently bought her own business and I’ve never seen someone care so much and work so hard for something. She truly loves her business and it shows!

  • Who is your favorite blogger and why?

I have a huge crush on A Beautiful Mess! From the crafts, to the courses, to the beauty tutorials, I am obsessed! Their site is gorgeous, they know how to write, they’re extremely creative, super fun, and very professional.

  • Tell us about your blog and why you started blogging.

My blog is mainly focused on living life with anxiety and depression as a 25-year-old Christian female in the south. I started blogging as a way to use my anxiety and depression for good, as well as to help me cope and connect with others who share these issues, all while sharing the love of God and His Word.

  • The item you can’t live without?

Let’s be real. My phone.

  • What and who motivates you to write?

My anxiety, depression, and every-day issues inspire me. My mother is the one who motivated me to start blogging, and my dad encourages me to grow. When I feel as though God is laying something on my heart, I’m also motivated to share it.

MY NOMINEES

NOMINEES – YOUR QUESTIONS:

  1. What has been your biggest challenge with blogging?
  2. Share your number one tip for other bloggers.
  3. What are your hobbies other than blogging?
  4. What successful entrepreneur do you admire and why?
  5. Who is your favorite blogger and why?
  6. Tell us about your blog and why you started blogging.
  7. What is the item that you just can’t live without?
  8. What and who motivates you to write?

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who has supported my little blog. Your love and encouragement mean so much to me, and I’m so happy I have the opportunity to reach people about Christ and His love.

Thanks for reading, and thank you SO much for your support,

Sarah

Different

A couple weeks ago, my church did a series called Different. The first week we talked about being different when we face trials by our faith.

We face trials every day, both big and small. By having depression/anxiety, every day can be it’s own trial. I face the trial of facing people every day, of leaving the house, even. Those are small trials. My bigger trial is that my fiancé and I are currently trying to find our own place to live.

It recently occurred to me that this is an amazing opportunity to test my faith, to hope with expectation, and to be different.

1 Peter 1:6-7(ESV)

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

We are blessed in the waiting and during difficult times. While those who don’t know Christ see waiting periods and trials as inconvenient, we see them as opportunities to grow our faith. By waiting for God to bless us with a home, I can go to Him in prayer, I can read about hope and waiting in Scripture, I can tell others about His promises and how my faith is currently being tested in an amazing way.  And when God gives us our place, they’ll see that He is faithful.

Life is full of waiting, hoping, and trials. We all hope for things and face hard times. But what is it about expectant hope that makes us different? What is it about welcoming and embracing trials that makes us stand out?

Expecting whatever it is you’re hoping for is saying to God, “Thank you for providing this for me,” before you even have it. It’s confirming that you are trusting Him to provide for you. While we can already rejoice in what we don’t have yet, others are doing the opposite, which, unfortunately, is more common. Embracing the trials with hopeful expectation makes us different because the world rejects and avoids these inevitable times that are necessary for our growth.

But what if God says no? What if His timing isn’t your timing? What if whatever trial you’re facing seems to never end? In my opinion, the “no’s” come in when you didn’t get the house you wanted, but you’re still blessed with even having the option. God says no when He has something better planned for us. He makes us wait so we can grow and prepare for whatever it is He is bringing us. We face trials so we can be blessed. Even if those hard times get answered in a way you don’t want, God always has your very best interest in mind, and He has a plan for you. A perfect plan, at that.

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You can always trust that He will provide. You can test Him, and test Him, and test Him again, and He will prove His faith over, and over, and over. Sometimes His answers aren’t as obvious as others. Sometimes they’re small and simple, just enough to get you by. Others can be obvious, if you know how to see them. By seeing the small things, such as simply waking up, you are different. By rejoicing in hard times, in trials, you are different.

James 1:2-4 (ESV)

Testing of Your Faith

Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

This world has done an incredible job at twisting reality into something so negative. But God sheds light on the good. When you read His Word and grow closer to Him, you learn how to see through His eyes and not the world’s. This is another way He transforms lives, by changing perspectives. By making you different.

So how does all this pertain to anxiety?

Advice Tip #22: The more trials you face with your anxiety and/or depression, the closer to God you will become. When life brings a trial, being your anxiety or depression, or whatever you may have, it is a door opening. An invitation to run to God and seek His love. An invitation to experience something different.

I had a small anxiety “moment,” as I call them, earlier, where I needed to lie down and pray a small and simple prayer. That small moment was a huge blessing. Without that moment, I wouldn’t have thought to pray at the time. It gave me a divine opportunity to feel His presence, and to feel His peace wash over me. A divine moment that was disguised as something scary brought me closer to Him. I embraced that small trial differently than the way the world has taught us, and He proved Himself. He is always here for us, no matter what. He will always be there to intervene, and you should hope for that expectantly.

Stay hopeful. Be glad for trials. Accept them, face them, and seek Him. Be different.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

Dealing with Depression

A week before my 12th birthday, I lost my grandmother, whom I adored. Although we knew her time was soon, it was still unexpected, as she went to bed one night and simply didn’t wake up.

I remember it vividly, my mom telling me what happened. My breath was instantly gone, and I was filled with the heaviest pain I’ve ever felt.

Death was very new to me. Even though we had been preparing, nothing had prepared me for the grief that filled me. That grief made itself at home. I grieved for months, breaking down at the thought of her. Time went on, years passed, and I was still sad. It never left. It teamed up with anxiety, instead.

I sought God on and off throughout middle school, but by the time I was in high school I was truly stuck in this state of sadness, and God was completely out of the picture. I sought all of my worth and happiness through another person which only hurt me more. It seemed like each day brought something new to keep me down. I felt alone, unwanted, unloved, and unnoticed. I just felt lost, and had no idea who I was supposed to be. I became nothing more than a shell. There are chunks of memories from those 4 years that my mind has blocked, completely, because I was so out of it and hurting.

Depression is very serious. It’s dark, it’s lonely, and it’s scary. I’ve made many dumb decisions in attempt to escape it. I opened every door but the one I knew was right.

But God waited for me. Right there, when I was in the darkest state of my life, completely giving up and no longer caring, He quietly reminded me He was there, that He loves me, and that it was time to wake up.

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Psalm 34:17-20 (ESV)

17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
    not one of them is broken.

 

God hears us. He knows and feels our pain, and delivers us from it. He takes it away. It may not be instant, it may take work. But that work will help Him shape you into who He wants you to be, which is nothing less than the best version of yourself. When you let go, He takes hold, and transforms your life moment by moment, through good times and bad.

He is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. He was with me when my mom broke the news. In that room, He was there, hurting with us. He knows exactly what I went through. And even though it was a dark and confusing time for me, He surrounded me with loved ones who also hurt with me. He surrounded me with love, with family, and with good memories to reflect on.

I still struggle with depression, and I honestly think I always will. But now it has a purpose. Now, like anxiety, I see it as a reminder of His love and grace. I no longer see it as this annoying pain that I just want to go away, but as part of who I am, and as part of my story. He made me like this for a reason. And even though I’ve felt pain that I thought was unbearable, He got me through it. I wouldn’t know Him today like I do without depression being a part of my life.

Advice Tip #21: There’s nothing to be ashamed of for having depression. There are 350 million other people who feel what we feel. That’s 350 million people we already have something in common with. That’s 350 million people we instantly connect with. Three hundred and fifty million people are hurting just like us. Who need God, just like us.

When you hurt, His arms are around you. When you’re anxious, depressed, or both, He is there. And when you call on Him, He’ll take your pain away, one moment at a time. Breathe. Give your pain to Him. Let Him take control. When you call out to Him, and feel His warmth and love, you’ll never be the same. You will become a shining example of His grace, mercy, and love.

Next time you feel yourself slipping, remember that His arms are around you, and that He is using that pain for something greater than what’s bringing you down. He’s using that pain for your better good, and for His glory. Don’t beat yourself up for having depression, but instead, praise God for it. For it is yet another divine gift.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

 

 

Anxiety vs. Money

When it comes to money, I do everything I can to avoid thinking about my bank account. Even when I know I’m good, I still brace myself every time I buy something. I have anxiety about spending, saving, and I’m always filled with guilt, no matter what I buy. As I’ve been reflecting on my spending choices, I’ve realized that my relationship with God isn’t reflecting on my finances. No wonder I have financial anxiety.

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1 Timothy 6:17

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

 A lot of my anxiety also comes from not relying enough on God to provide for me. Money is untrustworthy, and just as temporary as we are. Only He can be fully trusted to provide all of our needs for our entire lives. If we rely too much on money, we will fall. It does not last like God does.

I’ve been struggling in this area to let go and let Him provide for me. My biggest weakness is food. Even though He has provided more than enough food at home, I still manage to talk myself into swinging by Taco Bell for a 99 cent burrito. Most of my paycheck is spent on eating, and that’s a problem considering everything that’s already been provided for me. I need to learn to see His blessings.

Sometimes that means leftovers. Sometimes it means hand-me-downs. Whatever it is, if it’s provided for me, I need to recognize and take it, not turn around and spend the money He’s given me on stuff He’s already provided. It’s literally a gift from God. That goes for everything, not just food. It takes a lot of self-discipline, but it also allows me to lean on God and become more aware of what He provides.

That’s the beauty of it. Suddenly you begin to realize just how blessed you are, even with the simple things.

Advice Tip #20: If you experience financial anxiety, I suggest changing your perspective and try to view your finances through God’s eyes. What do you spend money on that pleases and displeases Him? What are your financial strengths and weaknesses? In what areas do you need to let go and lean more on Him? Adjust your habits to what is pleasing to God. Tithe, save, and budget so you can be used to bless someone.

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Tithing is such an important act of faith. God, Himself, asks you to test Him with your finances. When you change your perspective and see your tithe as a way of worshipping and showing your faith in Him, it becomes a completely different experience. Rather than having to worry about tithing too much, you can be joyful in knowing that He provides. And the more you experience it, the more your faith will grow.

When we visited our church for the first time, we were stunned when the pastor explained that if there was anyone in need of food, shelter, or clothing, that they may take whatever cash is in the offering bucket, because once it’s in the bucket, it’s no longer ours, but God’s. That’s what really made us stay. We knew we could trust that our financial offering was being used how God says it should be used, and that this church has their priorities in order. Whatever isn’t taken out of the bucket is then used to help build more campuses, reaching more lives; it funds the free resources our church provides to hundreds of churches around the world; it provides support when needed, and is always used in ways that glorify God. And at the end of the day, that’s all that truly matters. We also have what we call the Tithe Challenge, where you challenge yourself to tithe weekly for 3 months, and if you’re not blessed by the end of those 3 months, you get every penny back. But I promise you, you will be blessed, and it will greatly impact your views of money and faith.

Don’t let your finances replace God in your life. Don’t let it become an idol, replacing your need for our true Provider. Remember that money is only temporary, and God is everlasting. Budget, spend wisely, and give. It’s more than worth it.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

The Anxious Christian (Book Review)

This book, written by Rhett Smith, has an amazing outlook. The main focus is learning to see anxiety as something that can help you, and strengthen your relationship with God. It talks about embracing anxiety and making the most of it in every aspect of your life.

I absolutely love the positivity that engulfs this book. Smith does such an amazing job of showing you the good in our anxiety, and how it can contribute to our faith. Each chapter ends with discussion questions, an exercise, and a prayer. The discussion questions really make you dig deep and guide you to seeing anxiety in a whole, new, and helpful light.

Throughout the chapters, you’ll find yourself dissecting your anxiety and threading it through your relationship with Christ, making you realize your anxiety’s purpose.

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” SOREN KIERKEGAARD, The Concept of Anxiety

One of my favorite chapters in this book talks about reimagining anxiety, and how, “God does not leave you alone in your anxiety, but uses it to awaken you and help you turn toward Him.” God uses anxiety to reshape us into being who He intended us to be. When we neglect our anxiety, it kills the dreams and passions that God has given us. We have to face it in order to grow. This book helps you do just that.

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It also discusses the difference between healthy  and unhealthy anxiety, helping you better understand where your head is at. It discusses anxiety in relationships and even marriages, and how to differentiate yourself from others in order to ultimately come together and share our unique gifts with one another as the one body of Christ, giving you an incredible example of the Trinity.

The questions in this book really challenge and and encourage you to describe your anxieties in different situations and seasons of your life. Chapter 8 really helped bring some things out, and I felt such a weight lifted off of my shoulders.

Some of the chapters take you back and allow you to reflect on your past, opening a lot of closed doors for a lot of people. It did for me, but it was truly helpful. Smith guides you through these memories and the anxieties attached to them and makes use of them by changing your perspective, giving you examples and encouraging quotes and passages from other resources, along with the discussion questions and exercises.

“There cannot be new life without embracing and moving through the pain and suffering, and allowing God to reshape it into something beautiful.”- From Chapter 4: Anxiety Reimagined 

Advice Tip #19: This is one of the exercises from Chapter 4: “Make a list of several anxieties that you are currently facing. As you look at each one, brainstorm and write down possible ways God might be using that anxiety to speak to you/ to compel you to action. No option or idea is off-limits. Let this be a free-flowing exercise.” When I did this, I realized that I really need to learn to trust, which starts in Him.

This book is filled with many great things, and really helped give me more insight on my anxiety. You can purchase the book here or find it at your local bookstore or Lifeway bookstore.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah