I am typically an individual who isn’t anxious. I go with the flow of life, but I am not defined by the current. But I’m prone to bouts of anxiety, heavy soul-crushing don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed anxiety.
Because of how infrequently I suffer from anxiety, to a certain degree I have control over it rather than the anxiety having control over me. I do have my moments within the throes of it that I think thoughts of rather being in bed than whatever I’m doing at the time.
The thing is, my anxiety is very much in my head. Consequently I wrestle with it, argue with it, talk about it, and ultimately, I fight it. Yes there are some days where it gets the better of me, that the fictitious “what-if’s” are (at least then) seem insurmountable. This past month I’ve been under the thumb of my anxiety, and most of it stems to going back to school in the summer to get my Master’s degree.
I look forward to going back to school, I really do, but the shift of what the education system has become has made me intensely anxious. It’s not a shift that has happened in my time, but over the last few 100 years. Education, for most of the part, was about learning and passing on what was learned to those who couldn’t get a proper education. Nowadays so much of it seems to be about getting that 8×11 piece of paper as a means to convey:
1. I know more than the average person
2. I deserve to be paid more
3. I have value
4. I have additional debt
And granted I want to know more, paid more, have marketable value, have debt…well, maybe not the last part. I know I have to play this game, it’s the nature of the beast nowadays, but when my anxiety gets the better of me I only see this through the lenses of cynicism and skepticism.
But with a breath of fresh air, a lengthy talk with my roommate, a lengthier talk with God, I am not bedridden with my anxiety. Every time I am out of the fog and funk of anxiety, I have more of a sense to my purpose and calling in life. I have a broader sense of I am taking a path that will be frustrating as hell, but even more rewarding. The good outweighs the bad, I smile more often, I am able to see good in myself and others, I see God in others, I realize this is not the end of everything I hold dear.
As I’m prone to offer up a quote in opportune moments, the one that sticks to me is actually found in the Bible. Deuteronomy 31:6 says this; “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (emphasis mine.)
I know I am not going at this alone. I know I am made for better things and getting there takes work and patience. Anxiety is a hell of a stumbling block, but it can be worked through provided I put in the work, provided I let go of the notion that I can resolve it on my own. I need people, I need community in my life to go about and get through this life.
So here on the edge of January ending, I move onward and upward.
Nathanael 1, Anxiety 0.