It’s happening again. I can feel my heart beating faster and anxiety increasing. I may even begin to sweat and whether it’s actually happening or not, I feel like my hair is totally frizzing. My head starts to ache and feel a little fuzzy.  My fingers get hot  and my cheeks follow soon after. I snap at my friend for no reason- I don’t even know why I am irritated. And it’s all because I can’t decide what I want to order for lunch.

Okay, that last sentence may not have been true. But the rest of it was- er, scratch that- is. Sometimes I struggle making the smallest decisions and I have NO idea how I can ever make big ones.  I know you all have been there, too. It’s like all this pressure is building up in your head and one little thing makes you explode, one little thing that normally wouldn’t even be noticed. Maybe you explode with anger. Maybe it’s tears. Although we respond different ways, the way we got there is the same: we are not turning off our brains.

Now of course you can’t actually turn of your brain and stay alive, but you can try to reduce the stress and anxiety. Several years ago I wrote my first song “Breathing Room” which  actually not an anti-smoking campaign (although that is good, too) but is about how that clutter keeps us from God- keeps us from hearing what He wants to say or following where He wants to lead.

The chorus goes like:

Lord I need some breathing room
My life’s keeping me from You
Take away my foolish pride and leave the truth
And Lord I need to take some time
To change this selfish heart inside
Only You create this space, my breathing room

Do you ever feel like can’t turn your brain off? Like you are so stressed out that you can’t even listen to your own better judgment? God is still there in that chaos and He wants you to trust Him when you get overwhelmed. Nothing you’re going through is too big or too unknown for God to understand and to help you with. When we don’t trust God, we trust ourselves only – we tell ourselves lies to feel better, or maybe even to feel worse. Have you ever been shopping and you have trouble finding clothes that fit? Well, if this happens over and over, maybe you start to tell yourself you are fat…then fat turns to ugly…then ugly turns into you hating yourself and suddenly every time someone talks about going to the mall, your anxiety goes from 1 to 100 immediately. What if my friends notice I have bigger sizes than they do? What if they want to try on swim suits and nothing fits me? What if they laugh? What if the stop hanging out with me because I am a fatty?

I am telling you all this because this was me. I have always been taller and had a bigger frame, and yes at times was a little overweight….bad combo. I remember shopping with a friend in middle school all the time who wore size 2 or 3 and I was always so embarrassed. I was convinced she was laughing about me with her mom behind my back (she wasn’t) or that she would not want to be seen with me since I was so much bigger than her (she didn’t). This was all stuff going on in my head INSTEAD of praying to God that I could learn how to feel better about myself.  I could have prayed that God would give me strength and discipline to eat better or work out harder. I could have tried to have a little perspective and focus on the things I do like about myself and not only the things I didn’t.

God did NOT want me spending so much time criticizing myself – which is essentially criticizing HIS creation. When you were younger, did you ever draw a picture you felt like no one liked? It’s a horrible feeling to have something you have believed in not be appreciated by someone else. Well guess what? God believes in YOU. The same God that created the mountains and the skies and the animals and the universe created YOU. That is the truth He wants to leave you with so quit being “selfish” and “foolish” like the song says and ask God to take away your insecurities. Ask Him to help you see yourself the way he sees you and to be grateful for the things you have. You have to first recognize your weaknesses and humble yourself before God. Sometimes this is hard. Sometimes it takes time. But asking God to create “space” in your head and in your heart is the first step to actively begin to trust Him. After all if there is no space in your life, there is no room for God’s wisdom or guidance when things get rough!

#journaljourney: What are the things in your life driving you nuts? Is there something specific that someone says or reminds you of that just boils your blood or hurts your heart? Write down any of these triggers you can think of. Think about the last time it came up- how do you feel about it now? Are you still mad at someone? Still mad at yourself? In Part Two, we will be talking about forgiveness which is a HUGE part of surrendering your selfishness and pride but I want you to start thinking about this now so you can recognize HOW it is actually effecting you and why it is so important for you to learn how to overcome it!

Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30, Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7



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