Love conquers all

This isn’t easy to admit but anxiety has always been a stronghold in my life. I have woken up in the middle of the night and have had panic attacks and have struggled with mental health issues since I was a teenager. A time in life where it should have been carefree and fun, turned into a very dark time. My mental health issues with anxiety and depression have stemmed from those very difficult years. Not knowing how to cope at a young age opened up a door to anxiety and responding to stress in a very negative way. Thankfully, my depression was situational but I still struggle to this day with anxiety and my response to stressful circumstances. I think a lot of people can relate to mental health battles. I know some people’s stories with anxiety completely disappeared when they started a relationship with Jesus but that was not the case for me. It is something I am daily working on and praying about. Not growing up with a solid foundation of joy and faith in Jesus and going through major life changes and emotional trauma so early in life, is what has made it evident of why I still struggle with stress today. But on top of all that, I have felt that hope of what it feels like to feel peace and immense joy from my relationship with God. It takes repetition and prayer to make progress in this area and I have realized that that is ok. There is a lot in our personal world and in the world as a whole that can make us feel anxious. But the beautiful hope of all this is I believe anxiety can be conquered and we can choose to believe everything God says in scripture. One of the verses that has given me peace and hope is in 1 Peter 5:7, which says, “ cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.” When you meditate on those words, I know I start to feel a release of tension because God is carrying everything I am carrying and is in the midst of the anxiety with me. Just knowing He cares about me brings calm to my mind. 

I felt like this past month, one stressful thing after another has been piling up on me. I started to feel so anxious and swallowed up by stress, that I just did not know what to do to not be like this. It was a very overwhelming feeling and I just felt defeated. I thought, I can’t keep doing this, I need to do something different. While it may be something different I need to do, I realized it just where I am putting my focus on the most has to change. I shouldn’t be gazing at my circumstances so much and only glancing at Jesus. Of course I always knew this but I fell into that trap where I was doing that. I need to put my energy into the things and people that build me up, not tear me down.  So, I started to pray more and more about my anxiety and I read a verse that I have known but saw it in a new way and saw a couple words for the first time that caught my attention. In Ephesians 3:17-19, it says:

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

I love how this verse says how wide and high and deep is the love of Christ. But what really caught my eye was the next part: this love that surpasses knowledge..

When I really started meditating on that, a new peace sprang up in me. God’s love is so very deep for us. God is guiding our lives and God does not just love us but is the epitome of love. HE is love. So if love is guiding your life, then what is there to worry about? If love is guiding your life, then everything, even the trials and pain, will turn into good. We do not need to worry about walking into tomorrow because if God’s love truly surpasses knowledge, it means it is such a deep love, we cannot even fathom it with earthly knowledge, then we can trust that God is truly caring about us and every detail of what concerns us. We can trust if God loves us that much, we can rest in that love each and every day and let it carry us and find joy in the pain, waiting and hard days. I really believe that Love can conquer all. I felt that power for a moment when I was meditating on it and it put everything into perspective.

This has truly helped me recently and I just felt God’s love and peaceful presence right when I needed it most through this verse. I find the more I meditate on God’s deep love for me, my worries and hard days seem to disappear a little more easily. And I know that isn’t small or a coincidence. It is what God always wanted us to feel and know while we are on this broken earth. There is so much significance, more than we know to God’ s love for us.  And I hope you can feel that and gain encouragement from this special moment I recently lived. I felt like someone needed to hear that.  

I also wanted to say that if you deal with anxiety regularly, do not be discouraged. I am learning it is not my fault and all we can do is stay as calm as we can and surrender it to Jesus. We can trust him with it. Also, I heard a perspective that helped me view my anxiety differently and maybe this can help someone too. Anxiety can be a blessing. I know that doesn’t sound like it makes sense. But, if you think about it, anxiety, stress and worries, lead us to God. It allows us to depend more on Him and that is what He wants us to do. Remain close to him in our time and communication each day. I am trying to view it that way now. That I can lean on God more and more and talk to Him any time because He cares and He will give me more and more peace each time I surrender my worries to him. 

I believe God’s love can conquer anything, including a heart prone to anxiety. I know, I just have to keep surrendering and replacing it with His love. If you struggle with this, I challenge you to sit somewhere quiet for just 10 minutes and meditate on this verse I shared earlier. Meditate on His love. I have found this has really been helping me. I hope it helps you as well.

You are so very loved, friend. I pray you feel God’s love in a new way this week.

All for Jesus,

Steph

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