As always, it’s been a while since I last wrote. I tend to blog most when my mental space is feeling clouded, so welcome to Haley’s atmosphere. Writing seems to help me clarify my thoughts and I pray these words speak to you in a personal way.
A little while ago, I wrote a bunch of sticky notes with verses about overcoming anxiety to give to a friend. After reading and writing, I realized those scriptures were speaking directly to my soul (don’t judge me). I decided to keep them and post a few around my room. One of the notes made its way down to the kitchen at some point and was placed on the fridge.
Water stained and crumpled, the sticky note had Isaiah 35:4 written on it–
I saw it this morning which inspired me to write. Being part graphic designer as my day job (among many other things), I recreated the verse in digital form. I chose a Lily of the Valley to represent anxiety because they remind me that beauty can still bloom in the valleys and shadows.
The aroma of a soul seeking light
lifts high above the chasms
of her fearful depths.
Fun fact: Lilies of the Valley are poisonous to humans. Similarly, as I have discovered, anxiety can also become an unsuspecting poison. Speaking from personal experience, anxiety is the root of many issues for me…particularly in terms of health.
I did not acknowledge anxiety had such a firm grip on my life until earlier this year. I knew my heart had a tendency to race at an unusual pace, my face flushed red “at random”, daily headaches were a norm, shortness of breath was common, my stomach was constantly in knots, my weight would fluctuate, I’d have emotional breakdowns…etc. but I always shrugged it off (probably just PMS, right?)
I came to realize that anxiety was slowly poisoning me, and I was letting it. Anxiety exposes itself in different ways for everybody. Sometimes people talk a lot when they are anxious, others shut down. Some people struggle with anxiety for a season, or even just for a moment, while others fight it every day for the rest of their lives.
If you have read any amount of this blog, you know pieces of my story already. In short, my anxiety manifested itself in the form of an eating disorder. I had been dealing with anxiety in unhealthy ways for so long, I was blind to how I had let it consume me. My cards were on the table, and everyone knew I had folded but me.
Now, I want to be transparent because I know I’m not the only one. My journey has been rocky and the valleys have been deep, dark, and lonely, but as Levi the Poet would say,
You are not floating alone in this awful void.-Anxiety
I want you to know: you are not alone. I empathize with you on these topics. Some people may smell and look pretty from the outside, like a lily, but are blinded by the darkness of the valleys they have been walking in for years. I identify with that, and so might you.
I was great at putting on my make up and playing the part. But when you stop acting, and the mask comes off, what role are you playing in your own life?
Reflect. Let the light in. Don’t hide your face. Bloom where you are planted, don’t fall asleep to the poison. Wake up. Fear not.
Here is a little note of encouragement for you:
Dear anxious heart,
Anxiety is not your master. Anxiety does not tell you when or what to fear. Anxiety does not show you how to love. Anxiety does not tell you who you are. Anxiety does not determine your day. Anxiety does not define you. Do not believe the lies you tell yourself. You are enough.
Be strong; be courageous; be vulnerable. You are beautifully broken and there is enough space here for each of those pieces–each relapse, each regret, each anxiety attack, each poor decision, each painful memory, each day you did not care for yourself, each failed relationship, each betrayal…
You are loved. No matter how many lovers broke your heart or family members let you down, I promise that true love exists. I know of an eternal Love who will not let you go (Romans 8:38-39). An inescapable Love who will hold you fast (Psalm 139:7-10). A tender Love who will care for you more than the delicate lilies of the field (Matt. 6:28). A perfect Love that will cast out all fear (1 John 4:18).
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:7-10
Your brokenness is welcome into the hands of a loving God who cares for you. A God who died for each of your broken pieces and mended the wounds of this broken world.
Dear Beloved, welcome to the table. Drink, eat and find rest of mind, body, and soul in this place. Breathe in deep, new life and exhale the poison you masked as perfume. Be free and fearless today; walk in confidence of your adoption as a son and daughter of King Jesus.
With love & joy,