Accepting My Condition

In a previous article, I wrote about the choices I had when faced with chronic anxiety. One of the topics I touched on during this series was the idea of “Accepting My Condition.” Many times friends or family members will encourage you to “accept your condition” as a piece of advice. While I mentioned that people do not understand what they are asking when they propose this piece of advice, I failed to consider what it might have meant. My advice from Make It All Go Away was not completely off-base, but it did not consider all of the other possible implications. To be fair, my interpretation of their advice was not completely based on truth. When you are living in the midst of fear much of what you are believing is based on lies. My interpretation was focused on statements like, “you are not like you used to be”, “you are less than you once were,” or “you’ll never be what you could have been.” It was focused on telling me what I am not.

Now, accepting my condition might reveal some new challenges, but I doubt that it is all about telling me what I am not. Asking the right questions will reveal possible wisdom. Accepting my condition might mean that I realize my new-found limitations and make adjustments. Accepting who I am now is merely embracing a better understanding of who God created me to be. It is not believing that I lost something, but that I have gained understanding of who I am.

So what can come of this newfound understanding? A discovery of the environmental conditions which I can best thrive in. While it is true that finding work which meets these criteria is much more difficult than before, it means I now know what is needed for me to thrive. It means I now know what I am looking for in a career opportunity.

It is not saying everything I can not do, it is saying what conditions are needed for me to do my best. It is like discovering the recipe or formula needed for fulfilling work for Craig. Some might venture to say this new found understanding is clarity. Clarity is something people pray for, long for, and seek. I have not been given a list of limitations, I have been given a gift!

Make It All Go Away - Part 2

Many might ask me why I did not or do not just pray for God to “Make It All Go Away.” This is an completely valid question as it touches on many things besides the fact that if this prayer was answered, the fear/anxiety would all be gone. On the surface this makes complete sense. When one starts digging, there are other factors to consider besides what seems so obvious. There are two things to keep in mind with this prayer, the faith required to pray this and the potential costs of praying this prayer. When examining the faith required to pray this kind of prayer I would consider two things. The amount required means the believer actually believes God can or will do this. Quite simply, one believes God is capable of answering the prayer. The second part when examining the faith required is one is willing to voice this concern and submit this to God regardless of the outcome. No matter what the outcome, the faith of the believer is strong enough to handle God’s answer.

My personal struggle was not whether God was or is able to answer the prayer. I completely believe God is able to do abundantly more than I can ask, think, or imagine. My struggle lies within the second part of this idea. If God says No, was my faith in a place to handle His answer. At the time of this event, I was not at a place where my faith could handle His answer. My concern was that His answer would cause a crisis of belief when it comes to my faith.

The second thing to think about is the potential costs of praying this prayer. One might say, Praying is free, what cost? I would look beyond financial costs. What happens if God says No? Is the faith of the believer strong enough to handle this answer? If one values something they tend to protect it. The level of protection varies depending on the amount they value the item. In my case, my faith, was as important as the air I breath. This was all I had at the time. I could not handle a crisis of belief. Not at that time.

So why did I not pray this prayer? Quite simply... FEAR. Was this fear rational, no. But the potential cost was not something I would dare take a chance on. When fear grips you as much as it had a hold on me, you begin to accept ideas(sometimes called agreements) that develop as the line between the truth and lies gets blurry. The further inside your head you go, the harder it is to find your way out. We’ll discuss finding your way out in greater detail later.

From this, I learned to ask one question, what lies am I believing which set themselve up against the Word of God?

Make It All Go Away - Part 1

There are a few things you come to realize when you wake up knowing chronic anxiety is part of your everyday life. You soon realize that you will never be like “them” again. By them I mean people who seem “normal” who have never had it out with anxiety or fear. You will always have an intimate knowledge of what it means to live in fear. Fear means something different to you than it does to “them.” It is at this point you have a few choices to make. You can pray God will “Make It All Go Away,” You can dig into the fight against fear, or You can give in to living a life of fear. None of these choices seem like good ones. If you were to ask me which one I would choose A) Pray to God He will Make it all go away B) Dig into the fight against fear C) Give in to fear D) None of the above. I would choose D) None of the above. I believe I have thought “Make it all go away,” but this was never really a choice for me. When originally faced with the choice my faith was not in a place where I could pray this kind of prayer.

People, doctors, friends, family members will most likely be at a loss when it comes to giving you advice in this area. Unless they have personally had it out with fear or anxiety, they will be unable to understand the battle. Most likely you will be able to tell if they “get it” or not. As much as they want to help you, they will disappoint you. Perhaps the best thing they can do is with love, compassionately admit they do not understand.

If you are anything like me, you are left with choice B) Dig into the fight against fear or choice C) Give in to fear. Here is where I would choose choice D) None of the above. Many will encourage you to just accept your condition (the fear is a permanent part of your life.) They do this with a great heart, but they do not truly understand what they are asking you to do. They do not understand that for you, fear does not stand still. It only gets worse or gets better. There is no in between when it comes to fear.

So, here we are...I am not about to just “give in” or “accept my condition.” This leaves me with the choice to B) Dig into the fight against fear. What does it really mean to fight against the fear? I believe the song No Longer Slaves by I AM THEY says it best.