So the other night, I sent my friend a text that read:
“Here’s the problem with pre-scheduling posts for your ministry. You make a nice meme that says, ‘You can choose to love the life God gives you' or ‘You can trust God no matter what’ and then it slaps you in the face when you’re struggling to obey it yourself.”
We decided I should write a blog and call it, “Confessions of a Major Hypocrite.”
Because the truth is that even though I believe these things and I want to be a woman of strong faith, there are times when I fail and struggle with anxiety, fear, and panic.
For instance, around November, as we were heading toward 2021, I kept feeling the Holy Spirit impress the word “strong” into my spirit along with the Scripture “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” I have to admit that my first reaction was to run away yelling, “NOOOOOO!!!!” because I knew this meant something was coming that I would have to be “strong” about, and the idea scared me. I tried to shrug it off, hoping that it meant to stand strong for God’s Word against an ungodly culture. However, when our whole family got Covid a few weeks later, I realized it was a personal word for me. I needed to be strong.
Thankfully, God carried us through the virus, and even though it was difficult no one had to go to the hospital. We healed throughout December and looked forward to a brighter 2021.
So far, it hasn’t been awesome. Instead, I’ve been presented with more and more opportunities to “be strong”.
First, even though we did all we could to properly manage our money, supplement our income, and stretch our budget, the ministry faced enormous financial difficulties in early January due to the pandemic.
Then one weekend, I woke up unable to walk on my foot without unbearable pain. It turned out, I had an infected abscess that needed to be treated. Even though my doctor did a great job, he didn’t know that you don’t tell Adessa all of the worst-case scenarios. Hearing all that could go wrong, I spun into a vortex of anxiety, facing most of January with fear and dread.
Once again, God was faithful, and none of the worst-case scenarios happened. At the same time, He was providing financially. Yet, I was still caught in a web of anxiety. After two weeks of feeling like I was holding my breath, waiting for the next shoe to drop, I realized it was time for a change.
So I went to God and asked Him to forgive me for letting anxiety control my thoughts and emotions.
Then I asked Him to help me “let go” and trust Him.
I listened to some praise and worship and forced my thoughts to “be calm.”
Honestly, I was still praying through these issues when another challenge presented itself at my door. My Dad is having a physical issue that will have life-changing repercussions. At this point, we do not know if he will be able to keep his foot or have part of it amputated. He will definitely have to quit his job--something he did not want to do.
As soon as the news arrived, I could feel anxiety calling me to take another detour down its crazy roads. Only this time, as the “what ifs” filled my mind, there was another part of me that said, “Don’t go there again…be strong.”
The thing about anxiety is that sometimes it is physiological (like when you have PMS or menopause and cry for no reason). Other times, it is a choice.
Having experienced both, I knew that this time I had to make a choice.
Was I going to trust that God allowed this challenge for a reason and that He would be faithful and take care of us just like He always did, or was I going to spin out of control with worry, fear, and panic?
At that moment, I chose to pray….Lord, give me the strength to be still.
“Be still and know that I am God”. (Psalm 46:10)
It’s a Scripture we hear a lot, but did you ever think about how much strength it requires to obey it?
If we go back and look at the verses above, we see the situation in which the psalmist was telling his soul to be still:
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Sometimes it feels like the earth is giving way and everything is falling apart.
If you’re like me, your natural response is to try to “fix it”—-to dam up the waters and stop the flood from destroying everything.
Anxiety and panic set in when you realize there’s nothing you can do—this is your life, and these are your circumstances.
Then what do you do?
I’d be lying if I said I had all the answers. But here’s what I’m learning:
I have to learn to be still and let God do what He is doing even if I don’t understand it.
If I believe that God’s ways are higher than mine, and that He knows better than I do, than I must be still and trust Him even when I don’t understand.
Rather than letting anxiety control my life, I need to take active steps to let God be in control.
I need to be strong enough to be still. Even in that, I find myself relying on God’s strength.
Today, I don’t know what you are facing. Perhaps today, anxiety is knocking at your door, looking for an invitation to move into your head and your heart. Yet, you know that this road will only lead to more exhaustion, more confusion, and absolutely no peace.
Can I encourage you today to find a place to be still with Jesus?
Ask God to give you the strength to be still and to trust Him.
There is absolutely no shame in saying, “I want to trust you, Jesus, please help me do it.” (Mark 9:24)
You might even need to pray these words over and over again as you choose over and over again to trust God and resist anxiety.
The fight against anxiety is a battle. The only way to win this war is to consistently ask God to give us the strength to trust Him and follow His path for our lives.
When we fail and give in to anxiety, we need to ask God to forgive us and get back on the path of once again using our strength to be still and trust God.
That’s what I am trying to do.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.