I am the voice telling you that you aren't good enough.
I am the voice questioning your every decision.
I am the voice of anxiety.
All I could think as I read this public toilet-stall poster was, "That's not the voice of anxiety, that's the voice of the devil!"
Which voice are you listening to?
That internal voice can be crippling. I've heard it. Anxiety and its physical effects are real. I've felt them.
I remember a year-long-stretch during which time I'd wake up for work, and lay in bed with a tight, choking feeling at the base of my ribs. My breathing felt shallow and laboured. My mind raced between the different things I had to do that day.
I worried that I might screw those things up and disappoint my boss, my coworkers or the TV viewing audience. Or I'd sit, staring blankly at my computer screen nearly paralyzed with worries about my performance as a writer.
That internal voice focused on me. All the time. I still get caught up in it again from time-to-time. Yet, the voice I hear most nowadays is that of a loving, patient, ever-helping Father.
Cast anxiety aside
Beyond Blue says 3 million Australians are living with anxiety or depression. I think it's become the diagnosis to explain the modern-day struggles many of us face. Yet, diagnosing anxiety won't make it go away. It has to be dealt with.
The Bible tells us to cast all our anxiety and worries on Jesus because He cares. (1 Peter 5 verse 7), but is that all it takes? At one time I probably would have said yes, Jesus can take away feelings of stress and anxiety.
A good friend of mine is a psychiatrist in Canada. She's a Christian too. And while she knows and accepts that Christ wants to carry our burdens for us. She's not sure it's enough for some people.
The doctor-side of her says therapy and medicine need to be included in treatment.
I agree with her sentiment. When I weekly meet with high school girls, and see the hurt, stress or uncertainty on their faces, I too question whether having them say a prayer will make enough of a difference.
So while the pressures of modern-day living (school, work, debt, to-do-lists), I think this idea of "casting anxiety" away is a great one.
By revealing to someone other than ourselves that we need help, while it is clichÃ©, is the first step. Admit you need help. Beg God for help. What do you have to lose?
Lisa Goetze is a 30-something woman endeavouring to love people – of all ages - with reckless abandon. She's a former Canadian journalist who now calls Brisbane home. She's a full-time volunteer at Youth With A Mission.
Lisa Goetze's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/lisa-goetze.html