**Let me give a small disclaimer, in the particular post I’m just being flat out honest about a personal struggle that has been lingering the past few months. When first reading it, if you know me, you may be tempted to give me a little pep talk or encouragement, but that’s not what it’s about. In the end I found all the encouragement I need and recognized the anxiety that was trying to rear it’s head was a lie from the enemy of my soul. I’m praying that anyone who reads this sees the real intention of my writing, which is that when we take all our fears and anxieties to God, He is so faithful to restore our peace. Your struggle may be whether or not you have what it takes to cut it at work or a million other things, but whatever lie the enemy of your soul may be trying to keep you down with today, I pray it is exposed as you bring it into the light.
That being said, in 2 days I will be turning 38, and I’m pretty pumped. You see when I was in my early 30’s I had a friend who at only 35 was embarrassed of her age. I mean she kept it a secret and acted like being 35 was the worst thing in the world. As I watched her shame over her age I determined that I was going to embrace every year and fight temptation to lie about my age. I am normally obnoxious about my birthday anyway and celebrate for a whole month, so when 2015 came around I was excited to celebrate another year. Like most people I don’t feel my age and am honestly just baffled at the fact I’ve been on this planet so long. Being a nanny helps because I get to spend my days on the monkey bars, flying kites and playing. Plus, for a lot of my adult life I’ve been pretty nomadic and only have really started to settle into life here in Georgia in the last couple of years. I’m at a place of contentment where I’m not looking for the next adventure. If one comes my way, then I’m on the plane, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t look for them anymore. So when I went to visit my parents at the beginning of the year and started looking through pictures with my dad, I was shocked and taken by surprise at the effect of a picture of me at 27 had on me. I couldn’t stop staring at my forehead and perfect complexion. Now here is where the disclaimer comes in for anyone who knows me and especially those who love me. I am in no way saying I don’t have great skin now nor am I’m putting myself down or asking for a compliment or a pep talk about looking good for my age. Just honestly, I felt like I looked old and I felt ugly. Now being a woman who is grounded in her faith and identity in God, I am thankful He has taught me how to fight identity attacks. All women have these thoughts from time to time: “ugly” days, or “fat” days, or bad hair days when we just don’t feel at our best. But what happened when I saw that picture was different. It lingered and took up residence in the back of my mind taunting me from time to time to the point I didn’t even want to celebrate my bday. I tried to talk about it with a couple people but would get the usual pep talk about looking good for my age, and to be honest, I’m in the best shape of my life and would try and explain it’s not a self esteem thing. I really do love the woman typing this out. I truly get why David praised God for how He made him. Part of why I do love how God has written my story is I wouldn’t trade anything for the lessons of identity and His love He has so deeply engrained in me. So why was a picture plaguing me? At first I shrugged it off as normal insecurity we all have and it wasn’t always bugging me, but the closer I got to this week, the more it threatened me. And to be honest, I should have started praying about it sooner. It wasn’t until last week when I was at the gym fighting tears that I realized it was way more than just a normal aging issue I was fighting. It had become a full blow anxiety that I was letting affect me and get me down about the life I love so much. When it hit me I sent out a text to a few dear friends asking for prayer. I want to embrace each year and I am so excited about what 38 has in store for me. I do firmly believe as followers of Christ our life only gets better with each year. Not easier but better. Once again I was reminded of the power of prayer. By the end of that day I was making plans to celebrate me and my life and my bday week. I still have temptations to think about that picture and my perfect skin back then and I’m still tempted to be down about another year, but now I quickly see it as a lie of the enemy and don’t let it take root.
So what is causing you anxiety today? Is it as irrational as my struggle with my forehead skin and laugh lines? Is it a more real looking enemy like having enough money to pay your mortgage? Is it an illness or loss of a loved one? We all have an enemy who would love to keep us captive to these thoughts. But praise God that we are loved by Someone infinitely stronger.
My prayer for anyone who has stumbled upon this little babble of my heart is that any lie trying to keep you down will be exposed in the light of the truth. I pray that you find someone to be open and honest about your struggles with who will join you in prayer to The One Who Loves You Most. I pray that every thought and struggle the enemy would want to use today to bring you down will instead be used for your good and for God’s glory. I pray you walk in an even deeper assurance of God’s love and provision for you and I pray that as you go about your day your eyes are opened to all the ways that God is speaking his love over you. And I am praying this in the matchless name of Jesus.