Compared to who I was even just a year ago, I am totally changed. I no longer wake up in the morning fearing how bad my anxiety is going to be that day, or wondering in what physical way anxiety is going to manifest itself in my life. However, every now and then, anxiety tries to sneak its way in. Since I am easily able to spot anxiety for what it is now, it often uses various disguises in hopes that I won’t catch onto it until it’s too late. One of the most common disguises anxiety uses with me comes through the form of dread.
Dread has been a prevalent feeling throughout my life. Even as a young child I remember always dreading some future event. Only within the past year or so have I realized that dread is an extension of anxiety.
I often dread doing simple things, like going to the grocery store, going to the bank, or making a work related phone call. (Thankfully no longer because I’m worried about having a panic attack while I do them, which used to be a daily reality). I also dread bigger things like starting a new job, events where I’ll be doing some public speaking, or long-term planning for my future.
Whenever I start to feel dread within me, along tags its best friend avoidance. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sabotaged my own mental health because I put off tasks until the last second possible because I felt a sense of dread toward doing them.
After a minor inner breakdown I experienced recently because of issues I caused myself through avoiding important tasks I needed to complete, I finally stopped and reflected.
I went back to the root of the problem and I asked myself, “Why am I avoiding these things? Where is this feeling coming from?”
I quickly saw that these seemingly simple tasks caused immense dread within me. I then asked myself why I was feeling so much dread. What is it about these tasks that makes me feel so anxious that I avoid doing them altogether?
I came to the conclusion that it’s not even that I am afraid of these tasks themselves.
Like I said, I’ve worked really hard toward my mental health and I no longer fear having a panic attack or getting sick all the time when out in public. It simply comes down to not feeling like putting in the work to do these things.
This isn’t the real me, though. The real me, my true inner self, wants the best for me and thus, wants me to get stuff done. Instead it is my ego (you might think of the ego as the devil) holding me back, keeping me lazy and complacent, because it doesn’t want me to move forward anytime soon in my life. And why? Because if I did, it knows that each time I faced a task that I ‘dread’ doing, I would get closer to completing God’s will for my life, and it obviously doesn’t want that to happen. So it sends dread to me, in hopes to prevent me from reaching out to fulfill my calling.
I understand this now, and it’s always nice to bring this truth back into my awareness. However, the discomfort and dread is still there. So I have created a list of four things to remember when I need to accept the discomfort and move through it, rather than around it. To be honest, there really is no way around discomfort if you ever want to get anywhere significant in life. Every time you try to go forward, it will keep popping back up through different people or situations. So, you might as well go through it now! Now is all we ever really have anyway.
1. Stay connected. I cannot stress this enough. I know when we are being challenged the only thing we usually want to do is lay in bed, curl up into a ball and forget about the hard stuff coming our way. The last thing we feel like doing is taking time to pray or meditate. However, these are the very things we need and the only things that will get us us back on track.
On the other hand, I’ve noticed that many times I’ll be having a series of good days, where things are going really well for me, and I am all too often tempted to not workout or meditate because I don’t feel like I need it. I’m feeling good so obviously I can skip it just this once, right? Well, once usually turns into several days, and before I know it, I feel like crap again. Sound familiar?!
This is why we MUST stay connected. During the good and bad times. It is the only way to keep the peace even when our outside circumstances are anything but peaceful. For me I stay connected through prayer, meditation, yoga, working out, reading books about positivity and spirituality, listening to music, writing, or being out in nature. Whatever works for you is fine, the key is to just do something to stay connected to the source! Otherwise, you will quickly deplete your supply and thus, keep reinforcing the cycle of negativity in your life.
2. Know that challenges aren’t bad, they’re simply strength builders sent to help you grow. I have believed the lie for far too long that if I’m feeling some level of discomfort, that the situation causing the discomfort must not be right for me. I used to take it as a sign that I was on the wrong path and that I needed to run away– fast. However, I’ve come to find that discomfort is usually a good sign that I am exactly where I need to be. If you find yourself feeling this way it simply means that you are growing!
God often sends discomfort or disruption into our lives to keep us from staying stagnant. He loves us too much to keep us where we are. If we never had anything come into our lives and upset everything around us, what would be our incentive to change? More than likely, we would never change if we always stayed comfortable. Sometimes God sends discomfort because it is the only way to annihilate negativity or fear-based thoughts (lies) from our lives. It brings these lies out of dormancy and makes us aware of them, which is ultimately the only way we can get rid of it.
Growth is challenging at times, I’m not denying that. And just like with any physical workout, it stretches you and takes you beyond anywhere you’ve been before. If it’s easy, you aren’t doing it right! The process of growth is hard, but once you’ve completed the challenge you will be so glad you did it and you will never the same. So don’t run away from hard times. Don’t complain about how hard they are either. Instead, see them as opportunities sent from God for your personal growth. Every challenge has a miracle hidden beneath its surface!
3. Know that peace only comes after obedience. We often wait or at least want to wait until we feel peace about a decision before stepping out and doing it. We believe that if we don’t feel a sense of peace (comfort) about it, or that if it doesn’t make sense logically, then it must not be God’s will.
However, a motto I always strive to live by is that ‘it’s not faith if you use your eyes’. God wants us to live by faith, and he typically won’t send us peace before we do something, because that shows no faith. All that shows is a trust in comfort and complacency rather than a trust in God. But God is that still, small voice within us that often makes no logical sense whatsoever saying, “No, do it first, and then you will feel the peace you long for.”
Peace comes after obedience, not before. You will feel peace afterward knowing that you went by faith and not by sight and trusted in God instead of logic. You will feel peace when you believe the truth that he wants the best for you, and that ultimately his ways are higher and more knowledgeable than our ways. We must always remember that he see the entire picture of our lives from his vantage point; we don’t. We don’t have all the details yet. Knowing this, we can easily move forward in discomfort, trusting that he is bringing the highest good for all through it, and that he will make a way even when there seems to be none.
4. Know that resistance blocks the flow of God in our lives. When we resist what is now (our present circumstances/conditions), or when we resist what we need to do in the near future, we are only getting in the way of God’s plan. Our resisting thoughts literally block the easy flow of God’s energy through us. This doesn’t mean the situation itself is easy, but when we obey God through surrendering to what is, instead of resisting it or wanting what we don’t have, we begin to feel an ease and a peace inside, regardless of the degree of difficulty on the outside.
Somehow our spirit’s seem to ‘just know’ when we are in our flow. It cannot be explained or comprehended, only felt. When we feel dread, tension, anxiety, anger or stress within ourselves, these are all clear signs that the channel through which God’s life energy can flow through us is blocked. The good news is that we can easily return to the life source within us through a simple prayer such as, “I witness that I am being blocked by fear. I forgive myself, and I return to love right now. I choose to see this situation through love.” A quick prayer like this can easily change your whole mindset and put you back on the path of love, where life flows through you freely and you don’t have to dread anything because you know that God has your back.
“I witness that I am being blocked by fear. I forgive myself, and I return to love right now. I choose to see this situation through love.”
What allows ordinary people to accomplish things that seem extraordinary is that they do the things others are unwilling to do. They know that talent alone won’t save them. There are so many talented people who let their dreams die young because they don’t want to put in the effort. They don’t want to be noticed. They don’t want people to talk about them. They don’t want to be uncomfortable. They want an easy ride, and if it doesn’t come easy they don’t believe it’s meant to happen. While of course belief is key to accomplishing a goal, actions are absolutely necessary too.
I refuse to let my dreams die. I refuse to settle for a mediocre life. I refuse to live only for the weekends. I refuse to live paycheck to paycheck. Therefore, I must rid myself of complacency, procrastination, dread, and yes, even my comfort, so that I can live out my dreams and make room for God’s will. Remembering these four things I’ve listed above every day will help me do just that, and I hope they will help you too!
So what about you? What do you do when you feel anxiety, dread, or even just a lack of motivation begin to rise up within you? If you have any tips, please share! I look forward to hearing from you! As always, feel free to share this blog if you resonated with it in any way.
Sending love and light your way,