Dealing with Anxiety

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV

Being a Christian and dealing with anxiety attacks can be difficult. It’s like your body is doing one thing while your brain is telling you otherwise. Let me explain to you what I’m talking about (for those who have no idea what an anxiety attack is).

For me, when I get nervous about a situation or an event that I’m not entirely confident with, I will start to have anxiety and dread it. My heart will pound really fast and there will be a sick feeling in my stomach that won’t go away. My body will literally shut down and I can’t think of anything or talk to anyone while this is happening. I usually have to calm myself down in my head and try to distract myself with doing things like watching TV or that require me to think about something else entirely.

I wish I didn’t have anxiety about certain things. I hate it.

It prevents me from doing things that I love because my mind can’t handle it emotionally and my body physically. It stinks. Also, it’s not something that you can make “go away,” either. I can’t force myself to not be nervous (I’ve tried, it only makes it worse if you push it down). Another thing about anxiety is that you fear having another attack and avoid places that can trigger an attack. For example, I am on the worship team for my church and I had stage fright – so much so that I got off stage and threw up. Ever since then, every Sunday morning my body woke me up at an unreasonably early hour and I would be nauseous all morning and dread going on stage because I feared I would have another anxiety attack and throw up. It lasted until church was over.

I didn’t know what to do. They became more frequent until I couldn’t handle it anymore and finally cried out to God. I know, you’re probably saying, “Well that’s what you should’ve done in the first place!” And you’re right. I should have. Yet I’m human and I thought, even though being a Christian, that I could handle this and control it on my own. Without God, though, it’s next to impossible to handle on my own, and I learned that the hard way.

I don’t think I’ll ever not have anxiety. I’ve accepted that. Yet I do know that whenever I feel anxious about anything, I go to God. Of course, I’m not perfect and I let my fears get the best of me; which happened recently and that’s what triggered me to write about it. This is a reminder to myself and to anyone reading this that God is bigger than anything we worry about. He understands everything and takes care of us. Every time I talk to God, about anything really, I get this comfort that no human could ever give. My spirit is calm, my heart isn’t palpitating out of my chest, and I know that everything is going to be okay. I encourage you – anyone who is dealing/has dealt with anxiety –  acknowledge that you have worries and fears. Crack open your Bible and start reading it. Memorize scriptures and recite them. Talk to God – He’s always there and will help you through anything. I can tell you right now that He’s better than any therapist or doctor or medication.

Anyway, there’s my little rant. I’m sorry I haven’t blogged anything in a long time. I’ll try and get better.

With Love,

Emily

The Dating Game – Why I Don’t Play

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Ahhh…dating. Relationships. Boyfriends. It’s what every young adult Christian girl has on her mind. It’s been on my mind too many times to count. I constantly dream about my future wedding and what color my flowers and napkins are going to be. I imagine what my future husband is going to look like, or what he’s actually doing right now as I’m writing this. God created us for relationships; it’s why He created a companion for Adam. We are alive so we can be in a relationship with our Creator. I believe that’s why He thought of marriage, because it is symbolic to our relationship with Jesus. The church is His bride, and He is the bridegroom. Yet in order to get married, you have to find a husband first (for us girls, of course). That’s where dating comes in.

I’ve heard both sides of the spectrum when it comes to being a Christian and dating. “If you really trust in God, you will know that He will bring the right guy to you,” or, “How do you know if he’s ‘the one’ if you’ve haven’t figured out what you like and dislike yet?” I’ve literally heard it all. Some of my friends have dated multiple guys, and some have dated one and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this particular guy is in fact “the one”. Everyone has their opinion on the matter, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this one is mine.

I will admit I did actually go on a few dates with a guy and I knew from the get-go that he wasn’t for me. I was tired of waiting for the one God had for me, he liked me, I thought he was a cutie, so I said, “Why not?” I was tired of being twenty and never being on a date with a guy. Everyone (and by everyone I mean mostly) my age was either in a relationship or engaged or getting married or having kids already. My heart sinks a little every time I see a Facebook post saying someone is in a relationship or is engaged. I felt that I was missing out. So I just did it. I started dating a guy for the wrong reasons. I kept telling myself I’ll never know what I like or dislike if I never date anyone. Just going on a few dates or having a boyfriend or two never harmed anyone, right?

After a month and a half, I broke up with him. I knew I wasn’t going to marry him, so I felt that it wasn’t fair to him for me to keep having him pay for all of my delicious dinners (or my Starbucks). After that whole experience, I want to wait and not date until my future hubby comes into my life. I want to save myself for him, and by myself I mean everything. I’m twenty-one and I haven’t even kissed a boy or even held a boy’s hand romantically. I’m okay with being the rare unicorn as my friends call me. I know that when I share those moments with the one God has intended for me, it will be the most magical and sacred moments of my life. I know this is 2014 and it’s normal for a girl to have kissed multiple boys or do other things. I don’t believe in that. If I lasted twenty-one years without even holding a guy’s hand (and before you ask, I didn’t do anything with the guy I dated – I put my head on his shoulder and he put his arm around my shoulders for less than fifteen seconds and that was it) I think I can hold out a little longer for my future husband. Also, I don’t believe you have to date around to know whether or not you’ve found “the one”. When you’re seeking God with everything you have, He will bring him to you just in the nick of time, and you’ll know. Even though I’ve heard that phrase a million times, I never understood it until I experienced dating. It’s so important that you don’t give yourself (and not just sex) to every guy willy-nilly. Maybe you’ll have to experience dating a few guys for you to finally understand, and that’s okay. To each their own.

The whole point of this is that you need to guard your heart and keep yourself pure. Even if you’ve messed up, God will give you a clean slate and you can start now and be pure until your husband comes into the picture. These are my opinions on dating. And although I should be in a museum in a glass box, I know it’ll be worth it. Remember – a girl should be so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find her. To be so lost in God that you don’t have time for a man. The waiting game; however, is for another post.

With Love,

Emily

Malachi 1:6-14

Malachi 1:6-14 “…Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.” ESV

In the Old Testament, God required His people to offer a sacrifice to Him; His requirements being a perfect and faultless animal. Malachi is talking about how the people became lazy and would just offer any animal, even though it was sick or lame. The people are going back and forth with God because He’s accusing them of cheating Him and profaning His table with unworthy offerings. These people; however, have been doing this for a long time and don’t understand how they are making God angry – just because they are becoming a little lax in their offerings.

Here’s the point – God wants the best from us. He requires the best. He is the Kings among nations and he deserves the best from us! We cannot become apathetic in our worship, or anything for that matter, towards Him. Being a Christian for a long time can blind us to become watered-down and just go through the motions, slowly giving less and less of our best. I mean, thank goodness we don’t have to slaughter a perfect little baby lamb anymore because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and now we only have to ask Him into our hearts to be saved, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to do anything else for the rest of our lives. We have to continually pursue Him and strive to be like Him in everything we do.

Trust me – I know it’s hard. With everything from Facebook to our favorite T.V. shows, it’s difficult to make time. With being a future college student on top of having two jobs and being a young adult leader for our youth in the church, I know I have to set a good example for our kids. Add on being a church kid for twenty-one years. It’s so easy for me to become stagnant because I know all about this. I’ve heard every version of this message preached hundreds of times from sixth grade to now. Does that give me an excuse? No. Does that mean I get a free pass because I go to church every week? No. Does that mean I get a free pass because I have Jesus in my heart? No. This was a great message from my youth pastor this past Wednesday. Point of the day: God deserves our best. Don’t be an apathetic Christian just going through the motions. Pray to be constantly on fire for Him. He gave us life – He gave us everything we have. The least we can do is serve Him passionately.

With Love,

Emily

New Years Resolutions…an Attempt.

Well, it’s that time of year again. I’ve always wanted to blog, so I can check off one of my resolutions right now….six days late! Better late than never, right? I do have a good excuse, which is I’ve only been home for a day because of holiday traveling. Right now in Michigan there’s a terrible snow storm, so I’m stuck in my house for a little while, so why not get the ball rolling and start a blog? I don’t really know what I’m going to write about – maybe topics that pop up in my mind that make me angry or excited. I was really thinking about blogging my pastor’s sermons and sharing my thoughts. I may still do that.

For now I will start this new blog with the most talked about (and probably the most overused) topic of January. New Years Resolutions. Where every woman in America will pay oodles of money to get on weight watcher’s even with the Christmas debt still looming over their heads. Where every student will say, “This new semester is going to be better! I will study harder, join a club, even make a difference on my campus!” Probably a week later they forget what their goal was, let alone what assignment they forgot to do the night before. How about the biggest contradiction of the year many people say – I resolve to not make a resolution this year! Okay, but you just made a resolution. So you already failed. Gold star for you for trying to be a hipster.

I never thought I would be this person, but I actually made resolutions this year. One is to become a morning person. I know it sounds weird, but I hate being a night owl (as I type this at 10:30 P.M.). I hate waking up late and half of the day is over. So, I’m going to attempt waking up every morning at 8 A.M. and get some breakfast and exercise to keep me awake. Followed by a huge cup of coffee. Is it suicide? Probably, but I want to be an early riser. The early bird does catch the worm, you know. I also want to start to spend more time with God. This one I know is pretty cliche for many Christians, but it is so important. My problem is my laziness. There, I said it. Most of the time I just want to lay around and do nothing and watch television. I could watch marathons of Parks and Recreation all day, every day. Yet I do not want to waste my life. I’m twenty one. The laziness stops here. There’s time to sleep when we’re dead and in heaven, although I don’t think we’ll need sleep…..but you get the picture. I also want to develop my photography skills and become better. Being successful comes with dedication and hard work, with a sprinkle of talent and a heap of passion. Not everything comes handed to you on a silver platter. I also want to travel and see places and experience life. This one’s a little far-fetched, but it’s still on my list.

So I only have a few, but I feel like a huge list would be overwhelming and unrealistic. I tried not drinking pop at all, but that failed the first day. I really need some motivation. Slowly but surely I will stop. Not yet. But eventually. Alright, I’m going to stop now – be on the lookout for more soon! Hopefully I’ll be true to my list and strive for what I want in life with determination and passion, Lord help me.

Em