“Casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (HCSB)
I already shared with you I suffer from an anxiety disorder and PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which is also an anxiety disorder. It is very common for sexual assault survivors to experience anxiety and PTSD.
I prayed long and hard over what verse to use with this meditation. I do not want to undermine anxiety and make it trivial. God laid this specific verse and version on my heart. Anxiety is NOT just worry like many people think. You may have even been told, God says “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NIV) This verse is not for your anxiety.
Anxiety isn’t just worry, in fact, as defined the American Psychological Association (APA) “anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”
Many sexual assault survivors experience not just anxiety, but like me, an anxiety disorder. According to the APA an anxiety disorder causes “recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns and physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat.”
The APA also says “Anxiety disorders such as panic, OCD, PTSD and phobias can severely impair a person’s ability to function at work, school and in social situations and can interfere with a person’s relationships.”
This is not something we ask for or can control. It is triggered by memories, smells, people, events, sounds, or anything related to your sexual assaults.
I am in therapy and on anxiety medication. Yet, the other night when I went to bed at 10 p.m., my anxiety was so high I was unable to go to sleep until three to four hours later.
This is a common theme in my life and may well be in yours too. Memories come back, flashbacks of the assaults, worry over an upcoming possible new event in my life. All of this is anxiety. The other night I laid awake thinking, “Please God, I just want to sleep.” But sleep didn’t come for a long time despite my prayers. All because of anxiety.
God wants to free us of our anxiety. He longs to care for us, but He knows it comes with the territory. He can work miracles, I am not denying this, but our God also allows us to go through trials which increase our faith. I believe the other night was one of those trials for me. I spent a lot of time praying and crying out to God and it strengthened my relationship with Him, but I also persevered. Yes, it sucked, big time, but I survived. We are all already survivors. We made it through the hardest part. The assaults.
Dealing with anxiety and the trials it brings socially, physically, and emotionally, can be a constant uphill battle. Many times medication may be needed to help because chemicals are imbalanced in your brain causing things to misfire and add anxiety.
A therapist is a must if you have been sexually assaulted, even once. You need to work through your trauma. I pray you have or are looking for someone who will work through your trauma with you. They can teach you necessary skills to reduce anxiety and work through it with or without medication.
Ultimately, however, we must trust God. Don’t hear me wrong when I say this. We do need to cast our cares/anxiety on Him because He care for us. It does not necessarily mean our anxiety will automatically go away, or you should not seek the help of professionals medically and therapeutically.
Yet, He still wants you to come to Him. God is our ultimate counselor and therapist in our times of need. Peace can come a little at a time as we learn to trust Him.
God cares about YOU. He cared enough to send His only son to die on a cross for YOU.
Believe me, I know it is not easy to cast your cares on God. Trust me when I say, He wants to help you with your anxiety. He will not send you off packing with words like “Stop worrying it’s a sin.” or “Don’t worry about tomorrow that’s my job.” Your anxiety is NOT A SIN. It is a byproduct of what was done to you.
He knows you’re human. He knows what you’ve been through and are going through this very moment.
All He asks is that we cast our cares on Him BECAUSE He cares for us.
Try it with me. Just a baby step. I’m willing. Are you?
It is so difficult to live with anxiety. It is a tough road. It makes recovering from my sexual assaults even harder. Please help me to cast my cares on you as I’m able and let you care for me. I know it will take time, but I also realize you can use this journey I’m on for good.
Definitions from http://www.apa.org
© 2017 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.