For me, anxiety hits me in different ways at different times. Sometimes it's a physical onslaught of panic attacks berating my body, wearing me down. Sometimes it's all mental- consuming, distracting thoughts like thousands of mosquitos that I feel takes all my attention and energy to keep swatting away lest they land and leave a painful bite. Regardless of how it hits me, whenever and however anxiety comes, it leaves me feeling drained and empty.
As such, I feel very little left over for God. I feel His presence, but lack the capacity to engage mine with His. I feel His nearness, but have not the strength or the means to move closer to Him. A fact I feel no shame for- it's the reality of any dark season; our capacity shrinks and transforms into a great and infinite need for more of Him- something He gives without question or prerequisites.
After waking up this morning feeling rested and refreshed, I wanted to thank God for His loyalty- for sticking with me and by me even when I have nothing to give or offer. But as I penned the word, it felt so wrong. "Loyalty...loyalty...loyalty?" No. No it's beyond "loyalty"...it's love. And I felt that. I feel that. It's so beyond some sacred sense of duty that He hangs so closely. It's so beyond some bond or obligation or allegiance to those He cares for...no, it's love.
When I am worn thin by anxiety and have nothing to offer, He doesn't pick me up and hold me out of loyalty- it's love.
When I am preoccupied with keeping the thoughts and fears from taking over, when I am consumed with keeping my own thoughts from budging or giving way; He doesn't remain near out of duty- it's love.
When I'm beaten and overcome, He doesn't step in simply because He promised to do so- it's love.
I don't always feel it. I can't always spare the mental energy to comprehend it or entertain it, no matter how lovely the thought. But I know it. And on good days when there is air to be breathed and I don't feel my chest tightening, threatening to undo me, I relish in the truth of it. I can't say that knowing I'm loved has any real effect on anxiety- it's not some magic pill- but it removes any shame that could possibly slip in and allows me the freedom to be in this and deal with this knowing someone is with me not because they have to be, but because they love to be.