I used to spend so much effort begging God to make my anxiety go away.
And I used to spend so much time worrying that I couldn’t feel God’s love for me. I knew it was there, I just couldn’t feel it. I blamed my anxiety and depression and self-injury all on that—that I couldn’t feel God’s love.
And I guess it’s important, feeling God’s love.
But all I knew to do was keep praying, keep reading my Bible, keep pursuing faithfulness to Jesus.
All of that left me in a pretty good place, for the most part. My character was getting better, I was becoming more loving, more patient, all that good stuff.
But my anxiety wasn’t getting better (the opposite, actually), and I wasn’t feeling more loved.
Plus, I was getting confused. Wasn’t I supposed to not be anxious, but bring my requests to God, and he would give me peace? That is supposed to be the way a Christian deals with stuff, right? Praying and getting closer to God? That solves everything, right? Or at the very least emotional and spiritual issues?
I don’t know. I’m starting to think that’s not the way it works.
I’m starting to believe not everything that seems spiritual is spiritual.
You want to know what has helped my anxiety the most, more than prayer and reading the Bible and other “spiritual things”? Diet and exercise and counseling.
Eating salads and limiting sugar. Training for half-marathons and lifting weights. Doing EMDR and talking about my issues with a professional.
And do you want to know what has helped me believe God loves me? Diet and exercise and counseling.
Cutting out coffee and junk food. Doing sprints and climbing mountains. Learning to be kind to myself and compassionate towards others.
In other words, non-spiritual things.
But here’s the thing: I do believe everything is connected, the emotional and physical and spiritual.
If one is out of whack, it affects the others. If I were to stop praying altogether, I’m sure I would have more anxiety, even if I went running every day. But without exercise, I could pray every minute of every day and see no change.
Getting better, or even just surviving, takes a holistic approach. This is nothing new. I think we all know it to be true.
But we like to compartmentalize. Or at least I do. I like to fight spiritualish things with spiritualish solutions.
But that’s not what always what it takes.
Because not everything is spiritual.
And not everything is emotional.
And not everything is physical.
And yet, because it’s all connected,
everything is spiritual.
and everything is emotional,
and everything is physical.