Ready for a hard, honest truth? Anxiety is not an excuse for sinful nature, and sin causes a prolonged season of anxiety.
Let me preface this by saying; mental illness is a serious issue that can often debilitate a person. If you are currently in a place where anxiety or depression is in control of you, please seek professional help. At Fearless, we believe in the power of Christian Counseling. Check out our recommended counselors here. What I'm talking about today is a sister-to-sister; let's get real about the consequences of our own sin. Please see my heart and know I deeply understand severe depression and anxiety disorder, and it's not my topic today.
If you read my past blog, Release the Mental Load, you may be thinking woah, Mikaylin, this is a total 180 piece of advice. And you're right, it is. But I'm not and never have been a surface-level girly. I like to get honest and vulnerable, so that's what we will do today!
What happens when we release too much of our mental load, allow things to pile on, ignore a calling God shared, and, just in general, enable anxiety to stop us from moving forward?
I recently attended a Bible study with a group of women I'd never met. In preparation, we received verses to read on the topic of righteousness. Righteousness is described as the quality of being morally true or justifiable. As I opened to the week's verse, James 4:7, I glanced at the worksheet again and saw I had read it wrong. When I shifted my gaze to the opposite page in my Bible, I audibly groaned.
James 4:17 "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them."
I know I am not committing righteousness as I am called to in this current season. This currently looks like a lack of follow-through and procrastination out of fear, leading to a large task load that heightens my anxiety even more. I knew this was a pain point for me and something that I have prolonged in my new motherhood, keeping up with my necessary needs to keep the anxiety out of my house. Here's the kicker: I had the opportunity to share this verse with the ladies at the Fearless Rescue Retreat just at the beginning of this year.
So there I was, feeling convicted over something I preached about and desiring to do something to fix it. Funny how God's timing works, right? Yet, in my pride and fear, I pushed it down; how dare I backslide on something I boldly declared, and would I even feel better if I got it together?
Flash forward to last night, week five of this study, we get the verse Psalm 15:4b, "and keeps their promise even when it hurts." As the author goes on to share, a characteristic of God that we are called to uphold is to keep our word, even when it's inconvenient. Another form of righteousness.
Let's flashback to what I said in Release the Mental Load; emotions deeply drive me, and I couldn't wait to savor the tiny toes and newborn smell every second I could. I desire to spend all my time doing just that, but my disobedience and sinful nature allowed the mental load to pile on higher than it could have been.
When we aren't pursuing righteousness, we open the door to self-inflicted sin anxiety. This worry stems from our task list and the feeling of letting ourselves and others down.
I often write out of a place of past learned lessons, but today I share from the present. Today is my day one in finding the balance between releasing the mental load and keeping my word. Today I choose to lay my sin-centered anxiety at the feet of Jesus to look more like Him. To choose right even when it's uncomfortable. Why? Because I care so deeply for my daughter and my family to love and serve them well. Two, for my friends and coworkers to follow through and contribute to these meaningful relationships. Three, because I know that a life free from sin-based anxiety will allow me to serve others well on this side of eternity.
If, as you were reading this, you felt that pull in your heart, I want to encourage you to make today your day one. You may not be struggling with the same sin as I am, and you may need to do some more work on the emotional side first. But maybe your sin struggle lies in relationships, addictions, health, purity, anger, resentment, you name it. If it causes you anxiety, here are some next steps to lay it down.
Become aware. Write out your exact struggle, find its root, and know why it causes fear and worry in your heart.
Pray. Repent and allow God to carry the pain associated with it.
Make a plan. Write out reachable goals to help you, start small and let them grow.
Find accountability. For me, this is a mix of my mentor and my husband. Find a few people you can be open and honest with that will hold you to the plan.
Pray again. I'm serious about prayer, and it is life-changing. Bring this sin struggle to God daily and allow Him To be your strength in it.
I sincerely get you if you are walking through something similar. If you need encouragement or someone to say yes, I understand; please message us, email, or comment. We are here to help equip you to fight fear in a world that feeds it.