“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul. “
How to empty your heart of anxiety.
I know that sounds too good to be true! Am I an expert on this? That depends on how you look at it. I have had more than my fair share of things to be anxious about. More often than not, I have submitted to that anxiety as if I had no choice, rather than empty my heart of it. So I guess you could say I am an expert on learning to empty my heart from anxiety. Maybe you are too.
Years ago I even experienced panic attacks, and I can tell you, during those episodes I was so overcome by anxiety that I couldn’t form a coherent thought to even begin to pray. My husband was SO good to pray and intercede on my behalf during those times. But, he is in Heaven and his prayers with him. So, as we humans often do, when there is no human handy to turn to, I realized I must finally turn to God.
Why do we wait beloved? Why must we delay our relief?
While I haven’t mastered being completely empty of anxiety all of the time, I am learning.
I continue to have the opportunity to choose to empty my heart instead of bury myself in it. If you have ever struggled with anxiety or even just walked through a short season of it, brought on by circumstances, you know that it totally feels like being buried alive.
The past few months my writing has been less frequent, it’s just me, creating white space. Learning I don’t want to share just for the sake of sharing. Rather I want to lean in a bit more and make room for his voice to speak louder than mine. Then I can share the echo of his words with others. But first I must consume them. I must allow them to sink down, take root and sometimes even bear fruit.
I have found that quiet spaces where my heart isn’t processing something and I’m not trying to produce something help to empty my heart of anxiety. Why?
Because, It’s in those quiet spaces that “relationship” is grown. I can hear Him better and when He seems to be silent I can rest in His presence.
Don’t you just love those people that you’re so comfortable with, you don’t have to fill the silence? It’s not awkward. It’s just restful. Maybe it’s your spouse and you can just exhale all the things and enjoy the love that you have for one another. Or maybe it’s a friend. Your hearts have walked so many different journeys together that you feel no need to strive or impress the other one. You just exhale and delight in being known for who you really are and not who you want them to think you are.
The King James Version expresses that same verse a bit different. It says, “ In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.”
So many times when we are under stress, are minds are flooded with thoughts. How can I solve this problem? How do I get rid of it or resolve it? How do I escape?
Proverbs 10:19 tells us, Where words are many sin is not absent and I have found that can also be true of thoughts. We may start out praying but before we know it we are overcome with doubts and fears. We begin to exalt our circumstances above our Great God.
We generally feel that need to fly away and escape. What if that feeling was God given, only we were flying the wrong direction.
Psalm 139:7 says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”
“Can a man hide in secret places where I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and earth?” declares the LORD.
If our God is always with us, and He says that He is, perhaps the answer is in diving deeper into His presence. Flee, instead our anxious thoughts by hiding our heart in His word.
Allow His consolations to bring truth, then comfort and finally delight. We are called to live in this world but not be of it. He has done the work. When we accepted Christ as Lord, we died and we no longer live but Christ lives in us. We have the mind of Christ. The world and it’s problems may try to make us forget that truth beloved. But truth is truth.
Therefore, we must be the ones to choose to remember ourselves as Ann Voscamp says. We must put our hearts back together by the truth of God’s Word. We must renew our minds again and again and again. Then when the times of shaking come we empty our hearts of the anxious thoughts and are comforted by his Word.
If we want our hearts, lips and lives to spill Christ in the midst of conflict we must be constantly emptying them of anxiety and filling them with him.
I know it can feel kind of scary to allow yourself to be emptied. So lets do it together and then Seek Him to fill us back up, every nook and cranny.
God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
(Coming in July a podcast, Seek And Savor)