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I sat down to pray today after going four days without a real prayer time. Now I did the usual praying for someone who had a need, etc., but I didn’t really have any significant time alone with the Lord. It was four days of not getting into my prayer closet thanks to anxiety and guilt believe it or not.
This afternoon I sat on my bed where I normally pray. I have a big picture window in my bedroom that overlooks the woods. I can see all the trees with their leaves changing and no busyness of the world. It is quiet and peaceful so I sit on my bed and face that window whenever I pray. And I did that this afternoon, except it was hours after I like to. I usually like to pray in the early morning but I let work get in the way..again.
I sat down and I exhaled deeply like I was finally allowed to relax and breathe. And I cried…I cried because this overwhelming emotion just came over me as if God gave me a big hug and said: “I’ve missed you and I am so glad you are here!”
It was one of the most awesome feelings I have ever experienced. I felt like God had been waiting just for me.
You see prayer has been my number one priority until recently….
The Busy Trap
Recently I started a new job working from home and that changed my daily routine. I thought I could “wing it” but for people with anxiety, “winging it” doesn’t work too well. I lost my priority in this new schedule that really wasn’t scheduled at all!
Sometimes I will look at my To-Do list and all the things I need to do in a given day; the work I need to do for my “day job”, the work that needs to be done for my ministry, any appointments I have and all the things I need to do around the house and I feel like I need to pack them all in and get them done now!
I feel this internal pressure that ALL these things need to get done and I have somehow lost the ability to just relax and just sit in God’s presence.
I feel like my anxiety causes this “Martha Syndrome” in me that makes me run around like a madwoman DOING…and Jesus is sitting there waiting for me to just love on Him and be more like Mary and just BE in His presence.
Anxiety can keep us from the things we love the most because we look at even a small list of what needs to be done today and we feel that it ALL needs to get done RIGHT NOW! We feel overwhelmed by even a small list.
This happens whether I have a set schedule for the day or not. I don’t know about others with anxiety but I am NOT good at keeping to a strict schedule. I still feel the need to check those items off my list.
I allowed anxiety to interfere with my prayer time and my time sitting in God’s presence because anxiety tells us there just isn’t enough time in a day to get it all done…which isn’t true.
I feel like somehow I have less time than other people do when I have been allotted the same 24 hours as everyone else!
It is what anxiety does!
Anxiety is Good at Making Lists
If I try to sit and just BE…anxiety interrupts with the dread of tasks left undone. Its loud, shrill voice pierces the quiet of just being!
Anxiety says “How dare you just sit there talking to God, don’t you realize you have dishes that are in the sink??? You lazy thing!! You can’t JUST SIT THERE!!”
So I go and take care of the dishes.
Now…NOW I can surely sit and pray!!!
Then I sit and anxiety says, “Seriously??? Do you realize you have three more hours of work that needs to be done for your job??? Yeah ok…so you can work those three hours any time you want throughout the day but HOW DARE YOU sit there and pray when you have work to do!! Don’t you think you should do it now in case something unexpected comes up?? Do you really want to end up not getting that time in???”
So I go do an hour and a half of work so that I am at least half done.
Ok..NOW I can pray!! Right?
“NO!!! You have all that training you have to do!! You paid money for that course!!! If you sit and pray now and then do another hour and a half of work it will be time for the dogs to go out and then you have to feed them and next thing you know it will be 3:00 and you have to think about dinner!! Are you crazy??? Oh and don’t forget you have a link up on Wednesday so you have to get a blog post done for that and STILL you have to do your social media posts and….woman have you lost your mind??? You can’t pray with me reminding you of all this STUFF you have on your plate!!!”
God Waits For Us
It’s like Cinderella trying to get all her work done so she can go to the ball without realizing the Wicked Stepmother doesn’t plan on letting her go anyway! Except it’s not a Wicked Stepmother but a very real enemy exploiting our anxiety and its tendencies.
How many times do you get ready for bed and realize you were busy all day but didn’t get half the things done that you should have?
How many times do you realize as you’re getting into bed that you didn’t pray today?
How many times does the enemy jump into your day and use your anxiety to make you feel like spending time alone in God’s presence is irresponsible and selfish?
And God waits! He waits for us like the loving Father He is.
The King of the Universe, the Lord of all creation, the Ancient of Days, the Holy One of Israel, waits to talk with you! YOU!
[click_to_tweet tweet=”It’s like Cinderella trying to get all her work done so she can go to the ball without realizing the Wicked Stepmother doesn’t plan on letting her go! Except it’s not a Wicked Stepmother but a real enemy exploiting our anxiety! #anxiety #panic” quote=”It’s like Cinderella trying to get all her work done so she can go to the ball without realizing the Wicked Stepmother doesn’t plan on letting her go anyway! Except it’s not a Wicked Stepmother but a very real enemy exploiting our anxiety and its tendencies.” theme=”style1″]
But the enemy wants you to be too busy. He wants you to be too bogged down. He knows your anxiety is a window into your mind that he can use to make you feel like taking time out of your day to focus on yourself and focus on God makes you a selfish and lazy person.
So he uses your anxiety to rattle off a long To-Do list every time you try to take a moment out of your day.
He uses guilt, he uses stress, he uses the fact that anxiety makes us feel like we have to get things done or else we cannot focus!
And God waits…..
The enemy knows this. He knows God is waiting for YOU. So he tries his hardest to manipulate you with the tools he has!
I felt God waiting for me. I felt what it was like to sit in His presence and exhale all of life’s burdens and have Him wrap me up in His love and His grace and His mercy.
And it changed me….
This afternoon and this interaction with the Father who had been waiting for me changed me!
Yes I am Martha…all I do I am doing for Him. My ministry is for Him, serving at Church in children’s ministry is for Him. But doing FOR him doesn’t replace spending time WITH Him. I need to stop allowing the enemy to use my anxiety to make me ALL Martha with no Mary!
[click_to_tweet tweet=”I need to stop allowing the enemy to use my anxiety to make me ALL Martha with no Mary! #proverbs31 #anxiety #perfection #panic” quote=”I need to stop allowing the enemy to use my anxiety to make me ALL Martha with no Mary!” theme=”style1″]
So from now on, I commit to prayer first thing in the morning. I don’t care how many dishes wait downstairs, I don’t care how many hours of work I need to put in, I don’t care if it means I have to get up an hour earlier to do it!
Fervant prayer is going to be my number one priority again! It will come before anything else. If my To-Do list starts getting read off to me I will just open up my Bible and start praying the Word until it shuts out everything else, because I know I can’t rely on my own mind to shut out the noise! So I will let God and His Word shut it out for me!!
No phone! No iPad! No anxiety screaming in my ear! Just me, God and the Word in my War Room!
Anytime we have a change in our routine and our schedule, we need to make sure (especially those of us with anxiety) that we first and foremost allot that time for prayer, because it is just as important for us and our own well being as it is to God.
The weapons of our warfare include the Word of God! The best way to silence the endless chatter is with the Word!
What ways have you found to shut out anxiety and it’s loud, obnoxious voice during prayer? Please share in the comments!
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