Let me start off this post by saying I am not a therapist, but I am an advocate for mental health and a believer in them! I have personally seen a Christian counsellor who has helped me understand and better manage my anxiety (one I am so grateful to have had, especially when we had trouble conceiving and suffered a miscarriage). I even did a whole Podcast episode on my husband and I’s show, Jolly Ever After you can listen to sharing my walk in this department. The other day I asked on my Instagram stories a basic, general question: how are you feeling? So many of you had similar responses: sad, anxious, tired, uncertain, stressed, overwhelmed and even a few that said they were depressed. This made my heart heavy to read and If I am being totally transparent, I can relate to so many of those feelings currently. I think so many of us can in 2020. What gives me relief is knowing that feelings don’t have the final word. What gives me relief is that we can always have HOPE!

As a believer, I know this about anxiety:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

So even when I feel anxious, sad, tired or overwhelmed, I know these truths deep in my heart. My circumstances can’t change these truths. I do believe we have to look at a couple of things when it comes to our routines, our habits, our diets, how much water we’re drinking, our exercise (or lack of), toxic people or things holding us in bondage to feelings of despair or overwhelm. There is a lot to consider when it comes to mental health, especially in a time like this. I created some affirmations you can print or save to your phone to have on hand when you’re breathing through (please take some deep breaths if you haven’t already) a wave of anxiety. Let these affirm, lift and bless you to walk in peace and know that His grace is sufficient for you. I have no shame sharing my anxiety or my struggles, because I know His power is made perfect in my weakness. I live in the fall, in a broken world and these feelings are completely valid and normal. I also know we go through things to come alongside others and help them when they experience it too. I’ve taken that in to account with my experience with anxiety/depression as well as our miscarriage from last year. The beautiful people that I have been able to connect with (as well as hopefully bless) and in turn have blessed me through sharing these hardships reminds me we are never alone. You are not alone, there is hope, peace and grace for you my friend. I pray these affirmations bring you comfort. I’ll be sharing a biblical affirmation under each card to remind you, you do not have to work in your own strength to get rid of your anxiety – He is with you.

Where are my people pleasers at? I am someone who loves to help others (I’m a Two on the Enneagram), but I have also lacked boundaries and betrayed my own mental health at the expense of trying to be everything to everyone. I believed this lie it would be selfish to have boundaries — oh my friends, this is so untrue. We all need them! It is vital for our mental health and when we do make time to serve friends, our communities, family etc. we can do so with a full tank and not running on empty. Protect your peace and time with what you have the capacity for. Lately, I admittedly don’t have much and that is okay. It just means it’s time for me to really evaluate if I am guarding my heart, where my time is being spent, the energy that requires me to fulfill certain roles and where I can realistically give or scale back.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

Staying present can be really tricky when anxiety sneaks up on you. Something I’ve learned to do is focus on me breath. I like to focus on my senses to help me get present: a smell, sight, touch, taste and it draws me right back to NOW.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-34

So much shame comes with the feelings anxiety brings on and I am here to tell you, you are NOT your feelings. You don’t have to live by them or for them. They can come and they can also go. You are just the observer of them.

“Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

We have never been in control, and I find when I am anxious (while it is natural) it stems from me not fully trusting the Lord with my life, circumstances etc. If we knew everything, if we could control everything, there wouldn’t be a need for faith, right? God has our best. I truly believe this, even in my darkest hours and then He pulls me right out. His grace is sufficient.

Huge love to my friends with anxious hearts, I see you. You are loved, known, worthy and seen. God loves you and wants you to experience His peace. I am praying this over your life, that, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Peace and Grace,

Steph