The other day I couldn’t sleep. And I usually have no problem sleeping.
It was the second night in a row I was up, riddled with anxiety and frustration. I was scared about what was next, I was sad for no reason, and I didn’t know how to handle all the self-deprecating, prideful, and anxious thoughts that were plaguing me.
I didn’t want to wake my mom so I called a good friend of mine I knew would be awake. She talked me through an anxiety attack for an hour before I laid down again at 2 am. I prayed and did rhythmic breathing before finally falling asleep around 3.
The next day I talked to my mom about it (she was upset I didn’t wake her up) and cried even more. This is not normal for me, I don’t cry.
Part of the reason I was so frustrated was I didn’t have clarity as to what the Lord was saying when I’m so used to just hearing and understanding his words with minimal effort.
And worse, I’m being RULED by this overwhelming sense of pride and fear. And I know it. I can feel it. I recognize it. And I can’t figure out how to make it stop.
I know how. Pray, talk to others, read the word, rely on God, etc. etc. I know the facts, but I’m in a place where I can’t seem to get past it.
I look back at my life and I see all the times I struggled the most. The biggest sins, the biggest moments of breaking and rebelling and running. Each time at the root were these two demons that were playing me like a puppet: pride and fear.
I need/needed to be in control.
Let’s get one thing straight – pride is not always “I’m better than you. I’m so good at “blank”. I’m perfect. I don’t deserve that. I’m so smart. Insert ego-centric, arrogant thing here.”
Sometimes pride IS fear. Sometimes this is what pride looks like:
- Being hard on yourself because you believe you should be better.
- Thinking you should know what you’re doing with your life because you don’t want to blindly trust the Lord.
- Self-depreciation, poor self-esteem, insecurities that control you.
- Thinking you have the right to not forgive someone.
- Comparing yourself to others and either coming up above or below them.
- Not giving control up to the Lord and not trusting Him.
That’s the kind of pride that I can physically feel restricting the air in my body. It’s a pride that is mixed with fear. That is keeping me up at night and making me question every decision I make.
And what I’ve come to realize is that this feeling is not isolated to me. I am not alone in this.
Unfortunately, this is so, so common. Especially amongst those who have just graduated from college. I wrote a blog post specifically about that if you want to read it here.
I don’t know what to do with this. I try and I’ve been trying and I could try harder but I think I know what I’m doing wrong.
I’m not letting go and letting God. I’m desperately trying to regain control of my own life.
What is more frustrating is obviously I’m so aware of this but being aware isn’t necessarily the way to fix it.
Talking about it. Realizing that you can’t have control. And if you refuse to relinquish that control, it will end in pain. Reminding yourself as often as possible that God is bigger, God is a God of love, He has a plan, His plan WILL happen, and following Him, giving Him control will always be the better choice. Spending time in the word. Journaling. Praying. Realizing that this season is NOT permanent. And not beating yourself up over the fact that you are not perfect, because you will never be perfect.
That’s why it is humbling and relieving to let go and let God, even in the midst of the fear of the unknown.
And when you finally do that, when I finally do that, perhaps I’ll stop spending nights lying awake in bed freaking out because I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.
Perfect love casts out all fear
– 1 John 4:18
God is love. Perfect love. And the closer we come to him, the less power fear has over us, because we feel God’s continual presence-his strength, his comfort, and his guidance.
When faced with even the deepest most crippling of fear, we need to trust God with the confidence a child ascribes to a loving parent. The key is abiding in that love, on a daily-even hourly-basis. It has to be more than a Biblical truth in our lives. We need to experience it continually.
Because when we are not in the word when our relationship with the Lord is off, then it will affect everything else in our lives.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer.
– Psalm 18:2
If this is true and if we truly believe this, then why would we let fear control us?
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
– James 4:6-8
Submit yourself. Relinquish control. Resist the temptation of pride, fear, control, insecurity, and draw near to God.
Because he is and will always be near to you.
He is your rock. Your Fortress. Your deliverer.
He is perfect love and he will cast out all fear.
And then maybe you’ll be able to sleep soundly through the whole night.