“The scariest part about it is when we are alone.”
A paramedic told me exactly this last December when I experienced my worst anxiety attack. These words made an imprint on me. My head seems to say one thing, but my heart screams another. I know I shouldn’t be alone. I know it’s healthy to reach out to someone to talk to. But, stubborn as I am, I want to learn how to be strong alone. This was my mindset.
I’ve been reflecting lately on the kind of woman I want to be, and I fear that I am slowly becoming one that is closed, controlling, and cynical towards the world. When I am alone is when I feel most vulnerable. As an eldest daughter with a single mom, I’ve invested years into killing my desire for love and validation. I’ve guarded my heart with the same barricades that my mother used for herself, so that vulnerability would not be an option for me. My anxiety stems from a need for control. A need to control my studies, my career, my family and other people’s perception of who I am. Most of all, a need to control my emotions.
I never fully understood why my foolproof method to controlling my life and suffocating my heart wasn’t working until I recently dove into Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. As women today we are always pressured to “keep it together”. I had always perceived danger or chaos if I let go and let my guard down. We don’t like to turn to our neighbors for help, because who wants to burden someone else with heartache? Surely not me! I needed to start at the beginning. First by opening up my heart to He who created this heart in me. Instead of hiding and negotiating what my worth is with God, I needed to embrace His validation. I needed to allow myself to receive His love, which is something many women, Christian or not, struggle with today.
What that book showed me was something even more valuable than what my desires were–it was that I am not alone in this. That I don’t need to fear loneliness with the millions of women, and most especially, the Lord on my side.
Since then, I’ve found that loneliness has now become solace. Regular prayer, reflection, and breathing help me cope with stress and anxiety, as well as mend my heart a little at a time. Although the doubts, worries, and insecurities still attack, I know there is a refuge in a place where I can be still and free from distractions. Free from feeling like there is something I have to do. I experience the most peaceful loneliness and unity the moment my knees meet the floor in adoration. There is no greater serenity than to be able to come before the Lord and give him my plans, fears, and worries.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”