You get up in the morning. You have a shower. You get dressed.
It should be a normal day but you can feel your chest getting heavy.
You dry your hair.
It’s 9am in the morning and your jaw is aching already — no, stinging — from all the tension in your face. You keep trying to ignore it. No, you tell yourself, today will not be like that. You pray. You ask for help and go looking for your shoes. Where did I put them this time? When I got home last night, I —
The next thing you know, you’re curled up in a corner in your room, rubbing your hands up and down your neck because it feels like cannonball is wedged between your collarbones. The tears come, the shaking starts and you’re desperately searching for something — anything — to take the pain away.
Don’t be anxious. Trust in the Lord.
You start rocking back and forth. You’re pathetic, your mind sneers. I don’t even know why I bother.
Jesus, you whisper back.
You want to scream. Except you can’t scream because your throat has closed up even while your chest is being sliced open by a blunt, bread knife. You dig your nails into your skin but the pain barely registers. I hate this. I hate You.
I hate me most of all.
You’d run away if you could but you’d have to take yourself with you and you are the only thing you want to escape right now.
Those who trust in the Lord will never be put to shame, those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.
Then why, Jesus, why am weak with shame?
I do trust, I do believe, you want to shout — but how can I give you what I don’t have? How many times do I have to overcome this before it is overcome? If I could trust you more, I would. If I had anything more to give, I would give it.
I would give anything to be free from this, I would —
Stop fighting, little girl.
Stop fighting, little one.
This is not a failure and fear isn’t the enemy. You don’t need to fear it. You don’t need to push it away or push on through. Stop fighting. You don’t need to keep tormenting yourself like this. Stop guarding your heart and watching your thoughts. You are no vigilante and this war is not yours to fight.
Do not be afraid, my darling one.
Do not be afraid to be afraid.
Don’t run from it or deny it or pretend it’s not there. This fear that traps you, it is my fear. These tears are my tears. This pain is my pain.
You are not alone and this is not your fight.
Lean back against the wall and breathe. Lean back into the Lord and tell me what you see, tell me what you hear. Listen to your breath, watch the light as it moves across the room.
Lean back and lay down your fight.
This is my fight and I have already won.
Jesus, you whisper.