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My name is Stevie and I have anxiety.

Anxiety is a vicious and paralyzing monster. It has a way of pouncing and sinking its claws in and sucking me dry of everything.

Dry of energy, of motivation, of peace, of hope. 

At its worst, I was barely able to leave my home. I was so exhausted, physically and mentally and emotionally, that waking up and pulling myself out of bed was often the only meaningful thing I could accomplish in a day. 

 At its best, now, it seems to wait in the shadows, ready to jump on me in a weak moment. 

 In between the worst and the best I discovered how to nurse my anxiety rather than fight it.

 I went on and then off of multiple medications. I studied anxiety in general and became an expert in my own specifically.  I learned my triggers. I adjusted certain behaviors. I began meditating on scripture. I made sleep and rest priorities. 

I leaned hard into God, made space to listen to Him, and I learned His voice. 

And, although I didn’t realize it until recently, I learned to capture my thoughts. 

This little book isn’t a cure for anything – it’s just my little gift to you, something I think might help, something I think might point you to God, something I hope you will love. 

Our Father in heaven,

Let your spirit so saturate this book, these pages, these words that anyone who encounters them cannot help but be moved toward you.

Let every believer who holds these pages in their hands experience a shift in their hearts, souls, minds toward you, toward the Kingdom.

Let what the enemy meant to harm us, to torment us, to distract us, be turned against him – let these anxious thoughts be redeemed in such a way that holes are blown into the plans of hell.  

Most of all, let those who read these words be ever more unsatisfied with the world, ever more parched and starving for you.

Let it be.

In the precious and powerful name of Jesus of Nazareth, son of God, Savior, Lord.  

It’s funny how one day I can be in a state of near- full surrender, of kingdom-mindedness, of eternal focus, and the next day I can be a tightly wound ball of anxiety with my eyes fixated on the temporal and my thoughts magnifying what isn’t going my way.

As I worked on this collection of little writings, the things I say to God or to myself or to others - and the things I think God says to us - when we are rolling in the muck of it, I found myself incredibly grateful.

The knot in my stomach, the tsunami of thoughts, the tightness in my chest, the trembling limbs - they light up the cockpit of my life and remind me, painfully, to get out of the pilot’s seat.

In this way, the anxiety is a gift. For me it is a clear heads up to get my head up.

It still sucks. I don’t love it. At its best it is mildly aggravating, 
at its worst it is soul crushing. It’s a monster we won’t be bothered with on the other side of eternity.

But I’m grateful for the way it has taught me to shift focus.

For how it teaches me surrender.

For how it won’t let me be the pilot - how as soon as I take control of the cockpit it wakes up and sounds every alarm.

I don’t love it, but I’m grateful. 

“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 in me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

Sometimes I can barely breathe from the weight of it.

Sometimes I want to shake and pace and scream with frustration over being stuck here where I’ve never felt I was meant to be.

And while it is comforting to repeat truths to myself – to remind myself God is awesome, to remind myself life is short, to remind myself this isn’t home, to remind myself of all the times He has provided and loved and come through for me – sometimes what my heart needs is to leak or pour or gush out the things weighing it down.

I need to lament. And because I am a writer who tends toward the poetic, these little lamentations come out of me. I’ve decided to put them here in this book because much like the ones in scripture, and many of the Psalms, I think it can be a comfort to recognize your own pain and suffering and frustration in the lamentations of another. 

My wish for these is that one or more would leave you feeling less alone, less isolated, and in such a state you might look up and find the one who loves you most has been there all along, unchanging, unwavering.

He is good. I cannot ever hope to understand Him, but I can become more and more convinced He is good. I cannot figure out why He does what He does and doesn’t do things I think He should, but I can fall more and more in love with Him. 

And I don’t have to hide the things in my heart – the sorrows and the doubts and the anger – because He knows them already and He has already loved me through it and He wants me laid bare before Him. 

I think the most important thing to remember, when you are caught up in anxious thoughts, is this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

You are not the only one who has faced these. There are millions of people out here who know you aren’t crazy, who have walked through this same thing, who have the same weird, seemingly out-of-control thoughts running across their own reader boards.

Anxiety wants to isolate you.

Don’t let it. 

And not only are there people like me who know this path – you have a God who knows every cell in your body, every thought in your head. He loves you and He is with you and He is for you.