anxiety,  trust

Fear-colored glasses

When we see the world with rose-colored glasses, we see it with a positive outlook, maybe even better than how it actually is.

Are there other types of lenses that color the way we see the world?

Yesterday I realized I’ve been wearing a different kind of lens these past few months– a pair of fear-colored glasses that amplified my anxiety and catastrophized the unknowns.

I started wearing these metaphorical glasses in November. With positive feedback from an agent at a writing conference and the quiet knowledge of a baby in my womb, I went from pure delight and hope to dread pretty quickly. I started to fear rejection with my writing– what if it disappoints those whose approval I seek? What if I’m an imposter and actually no good at this at all? What if this isn’t actually God’s calling for me and I’m just trying to call the shots? I went from a pretty consistent writing routine and schedule to a screeching halt, paralyzed by my own perfectionism and fear.

And with this little one, now eighteen weeks and starting to wiggle around in my belly, I’ve experienced a new kind of anxiety. That “what ifs” started as a whisper and have grown louder, with each story of pregnancy loss I read, or when I wake up in the middle of a night with a now regular nightmare of miscarriage. Last week it hit a breaking point when my anxiety was so bad I realized this isn’t normal. I should be able to enjoy this absolute blessing and thank the Lord for where He’s brought our family. But I can’t.

Ryan gently said to me this weekend something that stuck. “I think you’ve experienced so many hard things that you’re just waiting for the next hard thing to happen.” Oof. Yes. I realized over the past few days that I had picked up these lenses, shaped by the trauma and pain I’ve endured. I tend to hold my breath in anticipation of chaos, or I wait with expectancy for the other shoe to drop. Rather than glasses that I can easily remove, the lenses have become a regular part of my day- more like a pair of permanent contacts. Can you relate?

So yesterday, in the midst of community, with the Holy Spirit’s conviction, and through the loving encouragement of someone dear to me, I realized I’ve been looking at the Lord and my circumstances through the lens of anxiety and fear. In the middle of our time of worship, scales fell from my eyes and I could see clearly once again. I’d forgotten that my God is trustworthy. That He is good no matter what we walk through. I’ve tried to cling tightly to control instead of surrendering my dreams and desires to Him. Again, He is trustworthy to hold these things.

So today I pray, and invite you to pray with me if you struggle with fear:

Lord, remove the scales from our eyes. Help us to see clearly. Give us vision to see this world as You see it, and to see You as You truly are– good, merciful, steadfast, and trustworthy. When we struggle to believe Your promises, Your goodness, Your faithfulness, will you send the Holy Spirit to convict us and bring community to encourage us? When we wrestle with anxiety and trembling over the what ifs, our perfectionism, or our past pain, we pray that You would surround us with Your perfect love. Cast out the darkness of our fear, and help us to walk by Your light. 

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