When Anxiety Keeps You Awake


When Anxiety Keeps You Awake

Kacie Bryant

5 mins

It is 1:35 am, and I’m wide awake.

The fear of what is happening all around me is consuming and overwhelming. I feel like the world spiraling out of control, and there is nothing I can do about it. But I’m learning how to respond from my deeper identity—an imperfect person who follows the God who can get us all through this.

I can’t control the schools closing and my kids being home for the next two weeks. I can’t control every major sporting event getting canceled, including the NCAA tournament (as a Kentucky fan that hurt). I can’t control the shortage of toilet paper (seriously, why toilet paper?) I can’t control the stock market having the worst crash since 1987. So in the midst of what feels like chaos, what can I control? I can control how I will respond.

I don’t want to respond in fear but the exact opposite of fear. So, of course, I Googled antonyms of fear. In hindsight, I guess I could have prayed first, but God totally uses Google, too. There are lots and lots of antonyms for fear, but the one word that stuck out to me was solace.

Solace was defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as to give comfort to in grief or misfortune. Instead of adding more fear to the people around me, I want to be a voice of comfort. I love how the Bible puts in in Phillippians 4:5-6:

Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.

I have really been trying to be a voice of comfort, especially with my family, but I’m going to be honest—it has been hard. There is a lot of fear coming from my children about what the future holds. Questions I can’t answer like is their track season canceled? Do we get to go on Spring Break? Will they go back to school this year?

And for a moment of total exhaustion and frustration, I broke down to my husband. Everything I have been suppressing while I tried to put on a positive attitude finally came out. I had to be brutally honest with him that even though I believe there is a God who is looking out for us, the negativity all around is suffocating me, and I am scared.

Want to know what happened on the other side of honest confession? He became my voice of comfort. He was able to remind me we will get through this because we believe in something bigger. God is reminding me through Doug I don’t have to go through this alone. So I’m taking steps to practically remind myself and turn my anxiety into peace.

I’m being honest with my husband and my children. Admitting “negative” emotions like fear is the first step to getting through them. Acknowledging what we feel (instead of ignoring it) is how we move from trying to talk ourselves into “happy thoughts” to actual surrender and real faith. I’m letting them know that I don’t have all the answers, and that is OK, but we can bring everything to God.

I have started a group text thread with my friends who are all working moms, and our kids are going to public school at home. It’s a place where we can talk honestly about what’s going on and encourage each other and even laugh, especially when it’s the first day of school at your house and your kids all sleep in. I’m assuming that’s OK, right? These texts from my friends remind me I’m not alone. We don’t have it all figured out, and that’s OK.

The simplest thing I started doing more is praying. And not just praying at the dinner table with my kids or at night with my husband, but honest to goodness, every second I have downtime—prayer. I pray for the safety of my family, friends and community. I pray for a cure. I pray God will stop the spread. I pray for our leaders. I pray. I pray because I know when I’m praying, it’s bringing me solace because God is truly comforting me. When people around want me to panic, God is saying to me:

Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.

Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

  1. What strikes you most about Kacie’s article? Why?

  2. What do you feel the most anxious about? Write down as many as you can—from big ones to small ones.

  3. What other emotions are leaking out or getting pushed down? Try to name as many as you can. Then imagine yourself handing them to God. That might sound weird, but actually say (in your mind, out loud, or in a journal), God, please take these lists. Give me Your peace instead.

  4. For extra points (and extra breakthrough), share this with someone else. Be honest about what you’re wrestling through, because someone else might be struggling with the same thing or may be able to be a voice of solace for you. We’re always stronger with other people. Give it a try.

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Kacie Bryant
Meet the author

Kacie Bryant

Florence Community Pastor, mother of 3, and wife to Doug. I'm an authentic and vulnerable writer who shares all aspects of her life—good, bad and ugly. From the struggles in my marriage, to raising children and my body image, I really doesn't shy away from any topic. My hope is when you read my articles, you walk away feeling that you're not alone, and there is always hope in Jesus.

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