by Jamie Grace
When I was seven, I made a decision to love Jesus for the rest of my life.
When I was 11, I was diagnosed with anxiety (as well as Tourette Syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder).
I daily experience an exceptional amount of anxiety.
I daily experience an exceptional amount of faith.
And every day I struggle with the fear of allowing the wrong side to win.
My faith tells me that anything is possible. It tells me to allow my Creator’s strength to be made perfect in my weaknesses. It tells me that while I am not perfect, my Creator doesn’t make mistakes. I am loved as I am. Yet I am in need of perfect grace to carry me. The grace is available—new mercies every day. And if beauty were a sound, my faith would be the loudest.
But anxiety’s voice is speaking too.
My anxiety tells me that silence and uncertainty mean I am not loved. It tells me that if I make a mistake, I should replay it until I make a new mistake that’s worse—and then I will start replaying that one. Anxiety tells me that people might not like me—a problem that is my responsibility (it’s not) and needs to be solved right away (it doesn’t). It tells me that I can’t get out of bed sometimes, so I stay there. It leaves me in utter panic that if I go out or leave my room, I am making a big mistake.
It’s difficult to understand because it’s hard to explain, but if you know, you know. I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to figure out the line between my clinically diagnosed anxiety and my character flaws and emotional weaknesses—and how in the world I should recover.
I tried medication, prayer, counseling. I tried burying all of my feelings until they had no choice but to boil up to and over the surface (spoiler alert—that never ends well). It feels as though I’ve tried it all. And while I have moments of relief and peace, my daily battle is still being fought.
Though I don’t know why anxiety is part of God’s story for my life, I do know that it is not the story.
My life is purposed: to emulate joy in a way that might point others to its Source. And my God is too big, too loving to let something like anxiety get in the way of His plans for me.
I like the way it feels to sing. But more than that, I like to know that the words I’m sharing just might help someone get through the week, the day—the moment. And maybe, if I really press in to what it means to feel, the words can reach me too.
The joy in writing and sharing what’s on my mind is one of the greatest thrills in life. Singing, talking, creating a video, dancing, writing . . . I get anxious because I’m ready to share the next word, yet I’m at peace because I get to.
I’m on a journey, and maybe you are, too, to find and accept as much peace as I can. The great, the challenging, and the everywhere in between of finding quiet in the midst of diagnosed anxiety, overthinking, and overanalyzing. I have good news for you, my fellow journeyer: God is with us! In his goodness and faithfulness, even on the days when it’s hard to hear anything but the voice of anxiety, God is here; He is always here.
His strength is being made perfect in my weakness.
His perfect grace carries me.
He hears me when I pray.
His peace is my refuge.
His goodness is in my life’s song.
His joy is found in living out my calling.
His faithfulness is my comfort.
His mercies are new every morning.
And whether or not you have clinically diagnosed anxiety or deal with any other trace or form of anxious or racing thoughts, I hope you know that it’s okay to feel that way and still have faith. Faith that you can still have joy. Faith that you can still have a song to sing—even if you’re not a good singer.
If we’re being honest, our faith during these times is what can show us just how powerful faith truly is. It’s easy to believe that everything will be okay when everything is okay. It’s the moments when we feel like everything is crumbling before us and completely falling apart that faith proves just how powerful it can be.
We’re going to get through this. God is with us.
Jamie Grace, author of Finding Quiet: My Journey to Peace in an Anxious World, is a two-time Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and actress. Diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, OCD, ADHD, and anxiety at a young age, Jamie actively advocates for joy, wellness, and mental health through the lens of music, film, and faith.