Anxiety, my old friend.

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I rub my eyes and blink around the room. The stillness of the morning engulfs me and I sip my coffee nervously. It’s happened again.

My mind can barely can do the very thing it’s gotten up to do–pray. Just six hours earlier, I fell asleep restless and jumpy, the sort of half-commitment you make to shut your brain off and go to sleep when you’re anxious.

Anxiety. I could feel the beast purring next to me as I tried to formulate coherent thoughts.

But I can’t pray– I’ve subconsciously made the decision to fix all my problems before bringing them before God. Anxiety hums on happily beside me.

I’ve found myself fighting and feeding the beast of anxiety almost daily this past year. He’s a natural companion to shifts in stability, change and the dawn of something new. My life has been full of newness this year. Good new, wonderful new, the best– yet vulnerable to the batting, tormenting paws of Anxiety.

I scan the pages of my Bible as more of a formality this morning. Unable to quiet my thoughts long enough to even utter one prayer under my breath.

Out the window morning sun dances through, warming as it falls on my legs and arms. Birds chirp on, unaware of the battle for serenity raging inside me.

My eyes flit back to the page and catch these words: “To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.”

Pit. Pit resonates. I read on.

“Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I left up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.”

I follow this litany of pleas until the Psalmist takes a turn for the schizophrenic. This can’t be the same Psalm, I scan back down the page. But it is.

“Blessed be the LORD! for he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”

I’m shocked. Anxiety stops its steady roar and looks up at me in alarm.

The Psalmist praises God for answering his prayer– in the same breath as asking him to hear it. I’m shocked and yet it makes sense. It challengs everything I profess to be true. If I really believe God is everything he says he is, then of course it makes sense to transition straight into praise. The birds outside chirp on cheerfully.

He has heard my prayer. He has inclined his ear. He has already provided a way. I need only trust. I could feel the challenge swell in my heart, could I praise God in faith for answered prayer before it’s answered?

Anxiety and I look at each other. He is fading before my eyes. My heart takes a timid step toward courage.

Isn’t this the definition of complete faith in a God who professes to be wholly faithful?

Obedience to step out in faith seems unattainable. And yet, it’s okay to step out completely terrified,  hopeful.

So this morning, I finished my coffee and stepped out into today.

Praise him for all that’s yet to come.