But that’s not what I am here to write about. I am here to mention some lessons I have been learning. I titled my last post as a “why you should do this” post. After receiving a comment on it that I at first felt defensive about, I realized the reader was right. Anxiety wears different faces. It is not a one size fits all. While something may work for me and I feel like others should try it, this does not mean it is a proper approach for everyone. I meant it not out of a place of pushiness or finger wagging reproach. I meant it as an encouragement. Something had worked for me and I was excited for others to see things my way. But that isn’t the best way to approach my readers.
I have been reading “Uninvited” by Lysa TerKeurst. An amazing book about how to overcome the feeling of being left out, less than and lonely, and accepting our true identity and worth in Christ. In chapter 7 she talked about the importance of not writing “I should’s” but rather writing “me too’s”. Instead of me sitting here and saying, “this worked for me you should try it”, I could rather approach you saying, “you feel this way? Me too. Here’s what helped me”. This is a more personal and compassionate way of helping others. And that is what I want. To be helpful. For you to read my blog and feel hopeful, not hurt. I have since changed the name of my post, in hopes that others will hear me say, “me too, I’m there with you. Here is what helps me feel valued”. Thank you to the reader who pointed that out to me.
A second lesson I am constantly learning, is not to give up. I feel a lot like I am writing to open air here, talking to a blank wall and like a tree that falls in a forest, no one can hear the noise I am making. But I got a message from an old friend today. One that said they appreciated me being an advocate for those who feel estranged by their anxiety. That me speaking here on this blog and on social media helps them feel less alone. I think that has encouraged me for the next month. Enough that I felt the urge to write for the first time in a good while. I am thankful for those God has put in my life. New friends, old friends and yet to be friends. It is amazing how much we can feel fresh and renewed just by spending time in the presence of someone who listens to us. And the fulfillment we get from listening to them is just as great. I reconnected with another friend last night, and our time spent spilling our hopes and dreams for our future careers was at the very least, renewing. Like a rekindling of a flame, speaking to those who know our hearts about lost hopes and fervent dreams can feel like a reigniting passion. I am grateful for those friends who listen to me repeat the same troubles over and over again.
Truth is, we will always have struggles. But having others there to lighten the load makes all the difference. I hope you have someone you feel you can turn to when your heart needs reminding. I am here if you ever need someone to talk to. And I am praying that if you don’t have someone close, that God will being someone in your life to say “you feel that way, me too. Let’s help one another.”
Life isn’t a fairy tale and we don’t all have those giddy feelings about opening up to others. But take it from someone who has lived life being closed off to others for far too long. I am here before you finally saying, “me too”.