I’ve been biting my fingernails a lot. I pick and play with my cuticles when I’m anxious. I’ve been nervous about a lot of things recently — more things than I care to admit.
I’m nervous about my kids drowning, the number in our bank account, the responsibilities I’ve committed to.
I’m embarrassed because I haven’t taught my kids how to do chores, memorize verses, or how to write thank you cards.
I dread so many things right now: I dread school starting, I dread the dentist appointment I have next week, I dread making dinner tonight.
I’m worried about my oldest becoming a teenager with his frequent emotional outbursts. I’m worried that my second son feels the weight of my anger. I’m worried my middle child is just that — the middle child. I am terrified that I am not present enough with my younger kids.
I’m ashamed because I don’t pray enough. I can go days without praying. I simply forget. As I’m typing this, I stop to pick at my nails. I told you I was nervous.
I cluster and clamor under my to-do list while my mind is fighting off my emotions with my logic. But logic can never appease my soul. Logic can never properly put my anxiety into place. It can never love me back.
When I stop, really stop, it makes me want to sleep. I’m so exhausted by the weight I hold in the middle of my chest. I can’t handle it all. I can’t handle all of me.
I whisper this prayer, “God, I have so many fears. I have so many lives and relationships to manage. I just might get swallowed up whole by the amount of stress I’m holding.” My heartbeat intensifies. But Jesus is here, and He says, “Come.” I don’t have to physically come, but I have to let my heart come out of hiding.
I let all my fears come up to breathe. I don’t push them down or away. I feel them. I take my hands and hold them open.
Come. I can let all my ache come up. I don’t have to fix, heal, change, or pretend I’m better than I am. I don’t have to manage my ache with “right” thinking or good behavior. There is room for my mess, chaos, and incomplete sentences to come up and be with God. I can let all of me come up and come undone. I can find Christ kindly motioning me to keep talking. He doesn’t roll His eyes, shame me with “shoulds”, or make me wait my turn.
Come. Over and over. Come.
Come isn’t one more thing I have to do. He is inviting me to let truth speak. I give words to my internal world. There is room for me to be noisy, awkward, and to ramble on and on.
I come with my little problems, irritations, and big concerns. I bring it all. That massive bag of boulders I’m carrying — I bring it too. I talk about how mad I am at myself and my kids and my friend who never calls me back. I’m angry.
And just when I think God has had enough of me and my venting, I see Him. He is beside me. He is with me, shoulder to shoulder. He says, “That’s a lot you’ve been holding inside.” I nod and cry. And instead of biting my fingernails, I wipe my tears. I let all of me come up to be loved by all of Him.
Just when I think God has had enough of me and my venting, I see Him. He is beside me. He is with me. -Anjuli Paschall: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
This is a beautiful and much needed baring of your soul. Anxiety touches so many women that I council with.
Thank you for being so open and honest.
Just loved this!!!!
Thanks. I wrote this a few weeks ago, but reading it again today makes me cry. I so often forget that God says, come.”
Bless you and I’m grateful for you.
Beth K. Vogt says
Such a beautifully honest post. Honesty invites more honesty … and you remind others to “Come” as we are to Him, too.
Thank you. I’ve been writing for InCourage for over a year and this post hits something really deep inside of me. Your comment means a lot.
Love this so much- speaks exactly how I feel and the weight we carry often unseen. But seen by God. Thanks for sharing x
You are so welcome. It came straight from my heart and I’m glad it blessed and encouraged you.
You are going to get a ton of feedback from this very honest transparent reflection. It’s going to touch a lot of burdened hearts, it certainly resonates with me, at this season of my life where my husband has leukemia now for the third time and I’m the primary caregiver to my 92 year old mother and I’m the Pastor to a small church. Overwhelmed is my “word of day” most days!!! Thankyou for reminding me of the invitation to “come,” extended by Jesus…. and the promise that He is already there.
Oh my goodness, you are carrying so much right now. As I type this, I am praying for you. My God give you the strength you need. I hope you see Jesus carrying you through the valley.
Sweet woman.. been there too.. thanks for articulating it so well!
Praising Him this young age you’re at and you can realize it and come to Him tethered again \0/… that’s what you teach your little people! Come to Jesus!!! Blessed are you and us reading your heart posts, much love to you and yours xoxo
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
Dear Anjuli, Your words have given me solace and hope this morning. There are times that I want to hide my feelings and not vent to God,like I should be in a ‘perfect’ state of mind and only thankful. But you remind me that when I have let it all out with Jesus, there’s a peace that wraps around me like a blanket that I can snuggle into and be thankful.(Also, I currently have a bandaid on my finger from picking at my cuticle after a stressful/worrisome afternoon. Happy to know I’m not alone.)
Thank you and God bless ❤
I am such a finger picker! It’ the worst habit! My kids are always telling me to “Stop.” I hope we can both grow in venting to God. He loves us. I also live the image of being wrapped in a blanket! Thank you for sharing.
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
Thank you <3
You so eloquently shared what has been in my soul for the last few months. Thank you for capturing the emotions and fears and most importantly, the God of the universe and His love for us – meeting us right where we are. You have been an encouragement for me this morning. Thank you!
Thank you! Your comment was so encouraging. This post was very real and personal for me. I’m so grateful it blessed you.
Anjuli, I love this post. I, too, am a mother with anxieties and feelings that I am not enough. That weight on your chest you described? I know it, too. Yesterday, I had a day where I let all of those feelings come to the surface in my journal. I wondered if it was okay to be so honest. Maybe I’m just a whiner, I thought. But, I, too felt Him sitting there beside me, shoulder to shoulder. I am so glad you shared so honestly. I am so glad we’re not alone.
Thank you for your comment. You aren’t alone. I’ve felt for so long I had to bring my best self to God. But more often than not, God wants to be right in the middle of my mess- yet I push Him out. So, I’m learning right along beside you.
Michele Morin says
Oh, Anjuli… so much grace to you. Thank you for documenting this prayer journey into his loving heart.
You are so very welcome Michele!
Lara Sadowski says
Anjuli, my friend, I needed to read this! God Bless you for being transparent! I, too, have battled anxiety for years, and thanks to The Lord, my doctor, and my family and friends, I am better. But I still have bouts of crippling anxiety, and I thank you for the reminder to take everything to The Lord and “Come.”
Praise God from Whom all Blessings flow!
Joy in Jesus,
You are welcome. This was a hard post to write. It was hard to let others into my midnight prayer and fears. So your words mean a lot. I’m still learning to not edit my prayers. I also am learning that God’s invitation to “come” isn’t just physical, but emotional. “Come” isn’t just one more thing I have to do. That is so freeing. All my love to you, friend.
You are not alone. Walking the shaking road to Jesus right beside you.
Thank you, Anjuli, for sharing these powerful thoughts. Worries certainly can be overwhelming. And God can handle all of our dumping on Him. He’s that big and strong and full of compassion. He says: “Come!” And I believe and step a bit closer .
yes, and God isn’t overwhelmed by us! What a miracle. I feel like I overwhelm everyone. I have to keep believing that God step towards me. All my love, friend.
Patricia Raybon says
Beautiful, Anjuli! Yes, “give words to your internal world.” Then the Word of Life meets you right there. To Him be the glory. Thanks so much for sharing your struggle and His triumph in all of it. Blessings today, beautiful servant! With His love, Patricia
Thank you, friend! Your response means so much to me. Sending you all my love!
Rosetta Reeves says
Wow!! Beautiful….. thank you for this story. Thank God I dont have these days (much) anymore but in the past, before I started seeking Jesus this was my every day life. “Come” I love it.
“Come.” It is always such a beautiful invitation.
Thank you for being here.
I needed to read this so much. I am drowning with struggles of being a working mother, my two kids are a handful and work is just too much at the moment. On top of managing the household and have no real help I just feel like I getting suffocated in daily life. I prayer for a time when I can get a break, but know that’s not going to happen anytime soon. My mind also races with all sorts of worries like what you have described. I feel like I fail everyday. I feel like every facet of my life is going wrong, but I still have to get up every day and go through all the motions. But each day I am reminded that it’s a new day and I pray that God can get me through each day and he does.
Thank you for your comment. As I was reading it, I thought- her words are her prayer. Even in the drowning, she is reaching to Jesus… I’m not sure there is a more powerful prayer. Praying for you now.
Kathy Cheek ~ First Breath of Morning Devotional says
Many of us needed to hear this today!
I am reminded that He is my strength and He is always with me and never moves. If there is distance, then it was me and I always find myself running back to Him for the intimate relationship I know He wants to have with me every single day.
A short devotional from my book:
Thanks for sharing. I use to interpret God’s distant as something I did wrong. But I’ learning how God never leaves, but the feeling of His absence is a way He grows me. He is growing me and purging me of my needing to feel Him. He is purging my heart of its idols. I am so grateful God is always close. Always.
So grateful for your presence here.
It’s like you personally know me and my anxious thoughts. I love the part about Jesus listening and not rolling eyes or telling me what I should’ve/could’ve/needed/wanted. Thank you!!!!
I suppose we are all sisters, right 🙂
There are times when I hear a song or read something and it literally sounds like the words I would put on paper if only I could describe how I was feeling so accurately! This is one of those times. Reading this sounded EXACTLY how I felt, EXACTLY like me! I bite my cuticles and pick them as well, I have anxiety and sometimes things become so overwhelming that I dont even know where to begin with my prayers! Thank you so much, this was so needed and you’re writing it inspiring to me as I want to write as well. Thank you once again and God bless!
Ahh I’m not the only one! Keep writing. Words are always my way back to Jesus.
This was so raw and honest. Thank you for your transparency.
Peace and Blessings,
You are welcome, friend.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
I don’t have any kids. But there are days I don’t get it right with God. I sometimes forget to pray and read his word the Bible. We are all human. Don’t please Anjuli beat yourself up over this. Remember you are still loved my The King of the World. That king is Jesus. He will always be there for you. I often tell God I find it hard being a follower of his. Because I do at times mess up by saying and doing things I should not. Or I forget to read his word the Bible and Pray. Because my day has been so busy. But I then feel guilty. I say God please forgive me for not getting the time to pray and read your word the Bible today. Just I was so busy. That tirdness got the better of me. I also God I do find it hard to be a follower of yours but I am glad to be saved. I’d have my life no other way. Then I hear through his Holy Spirit God say Dawn don’t beat yourself up over this. I still love you. Come along side me and take time from your busy day and rest in me like it says in Matthew 11 v 28. Recharge your batteries. We can beging again. You can when do the busy things say prayers at the same time. Then stop for 15 minutes in thoes busy times each day and sit and rest in my arms reading my word. Then you will feel alot better. You will not feel guilty that you have to hold it all together. Plus try to get everything done that you need to get done. As well as spending time with me God in prayer and reading my word the Bible as in this way you are getting it done. I am proud of you Dawn for being honest with me. Anjuli you remember God is proud of you for this reading today and for being honest with him. As he loves you and us all so very Much. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little
Oh thank you, friend. Thank you for your kind and generous and graceful words. thank you. Thank you for the nudge and constant reminder that God is my father- always moving towards me. I’m working on not beating myself up. somedays it’s still very hard for me.
CYNTHIA MCGARITY says
Needed this today Anjuli. Thank you for helping all of us on our journeys through the hard and holy. Sending lots of love and peace your way.
Becky Keife says
Anjuli, as I read your post, two of my kids are arguing, I’m keenly aware of how dirty my floors are, and my soul is carrying such a weight I don’t know how to take another step nor set the burden down. But here you tell us of Jesus’ invitation to you, which is His promise to all of us — Come. I love the way you let us into the swirl and whirl of your heart and mind. You’re not alone in how you feel. Grateful for your courage to share it here. xx
Nancy Ruegg says
Praise God we can come to him as we are! We don’t have to work and wait until we’re cleaned up; he WANTS to come alongside and ease the burden, just as you’ve said (Matthew 11:28-30). What a gracious Savior he is! No doubt this post will prompt other women to “let all of [them] be loved by all of Him.” Beautiful and poignant, Anjuli!
Mary Carver says
“I can’t handle all of me.” YES. I get this. Thank you for this warm, real reminder that Jesus is waiting.
Your post really resonated with me today. I too feel the weight of the world and the responsibility of balancing work and family. It’s a pressure that I’m reminded by your post that I’m not expected to and cannot carry alone. God is our refuge. Bless you for your candor and authenticity. Your words are helping people, people like me who are chronic worriers
I love this! Thank for sharing so I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I try to do everything just right everyday. I don’t have kids and so I feel like I should be able to do it all just right. So often I forgot to let God be God, to let him be in charge and to seek and to follow Him. So often as a strong Type A woman, I feel like I need to be in charge and in control and figure everything out and I’ve noticed that on my worse days, the days that are the hardest to hold the tears back, these are the days that I don’t even realize that I haven’t read my morning devotional or my bible until the day is almost over and I think if I wouldn’t go the whole day without food or water and expect to have energy and feel good, why would I go the whole day without God and expect to have energy and feel good? “Come” so simply yet so profound. Thank you!
Lorel Kline says
Thank you for sharing. It is so true that even though we want to trust God with everything we still worry and get anxious about so many things. It is easy to say but sometimes hard to do giving it all over to Him. Our flesh is weak and we give in time and time again to worry but as we do we just have to keep reminding ourselves to let go and let God and try to rest in Him. Thank goodness He understands and does not hold it against us and just keeps holding our hand and sees us through one day at a time. Thank you Lord and thank for the reminders that we are not alone in how we feel and that You are always there.
Lori Osborne says
This post is exactly what I needed yesterday and is still resonating with me. I’ve shared it with my “people”. My friends who are also Moms living this hectic time in our lives. I thank God for you and your ability to write from your heart.
Thank you for being you and sharing your heart! Thank you we can be reminded that we can come just as we are, anxieties, fears and all! He is waiting to hold us in His arms. Not pretending we have it all together but being real and who we are at this exact moment! As women I think we need more of this to bare our souls and be vulnerable to one another. We are all cracked pots and it is only when we are real with God and others He will use us in our brokenness. It is HIS power made perfect in my weakness! Amen!
Beth Williams says
Life can get so busy & stressful. It’s often hard to manage all the balls. We frequently put more on ourselves than is necessary. Constantly volunteering for organizations, helping out at church plus
working, taking care of household & children can be to much sometimes. God understands that. Thing is He never asks us to do it all. When all that pressure comes & we feel anxious-He gently invites us to come to Him. Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” He expects us to give it all to Him. Don’t try to carry all the burdens & work load yourself. Take time daily to refresh yourself in Him. Talk to Him about your situations & seek His guidance. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He is there right beside us waiting to help. Let Him help you today.
Thank you so much for sharing these words. I have had these exact same thoughts for months and I think I am scared and often forget I can bring ALL of it to God. Thank you for this reminder! Your words have lifted me up today.
Thanks for painting the picture so beautifully of the story God is writing…… It is so comforting for me to know that whatever my struggle is, He calls me to come but He doesn’t stop there… He changes me, He changes my thinking, my heart and my patterns and He clothes me with a robe of righteousness, gives me great peace and deep contentment. I pray that as you continually surrender your anxieties to Him that He will replace them with great peace!❤️
As you can see from all the comments, this struggle resonates with so many of us women. I had this exact experience a few weeks ago. The burden of the weight in my chest just became so big that I just sat and cried and prayed to God. The amazing thing is that as I walked away from that time with God I was completely renewed. HE met me and HE comforted me and HE cleansed me. Satan loves to pile stress on us and make us believe we have to carry the burden alone. BUT GOD! When we truly bring it to Him and into His light, we are given relief and peace. Your post is like a modern day psalm. Pain brought to God’s feet always ends with hope!
TAMMIE BRAY says
THANKS SO MUCH FOR THIS REMINDER THAT HE IS JUST WAITING FOR US TO COME.
Carol L. Gonzalez says
As someone who deals with anxiety, thank you for writing this.