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Anxiety: The Thorn in My Flesh

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“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
You know that unsettled knot in your chest that makes everything feel like something terrible is about to happen, and you can stop it if you just do more, or do the right thing, but you’re not sure what that “more” is, or what that “right” thing is? Or even why it feels like something terrible is about to happen?

stressed out anxiety thorn in flesh

It’s a pretty crappy feeling, but I’m so used to it that it can take me a while to stop and pray about it.

Last night, I snuggled with my 11 year old for the first time in a long time. She’s my most affectionate (and clingiest) child. As the oldest, she’s been through a lot and has been asked to carry a lot. I tend to rush bedtime more than I’d like, so last night I stayed with her. Of course I fell asleep.

Unfortunately, I don’t sleep well when somebody else is touching me. Not even my husband. Although I do love to cuddle and I’m super affectionate, when it’s time to sleep, we roll over and go to sleep. When my babies were still nursing, I did a lot more co-sleeping. Even then, I’d put a little distance between us after they fell asleep. As toddlers, if they climbed into bed with us, I’d have to take them back to their bed or stay half-awake all night.

She wrapped herself around me like a barnacle all night. Bless her. On one hand, it was lovely and nostalgic in a way. She’s growing so fast, I won’t have these moments much longer.

On the other hand, I barely slept. I finally mustered enough energy to go to my own bed at 4am. Of course, I then overslept and in my rush to get to work, completely forgot about my morning prayer time. Not her fault, but it’s one of those things.

All day today, I’ve been trying to play catch up. My anxiety levels have been steadily rising over some minor stresses, and a panic attack seemed inevitable if things continued. Then I realized that I hadn’t prayed yet.

God doesn’t always take the anxiety away, but He is always sufficient.

Sometimes praying instantly calms my racing heart, but most of the time it’s enough for me to simply remember Him. I don’t know if anxiety is the “thorn in my flesh” or not, but I do know God is with me. He doesn’t take it away, but He is there, and His grace is sufficient for me.

That’s all I need.

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Sitting on top of Pike's Peak in Colorado, a little over 2 years sober.

Hi! I'm Ashley, and my sobriety date is May 6, 2015. I write to share my experience, strength, and hope in recovery. On any given day, you can find me developing websites, writing, or chauffeuring kids around.  Read my story...

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