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When change makes you anxious

Jess Barlow, 14th May 2018
Tags: Life Blog Anxiety Challenges Insecurity Jesus Mental health

When faced with an unexpected change in life, many of us are left paralysed with fear, and anxiety that overwhelms our every thought. The what ifs and the but whys consume us and convince us that everything is falling apart. There are sleepless nights, forever falling tears, and an unshakeable desire for control. It can all feel too much! 

Person shivering in bed
Image Credit: Tenor

I have found myself in this place in the last few weeks. It caused me to hit a real low point. I am not completely out of the other side yet, but I am further on than I was a week ago, a day ago, and even an hour ago.

Most of my anxiety is surrounding things I think may happen, and not things I have solid proof will happen.

That's because I am slowly learning that change isn't always negative. Most of my anxiety is surrounding things I think may happen, and not things I have solid proof will happen.

Sometimes, when things feel like they’re falling apart, it is actually God’s way of making things fall into place.

Sometimes, when things feel like they’re falling apart, it is actually God’s way of making things fall into place. His way. If we can grasp a hold of that, then we can kick anxiety in the face. We can stand strong through change and our faith will be unshaken.

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I have never had a full time job until now. I worked evenings in a shop when I was in college, but up until a year ago, I never had to work full time. I never had to pay my own bills, or be an adult. I went straight from school to college, and then to university where my student loan paid for everything. I then had to leave due to my eating disorder and mental health, and went straight to a residential recovery programme, which was paid for by the Government. I left there aged 21, with no experience of the real world, and no experience of holding down a house, and a job. I had no idea how to pay a bill, or take care of my finances. 

After a year of working full time as a receptionist, and running my own dance company, I finally felt comfortable with my life. My finances were in green. I was in a good routine, (which is something that I find very important in staying well mentally), and I had built trust and friendship with my manager and the people I worked with. 

So when I returned from a two week holiday in America to find out people had lost their jobs, and my manager was going to be changing, and the team I have spent the last year working with was going to completely change, as well as other changes to do with work, I completely freaked! My anxiety was through the roof. I cried for most of the day every day for around a week. I just felt everything was tipped upside down. 

Man blowing into a paper bag for air
Image Credit: Tenor

Reading this, it sounds like a dramatic response, but when you are faced with uncertainty and change, it can be truly terrifying.

I felt like my whole routine was being messed up. I was scared the relationship I had with my manager was going to completely change and that I’d have to form a whole new relationship with my new manager. I was sad because I knew I was going to miss the team I’ve been working with, and I felt guilty that I still had a job when others didn’t. I was completely fearful of the change.

Fear of tomorrow only robs today of its joy.

This is something you may be facing right now in your own life. You may be starting secondary school, or you may be leaving school to go to college, and the idea of everything completely changing is scaring you, even consuming you. Just like me, you may be scared that you’ll lose contact with the people you have spent the last five years doing life with. You may be worried about having to form new relationships with new friends. You may be sad because you are going to miss everything you had before ‘the change’ occurs. But let me tell you this, fear of tomorrow only robs today of its joy! The Bible says “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

We have to make a conscious decision to not let fear of change keep us from living in the moment.

We have to make a conscious decision to not let fear of change keep us from living in the moment. It's difficult, I am not for one second saying it is easy, but if every time we feel anxiety about change, we speak over it and declare that the Bible tells us not to worry about tomorrow, it will surely get easier. 

Through all the fear and anxiety, and the ever changing world, Jesus is constant. He never changes. His love, word and grace always remains the same.

So if we cling onto one thing during this season of difficult change, let it be him, because he is the only thing that we can be one hundred percent sure will never change. People change, situations change, the world is full of unexpected change, but one thing will always remain and that is Jesus.
 
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

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