Some may say that “comparison is the thief of joy,” but I say that anxiety isn’t too far behind. In addition to current events and stressors in my personal life, there is no shortage of triggers for my anxious mind, especially with the internet so readily available at our fingertips. I’ve battled severe anxiety for a large portion of my life, and I must admit that, sometimes, it can be crippling and has caused me to second-guess the gifts that God blessed me with.
College is a time of new experiences. The opportunities are endless, especially within the Greek System. But with a plethora of doors to walk through and rooms to explore comes even more chances for anxiety to wreak havoc on what’s supposed to be a time of growth, joy, and enlightenment.
Following Jesus is no different. You must have faith in the unknown, which is extremely difficult for an anxious person. One of the challenges that God gave me was to learn where my anxiety stems from. As I continued to build my relationship with Christ, I’ve realized that my fear is not of what I know, but of what I don’t know. I am terrified of letting go and losing control, but that is also something that holds me back from using my gifts for God’s glory.
In this passage from the book of 2 Timothy, Paul writes a letter to his spiritual son, Timothy, stating that we are given the gift of life because we belong to Christ and to not let fear keep us from using the gifts God gave us.
2 Timothy 1:6-7
6 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
Questions to Consider
- What does Paul remind Timothy of?
- What does the Spirit that God gave us do?
- What things usually cause your anxiety to increase? How do you usually respond to them?
- How can the Spirit help you conquer feelings of anxiety in your personal life, in your Greek organization, and so on?
- What are some of your greatest gifts? How does anxiety hold you back from reaching your fullest potential?
- What are some ways that you can use your gifts to bless your Greek organization and the world?
In my roughest times, having sisters who understood and were supportive was so helpful, but it made giving my anxieties to God more difficult. With time I realized that even though my sisters are great for that immediate relief and gratification, only God can truly alleviate my fears and restore my strengths. I realize now that I need both community and God, but I can’t expect community to provide what only God can.
In speaking with God and asking Him to deliver me from fear, I also ask Him to help me let go of the unknown and completely give it to Him. If we are constantly trying to take control of every aspect of our lives, we don’t allow space for God’s plan to really take effect. We may also inadvertently miss out on all the good things God has in place for us. I know that’s been true for me.
Just as we saw in 2 Timothy, God did not create us to be fearful. He created us to be strong, with many talents to share with the world for the advancement of His Kingdom. It is not a coincidence that we possess the talents that we do, and it’s about time that we move forward and allow God’s love to shine through. For me, trusting that God would provide for me in the midst of my fears was the first step towards living without fear; however, without the God-given talents of various medical professionals, antidepressants, and consistent therapy, I do not believe that I would have been able to sustain a peace of mind long enough to truly let go of my fears and live up to my greatest potential. God has been able to work through me through my writing and public speaking. Sharing my experiences with Greek IV, writing for my personal mental health blog, and building community on my social media platforms have all enabled me to confidently share God’s love and the gifts He gave me with people from all walks of life.
What is one way you want to move towards stepping out of fear this holiday season? What opportunities do you have to live out your God-given gifts?
Khai is a Clemson Greek IV alumna and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. You can find her blog at khaiskhronicles.wordpress.com/ or find her on Instagram @thetinyk.