What the Bible says about anxiety

I have prayed and prayed about what to write about. I’ve started writing a few blogs and then they just came to a halt. I realized today I knew what i needed to write about…I’ve actually known for a while and I keep saying, “not today God…NOT TODAY.” But God pushed me and not in a bad way. I want to start off by saying I am not a medical professional. I have my degree in Psychology but so does half of America. You can pretty much google different disorders and hey, you probably know just as much as i do. But, I am going to talk about this because it’s personal. I’ve been going to therapy on and off for about 7 years. If anyone who has a mental illness knows this to be true, when you think you’re better, you think you’re ALL better. Medicine tricks you sometimes into believing you’re okay. Anxiety, for me, has been a lot like that. I thought I was better and needed no help only to take 10 steps back.

Recently, my anxiety has increased dramatically. I blame my job and having a lot on me but thats probably not the case. The case is that I think I can handle it alone then I realize I just can’t. My anxiety comes in waves. It’s a constant struggle of wanting solitude and wanting to be with friends. I want to handle my crap myself. I want to be bigger than any mental illness. Unfortunately, you can’t wish anxiety away. In a world that’s fallen & fractured, nervousness and worry lurks around every corner.

 Have you ever almost missed a step while walking down the stairs and your heart races but usually subsides within a few seconds? Imagine that feeling lasting anywhere from 2-30 minutes multiple times a day and you have no control over when or where it happens. Followed by sweating and feeling like you’re going to faint and you can not catch your breath. There’s such a stigma when it comes to mental illnesses that needs to cease. I’ve known about my anxiety for years but no one else has. I’ve been called antisocial, snobby, shy, awkward and pretty much everything except a white girl. All because no one knew I was dealing with something that wasn’t visible like a broken leg. Imagine someone telling you it’s in your head and you’re just being dramatic. It’s a constant battle of wanting to be brave and wanting to crawl in a hole and never come out because you feel like no one understands how you feel. Anxiety is relentless and there have been days where I feel like I just can’t go on. 

There is one thing that has helped me more than medicine, therapy and solitude ever could and that’s Jesus.

If anxiety, fear, stress or worry creeps up on you, remember, you are only human. That God forgave you for your sins and you are PRECIOUS. I have constant feelings of inadequacy. Like no matter what I do at my job or my relationships that I just am not enough. I always had this weird connection with the stars. Ever since I was a little kid, I could just look at them for hours and feel how powerful they are. Then I stumbled across this verse..

“Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.”- Isaiah 40:26

How much more valuable are you than the stars?? If the same God who calls stars an army, imagine what He’s doing in your favor if you are willing and unafraid.

The bible tells us that we will have trials and hardships. Anxiety is a tool that the enemy uses. Knowing that gives me extreme peace. In most cases, I am anxious over something I have no control over. That’s when God steps in.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”- Phil. 4:6

The best defense is continuously communicating with Him, sprinkled with thanksgiving. Try to confess and talk about your nervousness. 

It took me a while to seek help. Talking about what is bothering you really puts things into perspective. Saying how you are feeling out loud speaks volumes about you and that you will not be defeated. The words you say or type have complete power over your life. His word is powerful. Speak it in victory and not fear.

If you are having any of the symptoms I talked about above, i encourage you to seek medical help, but also pray. pray without ceasing. I hope you love yourself enough to take care of yourself.

“The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”-Psalm 118:6

If you are in this battle, you are not alone. The devil can use it for evil but only God can use it for good. God speaks volumes about rest in the bible. He created the Sabbath specifically for it. Rest and realize God is on your side. It’s all downhill from there.

Hello 2016, it’s me…

I hope everyone reading this has had more love, joy and unpredictability that 2015 could possibly offer. As this year draws to an end, it’s hard not to think about what 2015 brought. For some people you might hate to see it go because you can’t possibly think of another year that could top this one. For others, you might have helped 2015 pack its bags, dropped it off at the airport and never looked back in the rearview. Whatever your situation is, I hope 2016 leaves you humble and speechless. I hope you find so much love and give so much love that you look back at this time next year and thank God for 2016.

I usually think of things I want to accomplish come this time of year for the upcoming one. But this year, I got married, I bought a house, I’m in good health, all of my family is still living, I got a new job and started this wonderful messy blog. I can’t think of anything else that I need or want. So I thought about contentment. I thought about how scary that word is. How there’s so much gray to it. On one hand, you don’t want to be so content that you stop moving and shaking. On the other, you don’t want so much chaos that you wouldn’t know what contentment looked like if it was looking back at you in the mirror. So there’s an ultra fine line when it comes to being content. My version of content is to not fall into comparisons death trap. It can steal everything from you if you let it.

This year i will unfollow things that leave me wanting more. Things that leave me feeling a little less worthy of being happy. Trust me; you are so worthy of being happy. You are beautiful and wonderfully made. It is in our human nature (thanks to Adam and Eve) to want what we can’t have. It is so easy to get caught up in the idea if you have XYZ then you’ll be happy.

I want you to slow down. I want you to be content with what you have. That doesn’t mean to settle and not push yourself to be a better you. I don’t want you to compare your life to others. Unfollow people on social media if you have to. Work towards becoming the happiest you. With contentment comes letting go and that’s a hard concept for many people. I hope you leave all the things that were bad for you behind in 2015. I hope you let go of that relationship that makes you feel second best. I hope you let go of that dead end job that won’t ever promote you when you’re all too deserving. I hope you let go of that toxic friend that drains you. I hope you let go of feeling the need to look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Say yes to the ice cream.

This year, I hope to spend more time with God. I hope to be less impulsive when the world comes pressing down on me to have the latest and greatest thing. I hope you ask yourself before doing something, “how will this serve you, God?”

I started reading what the bible says about being content and this stood out:

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”- Philippians 4:11

 

“..in whatever situation I am to be content”…that is a hard one for me. I know I have had too many situations where the last thing i’ve felt is contentment. I hope this year I will learn to be content no matter the situation.

This year, I promise to fall flat on my face. I promise to make messes and clean them up. I promise not to let the world make me feel unworthy. I promise to realize we all fall short and it’s okay to not get it right. I promise to cut myself some slack and not be so hard on myself. I will show fear that love ALWAYS wins. I’ll show up for my family and friends. I’ll really see people for who they are, not who i expect them to be. I’ll chase after the life I want, no matter the cost. I’ll help others along their journey of 2016 because no matter who you are, we’re all just trying to make it. I hope you show 2016 what you are made of. You are cherished, loved and completely rad. I hope you promise all the above to yourself and so much more.

always in your corner,

B

 

 

Prayer

I have been MIA for a while. Honestly, I haven’t felt worthy of writing. I want to write about things I know and lately I don’t know a lot. I really don’t know a lot about prayer either. But, I’m assuming a lot of people are in that same ship with me.
I have been thinking a lot about prayer these past few weeks as I try to grow closer to God. I feel him now more than ever and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s my line of work. That’s what i’m going with.

I’ve been working out…well attempting to. I hate it. I have always wanted to be one of those people who loves the gym. Who wakes up every morning ready to bust out her yoga mat or run ten miles on a treadmill. That just isn’t me. I can’t stay still long enough. I am always a week ahead or 5 years in the past. I’m rarely taking the time to breathe and focus while working out. I have been relating this so much to prayer. How i’ve never been very good at praying because it requires me to be still. I literally think about what I want to pray before i pray.

Up until recently I just didn’t want to pray. I would say I would pray for people because that was word vomit and polite. It made me start thinking how many people have said that to me. How many people have said they would pray for me and didn’t. Because I am so guilty of this.

Sometimes you are the one who prays and sometimes you’re the one who gets prayed for.

Growing up, I went to a church where everyone would pray out loud during alter calls. I remember hearing all these grown men pray these intense prayers and me being a 12 year old girl was so intimidated. So I just didn’t pray. No one ever taught me until recently that you don’t have to have this silver lining, elaborate prayer. That God wants you to talk to him in the car, in the mall, at work…where ever you are.

How amazing is it that in the midst of someones chaos, they take the time to utter your name to Him.

I’m here to tell you, you don’t need a storybook relationship with him. That you are just enough the way you are. Every broken, bitter, chaotic piece of you, he wants.

I don’t know why it’s easier for me to pray for strangers than people I know. But I’m working on it. I’m working on keeping my word to pray for the people I love, because prayer, just like humans, is a beautiful thing.

always in your corner,

B

Not being okay is okay….

I have been wanting to write about this for a while. But every time I sit down to write it, it seems to fall short of everything I want to say. I hope I can give this topic justice. Mental Illness. I see it every day of my life in my job and in myself.
The thing about mental illness is no matter which strand of it you may have, it still will affect every other aspect of your life. Your job, your relationships, your well-being and everything else stems from your mental health.

As I have been going to therapy a lot recently to figure out why on Gods green earth I can’t sleep, it makes me wonder how many people are hiding behind a therapist. I could go see said therapist and no one ever know. There’s a stigma that people put on mental health that people get embarrassed about. It has got to stop. I have heard people SO many times say, “I don’t get depression, why can’t people just be happy?” REALLY? How about you try telling a cancer patient to just not be sick anymore. That’s the thing, mental illness is a sickness. It is not something someone chooses, I promise.

Can you imagine feeling so hopeless that you can’t make it out of bed in the morning to start your job that the rest of your life (i.e. bills, food, survival) requires you to attend, but you just. can’t. Or feeling your heart about to beat out of your chest because you walked into a crowded room and felt like you just couldn’t take the heat, even if no one else noticed you. You may feel like this occasionally, but mental illness isn’t occasional. Imagine going through this every day. Now imagine someone telling you to “just be happy” or to “man up.” Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It isn’t racists, sexist and doesn’t base itself on geography.

I knew when I started this blog that I would be writing about this eventually. That someone needed this. I am not here to tell you to run to the nearest therapist door and spill out your problems. I’m just telling you it’s okay if you do. I’m just telling you that it’s okay to not feel okay. That it’s society that makes you feel like less of a person. You aren’t. I’m just telling you that you are so brave. And if you don’t have any demons that run through your mind, thank God! But, try to be a little less critical of someone who is anxious or depressed. You never know what someone is going through. It doesn’t come draped on their clothes like a big red A. It’s silent and dangerous.

I am not a therapist by any means. Having a degree that majors in people’s minds or suffering from PTSD or a sleeping disorder does not make me a professional. But it does make me aware and knowledgable and have empathy. Maybe you don’t want to talk to a therapist but just need a little extra love. I will give it to you. If you are struggling and need some words to grasp, I will be there. Simply email me. Whether I know you or not, I will send light to your inbox. I don’t know what you’re going through and I don’t need to if you don’t want to tell me. Just email me with the subject, “love letter” and I’ll show up.

Brooke_trent@icloud.com

always in your corner,

B

love me like Jesus does

i wrote an entire blog and erased it. It felt so fake. It was everything I wanted to say but it wasn’t. It was sugar coated. So i’m starting over. I don’t ever want to lie or tell you things just because you want to hear them. That’s not reality.

Bookstores, coffee shops, car rides after midnight and you. That’s my church. I’ve felt God more in those 4 things then I have in a pew in a very, very long time. My preacher last Sunday told us that he would not talk about what is going on in the world regarding homosexuality, transgender, abortion or the killing of animals. He talked about why he wouldn’t talk about those things and I could feel the tension in the sanctuary shifting. They wanted to hear those things. They wanted to voice their opinion and hoped the preacher shared the same one. I was proud of him.

But on the drive home I was thinking about how those things are relevant but it does not make you relatable.

If someone’s completely heartbroken, your view on equal marriages is not going to mend their shattered organ. I sometimes think God allows certain things to happen in your life so you can help others cope when it happens in theirs. They need a shoulder. They need one more piece of you when you think there isn’t a piece left. Heartbreak happens and it takes you off your pedestal for other people. They need you to love them like Jesus does. That’s what we should be teaching in church….

The Jesus I know didn’t go around hosting political campaigns or wait for a jury of peers to make a decision. He simply asked…

Do you love me?

The questions of sexuality, equality and religion will never heal a broken heart. But loving Jesus will. And loving other people like you love Jesus, surely will. In a world consumed by what’s going on in the news, be a light they can find their way home to.

always in your corner,

B

it keeps no record…

I am changing. Slowly but surely.

4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.-1 Corinthians 4-5.

I have read this verse a dozen times over the past decade. Always skimming over it. Always acknowledging the words but not digesting them. Until one morning, “it keeps no records of wrongs” smacked me in the face. You see that’s how my brain works. It will bring up intense things I HAVE to share while just drinking my coffee and it won’t leave me alone until i do it justice by writing about it.

I may be non confrontational but I can remember you trying to cut my hair with scissors in the first grade. I will hold you accountable even if i’m the only one. I realize a lot of my relationships have failed because of this. My, “how could you do that to ME?” fight was no better than us working through it and me bringing it up 5 years down the road..

I have had an argument in the past that literally went something like this…

Him: “why won’t you come to see me?”
Me: “because you didn’t come come see me 2 years ago when i asked..”

Back then i thought i was doing the right thing. I thought I was winning. The, ‘i’ll make you regret doing that to me’ ego that most people have will not let you win. I have hung up the phone thinking i showed him….No. I have showed him that I am too immature to stay silent when no words were needed. No jabs to the throat were needed. That is not love. Holding someone accountable is God’s job…I’m not saying to let people run all over you but this is not your job. How can you ever focus on yourself if you have a mental tally system going on in your head of every time someone doesn’t live up to par for you? You have enough to worry about. This is not love. Love keeps no records of wrong. Try it for a day. Then try it for a week. Then a month. Stop punishing people for the same sin they’ve repented for years ago. I promise it will make you less stressed. There’s a valuable lesson to be learned when you forgive and don’t bring it up years down the road. It’s called peace.

Someone told me this was good…this was good that I knew how to change. I hope so…

Stay focused. Slow it down. Stay humble.

xo

B

Miracles > Magic

I have been reading this book called, “A Prayer Journal,” by Flannery O’Connor. I went into this book with guns blazing expecting it to be the holy grail to an insight to God that i didn’t have access to before i picked up this novel. I was wrong. I felt like i was betraying a 21 year old girl from 75 years ago who is long gone. I wanted to unread it. I apologized to Flannery. Like i knew her deepest, darkest thoughts. I can barely handle my own thoughts about religion, much less someone with so much despair writing about it.

I know she meant well. I know that in maybe a year, or ten that i will feel differently about her prayers because i am fate-driven. But as of now, i feel like i know her secrets that she didn’t want some random 24 year old girl to know. She begged God to make her a famous writer, I mean, thats all she wanted. I couldn’t help but whisper to Flan, “God didn’t owe you that…”

Then i shut the book. I thought about all the things i ask him for. He doesn’t owe me any of it. God never promised me that he would give me my expectations. He did promise me that I wouldn’t have to fear the future and to give me hope for it. Which is WAY better than any of my humanly expectations. I thought how selfish she was. How all she prayed about was herself. I don’t think I liked her because she reminded me so much of me.

I had this vision in my head of someone praying for health while holding a cigarette in their hand. This almost humorous vision. I was mad at this book. She prayed about being a famous writer and then wrote about praying about it. It was so odd to me. Then i thought how often do i do this. How often do i beg God for something but refuse to change my habits..you want to be healthy? put the cigarette down. you want to be a writer? pick up a pen. In a society where instant gratification is what we want, it’s hard to accept this; God and magic do not correlate. God and miracles do. I don’t expect to wake up one morning with a book on my nightstand written by me, from God. (Santa is the one you should talk to about that.) But, what i can count on is that he will give me patience to sit still and let him speak through me to write.

You see, him giving you the equipment to make something is greater than him handing you something. Nightstands don’t come assembled. It takes tools and putting shelf B on upside down 7 times before you really needed shelf C. But man, it’s one hell of a nightstand that you put together after getting your Ph.D. in Big Lots instruction manuals. God is working on your pieces to make you one hell of a (insert expectation here) for him. For HIS credit. Miracles > Magic.

Thank you God for not treating me as my sins deserve.

XO
-B

Salvation and Marriage

Marriage season is fast approaching and there are tons of things I could say and talk about to help people suffering from cold feet. But as i kept typing, i kept thinking about what I wanted my upcoming marriage to be like.

People have tried to talk me out of getting married next month, they’ve tried to make sure i’m ready for the big day and for the rest of my life with one person. It started making me think, “is anyone ever ready for anything?”
I think this best things in life, you won’t be ready for. To be ready is to stay in the norm and I am not a fan of that. To be free and willing is to trust God.

Am i ready to be married?
the answer is no.

Will i be ready to have children one day?
probably not.

Will i be able to watch them walk down the aisle to the person of their dreams?
honestly, no.

But those things I listed above can serve as the most rewarding. Let me go further into this before you start thinking, “why is she getting married if she isn’t ready?’ 

Marriage, in this bible belt that I live in, is normal. I am not normal. I did not have my wedding planned out from the time i was 7. I did however have my career planned. I would line up my Barbies with a dry erase board and as them how they were feeling. (no joke, ask my cousin.) So this wedding planning is uneasy territory for me. I’ve had to rearrange my plans in my head to plan a wedding that i have no clue how to. The norm for me would be to travel in solitude or focus on my psychologist career. Now i have to share that passion with someone and that’s scary. We could be more financially ready, more mentally ready, but what is even better is that i am ready for someone to come along for the ride. I am ready to spend my life with someone who hasn’t left my side since the day he walked in it 5 years ago.

Michael and I have taken some time a part in the past and even then, he would have done anything for me. I get the age old question that, “well it didn’t work the first time…” the thing about that is i wasn’t ready to be a wife. I wanted more from him then i was willing to give in return. How did this change? Why am i different now? Read Proverbs 31. I read that and it was like God spoke and said, “you have prayed and prayed that Michael be the man you need as husband but you are NOT the wife he needs.” So i changed. I started praying that God would make me into the wife that Michael or whomever i marry needs and deserves. My life changed drastically. I saw God work in ways that i haven’t seen him do so before. I will pray that prayer every day and as long as i am praying that, i will never have to worry if Michael will be the husband i need, because God has that covered.

My uncle (who is marrying us, cool right?) told Michael and myself that if we have anything we need to get out in the open, now is the time to do it before we say the “i dos”. People have told me their marriage horror stories and how it failed and what not to do. I hope that in thirty years, i won’t give someone that advice and I will tell he or she that marriage is the greatest gift on the planet. I want to compare it to my salvation.

I know salvation is a lot different from marriage. Marriage can not get you into heaven unlike salvation, but bare with me as I talk about this. I got saved at a young age at a body building competition at Christ Fellowship (i know, not a normal salvation story) but i got saved nonetheless. There are days when i fail Jesus miserably. But, the great thing about that is i will never be unsaved. I know that i will never lose my salvation and no matter how upset i make Jesus because i am born again in him. In my marriage, I will fail Michael and he will fail me because we are human. But as much as we will fail each other, we will never have to go back to the day where we are single sinners again. I will never have to go back to the day where I don’t know Jesus and (Lord willing) I will never have to go back to the day before i’m married. I have a partner in my eternal life and a partner here on earth.

The best advice i could give someone is consider your marriage like you do your salvation. Strive to please the other person, learn from your mistakes and ask forgiveness for your faults. God forgives me everyday when I am so underserving and I hope I have a marriage that offers forgiveness and purity and hope that no matter what happens, we will never have to go back before that day we said our vows. God doesn’t ditch me when i treat him horrible and i want to reflect that kind of love to my husband when he doesn’t live up to par and i pray he does the same for me. God protects his children, just as you should protect your marriage and spouse. Always, always, protect what you love.

XO,

B

(brooke_trent@yahoo.com)

Ascending to the Nations

“You can not change what is going on around you until you change what is going on within you”

I never know what i’m going to write about when i sit down to type. But, today, i know.

For many years I have felt this yearning to go out to different countries and help learn who Jesus is. Recently, I have become so frustrated because I am stuck. I am stuck at my job, in this city and with people I already know. I take the long way to work every morning so I can watch the planes. I think to myself how I would do anything to be on one of them headed somewhere foreign so I could meet people from different walks of life to hear their story and be a missionary to them. I am terrified of flying, but fear is the devils biggest illusion.

Then, one morning, arguing with God that i NEEDED to do this, it was like I heard God say, “Brooke, you have asked me to send you to nations but how can i do that when i can’t trust you in your day to day? You complain about going to work, you gossip about others and you haven’t spoken my words to people you come in contact with every day.” I walked to scream and cry. But i didn’t. I knew God was right. I haven’t been living for him here, so how could i live for him thousands of miles away.

Since that day, i have watched my words, I have tried to not complain about a job he has blessed me with and starting with this post, I am reaching out to my friends and family and others who I don’t know so well, by them reading this. I will be more like him so others can see. When i am ready, i will go. I’ll go places far and tell everyone my story. I won’t try to run away from my problems here, I’ll be more like Him. I will be uncomfortable, because being uncomfortable is being like Jesus.

Exodus 9:16 – “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

The world does not need to be pleased, it needs to be changed. And i hope this is the start of the change God will help me make.

XO,

B

FullSizeRender

{early morning airport drive}

As always, you can reach me via Instagram, Twitter or brooke_trent@yahoo.com 

I believe…

I believe that the sun is the best form of therapy. I believe to follow your heart over your head. I believe in being innocently wild. I believe you should learn the difference in holding a hand and chaining a soul. I believe you’ll regret every chance you didn’t say yes to. I believe you’ll find yourself more in a foreign country than at a 9-5 job. I believe that failing is not always failure. I believe in books and being alone. I believe that luxury doesn’t mean wealth. I believe that something that burns the soul is hard to forget. I believe women should inspire each other. I believe we stress because we forget we aren’t God. I believe in a good cup of coffee. I believe the way you see the world can change your life. I believe nothing can substitute expierence. I believe there isn’t a person you wouldn’t love if you didn’t know their story. I believe for every bad thing in the world, there is 1000 more good things. I believe you should wear what you want and don’t feel guilty about it. I believe we have more fire in us then what we want to believe, even if we don’t see it for ourselves.

XO,

B