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What Energizes Me? Anxiety or Love?

Anxiety often wakes me up in the morning (not to mention in the middle of the night). My concern over the to-do list and my unspoken fear about what will happen if I don’t get it all done (and I never get it all done) animates many of my days. Even when I set aside a Sunday afternoon with the intention of resting, I find myself making lists and plans and catching up on the reading I didn’t finish during the week.

In other words, anxiety gives me something I want. It gives me restless energy to keep achieving, keep producing, keep working. 

Of course, it also gives me stomachaches and back pain and an inclination to think badly about myself and become disconnected from the people I love. 

There’s a different energy that comes from love. When I move from anxiety to trust, from fear to love, it does slow me down. But it also sustains me, fills me with peace and hope. 

The best way I’ve found to make the transition from being fueled by anxiety to being fueled by love is contemplative prayer.

Amy Julia sits in a chair at her desk. Her eyes are closed and she is holding a gray cat.

I set a timer on my phone—usually for 10 minutes—and close my eyes and breathe slowly and deeply and focus on the love of God. Sometimes I picture myself being comforted by God. Sometimes I repeat the words, “God is love” or “Love is patient.” And then when I find myself scurrying along the path of worry, I can return to the truth, return to the deeper source of energy, return to love.

I write more about this in To Be Made Well—pre-order today

quote that says, 'I have often allowed anxiety to energize me when I could be resting in the love of God.'

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