Written by Vanessa Wohl, LeadHer Development Director and LeadHer Local Branson, MO Coordinator. Connect with Vanessa on Twitter and Instagram.

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Know my anxious thoughts….

For the last couple of years, anxiety has been a close friend of mine. We have gone to the grocery store together, shopping together, to ball games together, and even to church together. After I had a hysterectomy, anxiety and I grew even closer. The trips to the store proved that anxiety was a stronger friend than I needed in my life.  

I would go into the grocery store and anxiety would sneak up on me. There I was with a buggy filled with groceries, standing in an aisle, and I would feel the anxious thoughts begin to overwhelm my body, mind, and emotions. On more than one occasion, I had to leave that buggy full of groceries in the aisle and go to my car. The nausea and crying were too much.  

This went on for years.  I hid it very well most of the time.  Only my family and closest friends knew that I had such a strong bond with anxiety. I begged and cried out to God for freedom, but I would not let go of my deeply rooted anxious thoughts so I could walk out that freedom.  Sometimes prison is easier than freedom, especially when freedom requires the hard task of facing reality and truth.  

In my begging and crying out to God for freedom from anxiety, I never asked for the root of anxiety to be ripped out.  Freedom requires truth, and freedom requires face-to-face with reality as well.  My freedom began before time, but I did not face the truth and reality of that freedom until a beautiful Saturday morning in March of 2016.  

I turned on the March teaching video for LeadHer.  The theme… Search Me Prayers.  What??? You mean I need to ask God to search me? I enjoy praying for others.  But reality had set in.  It was time to look into the mirror clearly and see that I needed to be free once and for all.

Christie Love mentioned that one of the boldest prayers we can ever pray is for God to search our own hearts. There my journey to freedom started. I cried out the prayer that David did in Psalm 139 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (vs. 23, NLT). I knew He was going to reveal the source and root of the anxiety I carried around.  He was also going to uproot anxiety and replace it with peace.  

I cried that prayer on March 26, 2016.  On April 1, 2016, I attended Pure Joy in Branson.  The theme of  Pure Joy… Search Me O God.  A girl stood on stage with her cardboard testimony in hand. One side spoke of debilitating anxiety. The other side spoke of freedom in Christ and diving into His word. I began to saturate my mind and spirit in the Word of God.  God revealed the source of anxiety. He broke up the deep rooted friendship I had shared with anxiety for so long.  He replaced those anxious thoughts with peace in my soul.  It wasn’t until I chose to cry out to God to search my heart that I found the freedom to face the truth, a truth that truly sets the prisoner free.  

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