Story Behind the Art- The Problem with Anxiety

The Problem with Anxiety  2017 (pencil, watercolor, photoshop)

I thought of this piece that made a while back, but realized that I hadn’t yet written about the story behind it.

As I pulled it up from my Google photos, I saw that it was appropriately made 2 months after we had had our 4th child. No wonder I was feeling the weight of anxiety!

I don’t particularly remember what was going on, but I remember one weekend morning I was feeling foggy in my brain, and my thoughts were racing around. I didn’t feel right in my head. I couldn’t tell if it was the non-stop noise that is in my house, or if I was tired, of the hundreds of tasks or what. But I kept trying to figure it all out.

This wasn’t an unfamiliar pattern- me juggling the many tasks that motherhood demands, the responsibility of homeschooling, all on the vapors of a few hours of intermittent sleep every night, and then crashing and burning out in a dizzy wave of anxiety.

But the last year God had been showing me how sitting down to sketch or paint, or write was incredibly helpful in meditating on only a few thoughts, instead of several. So I sat down and simply drew a visual of what anxiety was like.

When we are in a state of anxiety, we turn to our minds to sort out a logical answer. But the thing is, many things in life do not have a logical answer. Relationship problems rarely have a logical consistent answer. So we sit and cycle the same thoughts in hopes that we can crack the code. We are only tapped into our own human ability. Our effort is futile and we end up not only emotionally exhausted, but exhausted physically and spiritually.

But we were never really meant to handle the burden of worry and weariness. That is why Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus knows all of our pain. He knows all our strengths, weaknesses, crushed dreams, future dreams- every single thing about us. He says “I am gentle, and humble in heart”. In other words, he is receptive and kind; He says “I know child, I know your struggle. I hear your prayers, and I have every one of your tears.” He also knows the path to freedom and joy. When we take up His yoke, He takes the burden- we are now tapped into the Holy Spirit's power.

Do you struggle with anxiety? All people at some point experience fear and anxiety, but do you REALLY struggle with it? It’s okay. Jesus invites us to come to him and lay down our burdens before Him. You don’t have to have it all together. You don’t have to have every sin purged from your life. Come as you are. You don’t even have to know how to pray.

Maybe you don’t suffer from panic attacks, OCD or general anxiety. Maybe you just have a scary decision in front of you. Maybe its a new job or breaking up with a bad relationship. Maybe it’s choosing to forgive somebody. No matter where you are in your process, I hope that my artwork has given you a different perspective on the Father’s love for us.

If you think you know somebody who would benefit from this story, would you share it please?

- Kat


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