We all have that one friend -the one who is a little on the “ratchet” side. He or she is always down to fight, if need be.
This isn’t necessarily a bad trait, because we all need a little fight in us. If not, we may fall for anything, and we should never want to be considered a doormat in any situation. However, what’s difficult to overcome is the label you receive by being associated with this type of friend.
Though you and your friend are two separate people, your connection leads others to believe you share similar characteristics with this person. They assume all that he/she is, you are as well.
I don’t necessarily have a friend who has done this to me, but I do have a frenemy called anxiety. When I look in the mirror, I receive a constant reminder that I could be seen in the same light as my frenemy.
As a result, I constantly have to look within and tell myself, “I am not like anxiety; I don’t have anxiety! And anxiety doesn't have me.”
Sometimes, the problem with having toxic friends is that it’s hard to remove them from your life. This frenemy may have a reputation that you don’t want to be a part of your identity.
I’m not sure how anxiety began planting seeds around me, but I know it made its debut in my life in January of 2017. I had just earned my Masters degree, moved into a new place, and completed an internship. Although many chapters were ending, even more were beginning.
I would soon be starting a new job, and was on the hunt for a new apartment. All of this should have been exciting to me; however, as I was trying to plan my next steps, it seemed my frenemy was planning my demise. “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
Well, it felt like anxiety kept me so close that I could feel her breathing on my neck, ready to shake up my world. The day I met anxiety was the scariest moment in my life.
Frenemies have a way of dressing up a situation to make you believe you have control over it. In reality, they are the ones manipulating and controlling you.
I was working so hard that I had no time or room to think. The moment I was finally able to sit still, anxiety stepped in completely and brought me to a state of panic.
I had a panic attack. You see, some frenemies send their cousins or other relatives to come confront you or shake you up, instead of addressing the issue themselves. It had been the plan all along.
It seemed like anxiety had said, “Panic, you attack her, and once she is shaken up, I will do the rest.” That January night, I was ambushed and began experiencing levels of fear that I didn’t even know existed.
The problem is, If you get to a point in which you stoop as low as your frenemy, you have to ask yourself if you’ve become just like them? I was beaten badly. Panic scared me to the point that whenever necessary, anxiety would be able to step in to remind me exactly what can happen if I allowed myself to believe I wasn’t scared.
They had so much power over me. I was a punk. I let the incident consume my mind, which was toxic. I tried fighting, but it was easier to just give in to my oppressor. After all, anxiety had outwitted me and was stronger than me. Plus, I was afraid that it would send its cousin back to frighten me.
I was broken, defeated, and torn down to my lowest point. I looked over my shoulder every chance I could. I often wondered if I was crazy because I could feel anxiety every time I thought I was no longer scared of it. Any time I did something that proved my confidence over it, anxiety stepped in to remind me I that I was still weak.
Honestly, I was under its power and had now become more afraid of leaving than being defeated. No one knew about my frenemy; no one knew about my bully; no one understood my fear. Anxiety felt so strong that I was in constant torment of its power. That is what terrorists do. They invoke enough fear in your life to not only make you fear them, but to also be afraid of the possibility of them ever returning. Because of this, they never need to physically be present to know that people fear them.
In the beginning, I thought I had figured it out. I prayed, fasted, lamented, and pleaded my case to the Lord. But anxiety still had power over me. I wondered why God wasn’t helping me.
I had become so afraid of it, that I began to lose faith in Him. God had seen everything as it was occurring, but I felt like He didn't try to save me. I realized that I never truly acknowledged that I had a bully.
I indirectly told God I had an issue, but never wanted to say its name. In my fight towards freedom, I still held on to fear. As a result, God couldn’t recognize me wrapped in all that he had not given me.
I was fashioned in a character He never made for me. I began to look just like anxiety. It had done an amazing job at ruining my reputation and making me unrecognizable before God.
I’d associated myself with it for so long, that I lost the power given to me by God. What made it worse is that I couldn’t even keep it real with God about how much influence anxiety had over my life.
The act of redemption can’t happen when there is a refusal of exchange. Anxiety took possession of what already belonged to God. I had lost myself in the fight. I gave so much more value to anxiety than I did to myself.
I cannot speak to those who have undergone clinical prognosis for anxiety, however, I constantly said to the Lord “you did not make me this way.” I begged for my opponent to be defeated. It took time for me to believe it finally was.
What has helped me the most is knowing that “who the Son sets free, is free indeed,” and I know my God to not be a liar. Till this day, I still fight to keep anxiety out of my mind, because I never want God to call into question my characteristics. That's why I refuse to look like anxiety, have anxiety, or for anxiety to ever have me!
Food For Thought: Usually if you are experiencing some sort of anxiety it is a result of something else, not the root. You must be willing to have God unwrap the things hiding within you. This is like open heart surgery. You are vulnerable, exposed, and being worked on, for the solution of proper health.
I pray that you find strength and fight against your opponent. Let God be your shepherd and guide you out your strong hold. I pray for victory over your life holding all thoughts captive to be obedient to God. For God has not made you this way.