The Day I Chased Anxiety Away

I started out on an evening stroll apprehensively. I wanted to do it but I also wanted to be accompanied by someone. I hadn’t gone often alone but I pushed past my reluctance.

Finally out, I began walking at a slow pace. It felt good to be out this warm evening right before the sun went to sleep. I started down a familiar path along the houses of my neighbors. Turning onto a main street, I crossed over to more familiarity. As I scanned the trees and houses I noticed a set of eyes glancing at me. The unfamiliar face then disappeared further into his backyard. I kept forward with my eyes ahead on the path.

As I approached my intended turn, my chest started to tighten. You see, I had never walked this trail alone in the evening. And although the sun still peaked at me I wondered what lurked ahead. As I approached the trail my mind began to shout at me. Keep walking straight. Don’t turn right. Don’t turn right!

Like a fish fighting to swim upstream, I pushed past the voice in my head and turned right.

Alarmed.

Amplified.

Everywhere-ness.

These are words that come to mind as I walked hesitantly down the trail. Trees, grass, and houses further away seemed to encamp around me. I believe my spidey senses were tingling. I could hear everything around me. The leaves brushing against eachother, the wind’s breath in the open field, and even the little fly that added to my fears by buzzing in my right ear.

Heavy breathing. Chills down my spine. Pace quickening. I just imagined some large male deer or other animal would approach me in the forest.

Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!

Marching quickly, I continued down what appeared to be an unfamilar trail. I had trekked this path before with my husband. But everything seemed new without him. He wasn’t there to share laughs with and admire as we’d stroll together. I repeatedly chanted within myself “There’s nothing chasing me. There’s nothing chasing me. The Lord is my shepherd.” Then gradually I started believing it.

Nothing appeared amongst the trees. No bears, no male deer, and certainly no vicious monster. I walked with a little more ease and confidence as I challenged the nothing that was watching me. But suddenly I realized that something indeed was chasing me.

As I approached a side trail, chills went down my spine. This trail went deeper into the forest surrounded by foliage and more spaces for my hairy foe to get me. My heart pounded. Anxiety was gaining on me. My mind sounded off to keep going forward. I rushed on the trail, over a small bridge, aaannnddd stopped.

Silence. Stopping on the bridge, I faced the forest. Nothing. I turned to the other side. Nothing. Just trees, grass, and a small river underneath with pebble stones. I looked beneath the bridge as the gentle water trickled down stream. Peace and quite. I looked into the forest to see if anything was there. Nothing but serenity. I exhaled deeply. I began walking ahead with a smile on my face.

The trail lead me to a familiar neighborhood close to home. I greeted one of the neighbors and continued strolling with ease. Taking in the warm air with a deep breath, I noticed my heart was no longer pounding. I finally had home in my eye’s view.

I embraced the evening’s journey as my pace slowed. Feeling a sense of resolve, my face beamed with pride. Anxiety was fierce but the day’s battle was over. I felt safe and welcomed me back home by nature and the Almighty. Opening the door, I smiled as I thought how I’d tell you about the day I chased anxiety away.

For so long anxiety has chased me but today I chased it back.

Shantel Snells

Throw all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares about you.

1 Kefa (1 Peter) 5:7 CJB