Their words had become daggers; I felt them in my chest, poking at my insecurities and fears. My lungs then began to empty of their air. The anxiety that was so familiar to me and that had been lurking behind me every day squeezed my lungs to increase the pang of the sharp wounds I was now hosting. I got alone just in time for my surroundings to become hazy and foreign, despite how truly familiar they were. I couldn’t sit down or stand still; I paced in the smallest possible circles, tension radiating throughout my body and spirit.
I wanted so badly to cry. So much had been going on inside and around me, and I knew I needed to release some of the pain I’d gathered from it. But the tears wouldn’t come.
I began singing His words.
I’m right beside you
I feel what you feel
And I’m here to hold you
When death is too real
You know I died, too
I was terrified
I gave myself for you
I was crucified
Because I love you
I love you, child
My voice broke a few lines in, and tears poured out of the cracks.
I stood still, arms around myself, weeping and releasing, praying that I would never let go of my grasp on those words.
As I stood and as the drops trailed down, I began to feel a tingling, tickling feeling in my feet at the base of my toes. It stretched further into my feet, then began slowly climbing through my legs. It reached the tops of my knees and remained there. Amongst my shaky, irregular sob-breathing, I heard a quiet whisper:
“Shoes of peace.“
I continued to cry, sinking into His closeness.
Anxiety and brokenness will never have the final say for me. Not when everywhere I walk, I genuinely carry peace with me in a physical way.
Spiritual armor is not a metaphor.
I didn’t understand it before. But then my Father physically placed these shoes on my feet. I felt Him do it, and He called them by their name. [I don’t believe everyone needs to have the same experience I had in order to put on their spiritual armor; it is available to all of us and He shows no partiality. I think He just knew what I needed in order to understand.]
The shoes of peace have become true and functional for me. Peace protects me from succumbing to what scares me and letting anxiety overtake my life; peace pushes me forward when I don’t feel like I can move; peace is His mark lovingly imprinted on me, like a forehead kiss. He has enabled me to be strong, to be powerful, to live in courage instead of fear. It is possible for me.
I didn’t know that before. I thought I would have to live with anxiety and the paralysis it can cause for the rest of my life. Now… now I have hope that it will get better. That it won’t always be as hard to overcome as it is right now. That anxiety is a lot smaller and a lot less powerful than I’ve made it out to be.
Anxiety is still something I face. But when I feel the fear creeping near to put its hands to my neck– I now try to remind myself of the reality of what I’m wearing on my feet.
And I choose to stand firm in the peace that is already mine to possess.