Is our country ever going to be the same? Will I give my parents COVID? Are my children spending too much time in front of screens? Most likely these questions, or others like them, have run through your mind in the past year. We live in an anxious age. If you sometimes feel like fear and anxiety are your roommates, you aren’t alone! But we don’t have to give fear and anxiety dominion over our lives or our minds.
In this episode of Let’s Talk, Jasmine, Jackie, and Melissa discuss coping with anxiety and how to be honest about what is frightening—without living in fear. Jasmine says that when she’s anxious, she turns to Psalm 16 because “the opposite of anxiety, for me, is joy.” She says, “My prayer when I’m feeling anxious is, ‘Bring me closer to your presence. Bring me into your presence, because I know that this anxiety can’t exist there.'”
Mentioned in this episode:
- Fear the One Who Is Greater
- How Anxiety Has Grown My Faith
- Ask TGC: Is Anxiety a Sin?
- 7 Reasons Not to Worry
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Jackie Hill Perry: Welcome to Let’s Talk, a podcast from the gospel coalition podcast network. We are here to apply biblical wisdom to everyday life. If you’re enjoying this podcast, we hope you will spread the word about it on social media. My name is Jackie Hill Perry, and I’m here with Melissa Kruger and Jasmine Holmes. Jasmine, tell us, tell all of the saints, what are we talking about today?
Jasmine Holmes: We are talking about fighting fear and anxiety. Yes, so many of the episodes, I think all of us are like, okay, this is the one that I feel comfortable talking about. I have a book about it, or I have been through it a lot in my life, or this is an area of expertise and this is my moment.
Jackie Hill Perry: Shine on.
Jasmine Holmes: This is my moment because you want to talk about anxiety and fear. I got it. I got the damn.
Jackie Hill Perry: I Got you.
Jasmine Holmes: I got it. We’ve talked the last season about how, when I was a kid, I was very, very intense about my prayer. Like the night prayer, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord. I live literally like some people just pray that just like rote and I would be praying it like, no, no really.
Jackie Hill Perry: I hope I’ll wake up tomorrow.
Jasmine Holmes: I hope I’ll wake up tomorrow. Do you hear me God? I am saying these words, I would walk downstairs and make sure my parents hadn’t been raptured. Because I figured if the rapture happened, my parents would be gone.
Jackie Hill Perry: And you are left.
Melissa Kruger: Of all people.
Jasmine Holmes: Of all people, so I was like, they’d be gone. So as long as my dad is still in his bed, because he snores. So I’m like as long as I can still hear dad snoring, the rapture hasn’t happened yet. So, lots of fear and anxiety in my life, but enough about my neurosis. What about you all? What are you all’s experiences?
Melissa Kruger: I don’t think I knew this was anxiety until I was older, but just the social anxiety I’ve experienced my entire life. One I think pivotal moment was like, we had moved homes, therefore we moved school districts after second grade. And so third grade I started school a week after it had already started in this new school and we went into the classroom and all of the kids, and I don’t know why she… My momma had me show up an hour late. Let me get acclimated while everybody else was getting acclimated me. Anyway, I showed up to the class and all of the kids start staring at me and I just started crying in the front of the class. And it’s just like, I know why I was crying because I was overwhelmed, but I didn’t know how to deal with that. And that’s just carried me throughout my life, which is the irony of what I have to do now is stand in front of people that stare at you. I guess that’s probably one of the mainstays of anxious thoughts in my entire existence is people, people make me anxious.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. That’s a good question. I think I’m anxious and we’re going to get to this in the next episode when I’ll be the professional on a couple episodes when it’s pleasing people. So that’s why actually I think sometimes I think I might like to be alone because then, I’m not thinking about someone else, So I do think I have this. And school was fairly good for me in that, because if you just obey the rules, you please the teacher. Right. It was really straight forward. This is what you do and so you just do that. And so it was, it was okay. But relationships with women can be tricky. And I think it’s like this, when you hear someone saying something about another friend, you’re thinking, oh, do I do that? You know? And so I think I have some of that, but I would say some of my fears developed later in life. What about you all? Did you have the same fears you had young or did things-
Jasmine Holmes: No. I definitely have a whole new set of fears.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. What are some of the new ones that come up in adulthood?
Jasmine Holmes: A lot of them are related to death, like death of my children, death of my husband, the fear of aging. Even though I’m only 31, in my mind, I’m like, ooh, 40 is close now and then 50. And how will I look? Just these stupid things and thoughts that I never had before. Financial anxieties, I think that might be one of the most preeminent ones in my life, which is like, will we be okay? We’re always okay. I don’t even know why that’s always a thought. It’s just like the manna has always been pouring down Jackie, but I just always get afraid that we won’t have quail.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. As you age, there are so many more things. I remember when I had young kids, my son was a darter, he would just dart.
Jasmine Holmes: Because it sounds like you said your son was a daughter, which is funny. Because it’s like, is he a son? [crosstalk].
Jackie Hill Perry: This is a different episode than what we had intended.
Jasmine Holmes: Even in the nursery at church, we had these partitions, but they had about a foot space at the bottom of them. He would sneak under those things. He would get out, he’d get out of his crib. He would run to the street. And I just had this huge weight that a curator everyday of can I just keep him alive? And it weighed on me. I can remember thinking finally, because it chew, you can discipline it and say, “Hey, don’t dart in the street.” But you can’t really be assured they’re going to obey you. And you can do everything you can to hope, but it takes one time of running away from you or getting lost in a crowd or whatever it might be. And so motherhood awakened, all these fears.
Jackie Hill Perry: The kid leashes we are made for.
Melissa Kruger: Yes. For children like him.
Jasmine Holmes: My fears have always been the same.
Jackie Hill Perry: What are your fears?
Jasmine Holmes: The same.
Jackie Hill Perry: Explain.
Melissa Kruger: My eschatology is different, so I don’t check for the rapture anymore, but I definitely, every night when I go every morning when I wake up, I’m like, oh, I’m still here. Which is so nice.
Jackie Hill Perry: You think you will die?
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. Somehow or every time I get on a plane, I’m like, I hope my affairs are in order because this probably going down. I just know it. And to clarify, I have a diagnosed anxiety just so I have anxiety and depression and I take medication for that. So mine might be a little bit more pronounced than other people’s because mine is literally clinical.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s what I was going to ask because I have friendships where anxiety is more of a thing for a person and it gets beyond just throwing a scripture that way like, God cares for you, [inaudible]. It’s like, no, this is actually a heavier a burden for you then I can even relate to. So do you think that as a matter of personality and just the way your brain is set up?
Jasmine Holmes: I think sometimes it can be. I know for me, I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life and I was dismissed all the time. It would just be like, Jasmine she’s high-strung or she’s just dramatic, she’s just really emotional. And so then instead of it being something that I was taught to deal with and work through, I was taught to suppress it because it was this embarrassing part of my personality and it wasn’t until adulthood and pregnancy. It was something that I could always cope with until I got pregnant. And then whatever hormonal things were going on in my body, my body was like, we can’t cope with this anymore. So I remember I was at a midwife visit and I was filling out an intake form because they do a perinatal depression screening, and I was like 18 weeks. And it asks questions like how often do you think about death? Or how often do you think about something bad happening to your baby? Or how often do you stay up at night thinking about bad outcomes.
So on every single question, I felt 10 across the board, but I was like, they’re going to think that I’m crazy if I circled 10, so I circled sevens and eights. So then I was sitting in with my midwife and she was like, Jasmine, sevens and eights are high.
Jackie Hill Perry: You thought it was like middle ground?
Jasmine Holmes: Oh, yeah. Like really? She’s like, yes, sevens and eights are really highly. We’re going to have to do something about this. This is an issue. This is a problem. And it was the first time that somebody had treated me. It was something more than just a lack of self-control or a lack of faith that they treated it. It was something clinical and something that I needed help with. And so I started going to therapy around 18, 19 weeks as my first born and just talking about in facings and things that I had been anxious about and wrestling with my entire life really helped. And then with my second born again, another wave of anxiety and just like I would drive up to my house and nobody would be inside and I’d be afraid to get out of my car and I would call my husband and he would be at a meeting or something and I’d be like, I can’t get out of my car. He’s like, “What do you think is going to happen?” I was like, “I don’t know. I just can’t.” I just can’t, I can’t get out of the car.
After the baby was born, I was like, I’m having thoughts about hurting myself. I’m having thoughts about hurting my kid. Like what? So just more so than just, hey Jasmine, just calm down. And I think that it’s important to talk about that spectrum because sometimes it is a matter of, okay, you just need to calm down, take a deep breath and be reminded of who God is. And sometimes in order to be able to calm down and take that deep breath into your mind and into who God is, you need some extra help. And I think that that needs to be… Especially for anybody really, but especially the… I have a special passion for perinatal and postpartum depression just because it’s something that I really, really dealt with and anxiety and fear played a big part in that for me.
Jackie Hill Perry: I think we don’t talk about that enough as women, we have real hormones that change at different times of the month in a different way or when we’re pregnant. What happened to me was actually later in life, I had never had any prenatal or postnatal depression. I was so thankful. I had really felt a lot of joy when I had children. But one day I was standing up on stage teaching 400 women. I’ve taught my whole life. As a high school teacher, I’ve never felt any nervousness or anxiety about it. That’s just what I felt created to do. And I’m standing on stage and my hands start shaking and I feel like my heart is thudding out of my chest and I keep speaking, but I’m having this. Normally I’m engaged with the audience and I’m talking and I love doing this and all of a sudden, I’m just like, I need to read my notes, type thing.
It wasn’t just like nervous excitement, I think it was a panic attack is what I think was happening. Normally, you also settle in, so you get into it and you’re like, okay, I felt a little nervous or whatever, but now I’m fine. But the whole time, all I wanted to do was sit down. I was like, what is wrong with me? And I went to my doctor and talked to her about it and she told me, and I hate being an old person. She was like, well, sometimes it’s your age. In pre-menopause, hormones are shifting and changing. And she’s like, you can get a surge all at once and just anxiety or even depression can happen to a lot of women in this stage. And I think maybe their shame around anxiety and depression so we don’t talk about it.
But these for me, it was so clear because it was an area of my life that I’ve always felt no anxiety. So it was clear something different happened that wasn’t just, oh, I’m feeling nervous about something. It it was this completely different thing. And so she was just so helpful to talk to. And so in this discussion, I think when we see it arise and really strange places like after a baby or before baby even, it’s so important to talk to our doctors and just ask, because they actually know. She knew this was normal. I didn’t know this was normal because I didn’t even know I was premenopausal. So I was like, “Oh I am?
Jasmine Holmes: Well, thanks for that news.
Jackie Hill Perry: I’m like, “Oh, I don’t want to hear that news.” But just to have a doctor say, Hey, this isn’t unusual, other things happen later in life too. Like your blood pressure gets high or your blood sugar goes low. This is a normal part of it, and I do think it’s so helpful if you’re having it. And I think the difference for me was I also couldn’t then let go of it and it almost started this anxious cycle. And so when I finally went in and talked to her, it was just so helpful to hear, okay, this is what this is, here is… And it’s both a trusting of the Lord and talking to your doctor because you have to even trust them that you have these feelings, which is not what you want to have, but it was just so helpful to talk to someone about it. So we definitely encourage if you’re having clinical anxiety, go talk to someone.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, it’s because I think for me, I didn’t even really know what my personality was until I became an adult because I was able to get help for this anxiousness and this depression and this and then I realize like, oh, I don’t actually cry at the drop of a hat or like, oh, actually I like to keep my emotions close to my chest. I don’t actually share those really freely, but I didn’t realize that about myself because I was so couched in everything, every aspect of my life was draped in anxiety. And so yeah, just knowing that I didn’t have to live like that, I just found that out five years ago.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. Can you tell the difference between what is a chemical thing happening and then what’s just fretfulness? Because you know that verse that says don’t be anxious about anything. I think the word means fretfulness. You’re just playing something over in your head again and again, and again, it says with that, but by prayer and petition, present your request to God and the peace of God-
Jackie Hill Perry: Quote the Bible.
Melissa Kruger: … Which transcends all understanding, will guard. I love the word guard there. It means stand century.
Jackie Hill Perry: Teach us.
Melissa Kruger: Will guard your mind in Christ Jesus. It’s such a beautiful passage, but sometimes that’s given us this band-aid wrongly. And so how do we tell when we’re just fretting? That we do need to take it to the Lord in prayer and trust him versus, okay, I have a problem. I need to talk to a doctor about it. Do you all have any thoughts on how you… It’s hard to discern.
Jasmine Holmes: It is, but just because I have a diagnosis doesn’t mean that I also am not supposed to be casting my cares on the Lord. That diagnosis is part of the cares. Just because it’s harder for me to do doesn’t mean that it’s not something that I’m committed to still do.
Melissa Kruger: Absolutely.
Jasmine Holmes: I do the same as that helped me get to a place where I can do it more easily, but I’m still commanded to do it. And I think we’ve been learning a lot in… I know I keep talking about limited kids, but I don’t know, man. Just changed my life over here. But how God set up the offerings where if you didn’t have enough money to give a certain type of offering, there was another option for you. So it may be like a turtle dove as opposed to a lamb. And it’s so interesting how God made provision so that people in all different financial places were still able to come to him and make sacrifices to him and be made right with him.
I am very weak in the area of anxiety and depression and fear. I struggle a lot, but God’s made provision for me in his own. And so I come to him, I give him what I have and by God’s grace, he multiplies that. By God’s grace, he looks at that. He looks at me trying in my very feeble ways to bring glory to him and through Jesus accepts that. And that’s good news. Whether I have to take a medication or not, that’s good news. And so I try to remind myself of that and hold myself accountable for that even while seeking help, where I can get it. And from people who… I love that my therapist is a Christian therapist and understands that aspect of my life. I wouldn’t say it’s a must, but it’s definitely very helpful to be able to trust her and to be able to have her know the difference. Accountability is huge. So that’s having an older Christian woman, sometimes she’s taking me aside and said, you know Jasmine, at this point you just had a baby, I think it may be good if you talk to your doctor about adjusting your medication for the season. And then other times it’s just like Jasmine, you’re spinning out self-control.
And having somebody who knows me well enough to discern the differences is helpful. because sometimes the voices in my head are like, they’re just not trustworthy counselors.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. That’s really good to have people who can help you.
Melissa Kruger: Oh, yeah.
Jackie Hill Perry: There’s a new book that’s out that is really good. It’s on anxiety and teens and we’ll put it in the share notes because I can’t remember the title of it right now, but what I love about it is there’s a parent version and a teenage version. Because I think one thing we’re seeing societaly right now is a huge rise in anxious teens. And one thing I was reading about it that was so helpful, it talked about helping your teen get off the track. It’s like what you were saying, your brain gets on a track and you’re running and you’re running and you’re running and it was helping them say, “Okay, let’s get off this track and think through a new thought pattern.” And it reminded me of the verse, take every thought captive that there are maybe some tools we can learn to help us fight anxiety.
And I think one is actually being able to look at the thought and follow it out to the conclusion. Like, well, what would happen if you lost your job and didn’t have money? Okay. Yeah, let’s follow that thought out, or whatever. And sometimes that can be helpful in fighting, but I think having people or even reading books that can help our brains train to fight it, is really helpful. In addition to having people we talk to and having accountability.
Jasmine Holmes: For sure.
Yeah, because I think my personality type doesn’t read anxious and often I’m not, which might just… It’s honestly, usually just an overconfidence in myself and my own competence, but I’ve had to work backwards to identify anxiety. And what I mean is like, so I had a conversation with my pastor and he wanted to talk about my work ethic. And he was saying, you just seem like someone who, if you have a goal, you accomplish it and you accomplish it well, and I was like, yeah. I was like, I think to a certain degree, my work ethic was modeled to me by my mother. She just was a, there is no excuses. Like why are you afraid? Get over that and do what you got to do kind of person. But there’s another side where my work ethic is motivated by fear.
And so it’s like I have to work hard and I have to be consistent and I have to accomplish this goal because if I don’t, everything else will fail. And so I’ve started to identify when I’m anxious by actually interrogating the reason I’m working so hard. You get what I’m saying? So when I start to look at my calendar and strategize and start to think of all these ways that somebody could be thinking, oh, she’s like dope. She’s like planning out the year and thinking of all these poems and books and all these things to write, but it’s like, no, because you’re not doing out of a place of rest. And that’s the difference. You’re doing it out of a place of fear where you feel like you have to plan out your life in such a way where you feel secure. And so now you need to go back and say, okay, God, I’m afraid of X, Y, and Z, please help me to accomplish all of these goals out of a place of worship and not of trying to control everything.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s exactly the word control. I was like, you really hit at the root of it.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah.
Jackie Hill Perry: I think most of my anxiety flows from my desire to control or make sure… Not control in a heavy handed way, but just to make sure I’ve done everything right or whatever. In some sense, but I do think that’s a really good point.
Melissa Kruger: It’s a manipulative way to try to get peace. We want control because we want to have some sense of security and God just doesn’t want us to function that way because he knows it’s actually impossible. He’s like, no pieces and my hand. There’s literally nothing you can do. You can have some temporal peace for a couple hours or whatnot, but that won’t keep you, you need some internal stuff over here.
Jasmine Holmes: Right, because then that’s going to be on that hamster wheel just chasing after it.
Melissa Kruger: Which is like the world right now.
Jackie Hill Perry: Because of the pandemic [crosstalk]. Then a pandemic hits and all that calendar planning gets shuffled and I think we’re seeing a huge rise of anxiety during this… Will I get it? But not just that kind of plan for next week or my kid is go into school? Is this all going to change? And we’re not used to having to live that way.
Melissa Kruger: Which is understandable in a sense, because the thing about faith is we’re trusting an invisible God. Our jobs and money and doctors and all of… Those are tangible things that I can see, touch, but then God says, trust me. And it’s like, I don’t see you. And so there really is an element of faith that feels scary because I can’t… I don’t even have a him to really hold. I’m supposed to hold this thing by faith. And so I get it, I really do.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, just trusting that, that comes from the Lord is hard because we are taught to trust what we can see. And then it’s like, can you not see all the blessings that he’s already given you? But I want to see… I don’t know. It’s never enough for me. I’m a sinner. Because even as I’m saying that, I’m like, that’s how ungrateful to be. We trust what we can’t see. We can’t God. And it’s like, do you see all-
Melissa Kruger: No, we always want signs like Israel. And it’s like, no, the sign I gave you is a resurrection.
Jasmine Holmes: Oh yeah. Oh God. And it is like, Israel, totally. I’m going to just park the red sea for you, and by the time you walk to the other side of it, you’re going to be like, you’ll just going to let us starve? The sea just stood up next to you and you’re like, I’m hungry, let’s go back to Egypt.
Jackie Hill Perry: And then you get manna and you’re like, and where’s the water? [inaudible].
Jasmine Holmes: And it’s us. The whole time I’m reading it, the older I get, the more I see myself. Because definitely as a young person, I was like, Israel, man. You are all tripping. All he does for you. And I’m like, yeah, then I look at the crucified Christ and I’m like, can I have a little more? I just need to know that you’re you mean it. I remember when I was dating Philip. So I only dated three people before I got married and I got dumped twice. And so my third relationship, I was like-
Melissa Kruger: Did that make you anxious?
Jasmine Holmes: Yes. So we had our first conversation, I was like, Philip, when you feel tired of me, because you will get tired of me because two whole men, which is a lot, I’ve gotten tired of me. So when you get tired of me, just say we need to talk, but then can I dump you? Because I am not going to get in this relationship unless I can dump you. And he was like, sure, yeah. We only dated for two months before we got engaged. I dumped Phillip like five times.
Jackie Hill Perry: In this two months?
Jasmine Holmes: Yes. Because he’s like, Jasmine, let’s have a conversation. And I’d be like, well, it’s over then. And he was like, okay, no, it’s not over. I just was going to say that we need to talk about this. I was like, okay. Or like, Jas, I really didn’t appreciate the way that you [inaudible]. Well, it was over then. And he was like, I’m not dumping you.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh, praise God for Philip’s patience.
Jasmine Holmes: It was like his confidence because he was like, it’s fine. It’s going to be fine. He still proposed to me. I don’t know. We’re going to talk. We’re going to get him looked back because the more I think back, the more I’m like.
Jackie Hill Perry: Were you ever like, here’s the ring back?
Jasmine Holmes: Oh, yeah, I totally did. We were engaged and we had a huge fight and I was like, we’re done. And he was like, okay. And he hung up the phone and I walked into the other room. My dad was in living room. From my dad’s office, I was in my dad’s office talking to Phillip. I walked into the living room and my dad was like, what did you do to Phillip? I was like, I just… What? And he was like, “He just texted me, what happened? And I told him and we talked and then I went into the bedroom to talk to my mom. And she was like, what did you do with Phillip? And I was like, what are you talking? She’s like, I just got off the phone with him.
Jackie Hill Perry: They know their daughter.
Jasmine Holmes: They know their daughter, they did. And they got their little basket case married. Look at that.
Jackie Hill Perry: That made me think of a question though, because I think me and Philip or what I know of Philip, we seem similar in that we just don’t get stressed about stuff. We are just like we’re going to do it and it is what it is. But I think as a spouse and as a friend that can make you very un-empathetic. And so I guess my question would be how does a friend or a sister or a family member walk alongside people who struggle with fear and anxiety in ways that they don’t. What counsel would you all offer for that?
Melissa Kruger: I’ll say what happened to me on that stage in some ways was a gift because I’ve actually never been a very anxious person. I used to be like, mom, why are you so worried? It’s fine. I really can’t say I’ve had much anxiety in my life. I was like, well, I’ll go to that school, I’ll major in that subject. Yeah, just went through life and I’m not typically a worrier or I can even talk myself out of it pretty quickly. Like everybody has the instance of, he’s an hour late home for dinner. Is he dead? Then you slowly start planning a funeral. And then you’re like, okay, what are you doing? I can cut it off. I can see [inaudible] rational.
Even on a plane, when I feel the bombs. I can be like, okay, I’m more likely to die in my car. I can normally out argue my anxiety, but the gift of going through something that I couldn’t argue was I have a lot more sympathy. I think I used to deal with friends or even my husband, because he would be the more… Yeah, I think every payer has a more anxious one, and he’s the one. I told you all in the pandemic, he bought the mask and he had the wipes and I’m laughing at him. Every couple has the person who I think carries the load for the family.
Jackie Hill Perry: The raddle from this is us.
Melissa Kruger: Yes, I told him he is raddle. And it gave me a lot more sympathy of the weight, that is security. I think before I thought it was something, why don’t you just talk yourself out of it? And I think it, it was really good for me to see, Oh, this is a burden. And I pray more for my friends who are struggling, rather than I think there’s a real temptation, oh, I can talk Jasmine out of her fear.
Jackie Hill Perry: No, there is, I’m just going to quote a bunch of scriptures and that’d be that.
Melissa Kruger: Rather than just realized, I need to pray for my friend. This is a spiritual battle in her mind.
Jasmine Holmes: For me, I know that I’m being unreasonable. You don’t have to convince me, but I feel what I feel.
Melissa Kruger: But you’re feeling it.
Jasmine Holmes: Right, I’m feeling it. I will talk myself out of things and I’ll be like, but you’re just talking yourself out of it though. All right, you are going to look stupid when it actually is true, when the plane really does go down.
Melissa Kruger: When the pandemic really does hit.
Jackie Hill Perry: … you got to prepare yourself if I should die before I wake. Well, because that’s the problem [inaudible] people, certain things really do happen. And then they feel more reinforced in their worry.
Jasmine Holmes: We got married in October, we got married October 4th, and by Thanksgiving we had found out we were pregnant with our first baby and I was so anxious the whole time. And everybody kept saying, miscarriages don’t run in our family. You’re healthy. Baby’s got a strong heartbeat, it’s fine. I had a miscarriage and it felt like, see. But when you’re an anxious person, everything is proof, right? It’s like, we’ll see the worst thing does happen, see. And so hardwired to look at the hard things as inevitable, instead of looking at grace as inevitable. And so I have to re-work my brain and it does help to have friends who are doing that. But the way I have found, and Phillip is really good at it. Because he naturally is a fixer. It’s like, you don’t need to be anxious.
Like his mom is sick right now and we are so worried about her. And we talked to her, she sounded bad. And I was like, I’m just really worried. And he says, “Well, I can’t think about that right now. We’re just going to have to wait and see what the doctor says.” And then he’s not going to think about it.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s totally me.
Jasmine Holmes: I’m like, how do you not thinking about it? He’s like, “I’m just not going to think about it.” And so for me, I find… Because people want different things. Some people just want you to be like, I hear you. And I’m like, I get that you hear me, obviously I’m talking, what are you going to say? So what Phillip will do is he’ll, for instance, right now, I’m in a season where I have a lot of stuff going on to say the least in three books.
Jackie Hill Perry: Insanity.
Jasmine Holmes: In four classes that I’m teaching and two children. So it’s crazy.
Melissa Kruger: And it’s going to go well.
Jasmine Holmes: But what Phillip said that really helped me was he was like, it’s just a season. This is a season. This is a window of time. We will not plan another window of time like this, you will get through this window and then you’ll get onto the next thing. Which was so helpful because it wasn’t like, it’s not that hard. People are dying. I was like, okay, no, I understand that people… I understand that. And that’s really bad for them and if I were them, I would feel bad for that, but right now I feel bad for this. But it also wasn’t just like, I hear you. Wow, that does sound hard. Which some people want that, I don’t. Because I’m like, I know that it’s hard. You’ll have to tell me it’s hard, but he was just like, this is a window of time. So I hear you. And also there’s hope in the future.
And so pointing to hope, pointing to joy, pointing to those glimpses is really helpful for me. And when it comes to verses that help with anxiety. Oftentimes people say, cast your cares in the Lord, do not be anxious, those are the ones. I always go to Psalm 16, in your presence is fullness of joy at your right hand are treasures forevermore. Because the opposite of anxiety for me is joy. Is just that feeling of joy in Christ and the knowledge that he has what’s best that he knows what’s best and in his presence, you experienced the fullness of that. And so my prayer, when I’m feeling anxious is always just like, bring me closer to your presence. Like bring me into your presence because I know that this anxiety can’t exist there. And everybody’s different, but that’s been a really helpful piece of the puzzle for me.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s very helpful.
Melissa Kruger: And one thing that helped me is actually, we hear Paul talk about how he’s learned to be content in every circumstances. So we think he was this model of just peace. But even this morning, while I was reading, he was talking about how he daily bears the burden of all the churches. He listed it in this whole, like I’ve beaten, I’ve been shipwrecked. All these horrible things. And at the end he says, and daily, I bear the burden of the church. He felt in some sense. And there’s another verse where he says, fear without anxiety within. He still in the midst of being content in all circumstances, dealt with living in a real fallen world where bad things really do happen. But for me, with some of the speaking things, one thing that really helped me is when I read, it’s 1st Corinthians 2, one through five, and it says, when I came to you, I didn’t come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom, for I decided to do nothing among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling and my speech and my message were not implausible words of wisdom, but in a demonstration of the spirit of power that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
And this is another blessing, I pray a lot more now when I speak than I used to. And so I think sometimes this weakness we feel is meant to drive us to prayerfulness when we might rely on ourselves and not on God. And so it helped me see, oh, I can’t get by on my own communication skills. And that I really sit before the Lord and I have to say, what if it happens again? What if I’m up there and I’m trembling again? And I have to hear that the spirit say to me, you’ll survive. It’ll be okay. And you walk forward in faith, but it makes going… I think one of the thing if it’s prohibiting us from living the life God’s called us to, we have to battle and we have to say, I go and faith. This might be terrible. It might go badly, but I trust you. But I do think it makes us more prayerful.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, it does.
Jackie Hill Perry: Because I think some anxieties, or at least for me can make me more sinful, if that makes sense. Even circling back to the social anxiety, I think for a really long time, and it’s still something I deal with for a really long time, not being a fond or being around strangers made me mean. Because they’re exhausting and I don’t want to talk to you. And so, because of it, the best way to get you away from me is to just be mean to you. And I would do that all the time. That was just the way I coped. But now I realize that my introversion or my anxieties are never an excuse to dishonor God and my neighbor.
And so now I always have to ask God before I do anything publicly, Lord, give me kindness. Lord give me grace. Give me the capacity and even the stamina to be able to be what I need to be for the people that I meet. And he’s really been gracious. I think I’ve been pretty nice to people. I have grown. And so yeah, to your point, but I think there’s a self-awareness that has to happen. You have to be aware of it first to then be able to present it to God but also trusting, like he’s going to show up, but he really is faithful in that way.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. And the simple choice would be to say, I’m just not going to go to social things.
Jackie Hill Perry: I want to isolate.
Melissa Kruger: Or when I picture you standing in front of the school room crying, just saying I’m not coming back. And so we need people who won’t let us live in our fear.
Jasmine Holmes: For sure.
Jackie Hill Perry: You know what’s crazy though? Is that Adam, my two year old, she has that anxiety. And the first time I saw it was Thanksgiving, we had went to Preston’s sister’s house and she’s around all these people that she just has never seen before and she started shaking. And I was like, I passed it on. But to me, Preston was like, he’s like also like your meanness and you fearfulness for people. He was like that’s actually like in your blood. And I don’t know, seeing how she responded to people showed me that what I deal with is natural to me, but I’m also grateful that as her mother, I now have the ability to prep her. So when it comes to her third grade year, I can already foresee it and say, you know what? You’re about to go into a space that’s very scary and very weird and very strange, but you will be okay. And so I think that’s cool that as a parent, what God has taught me, I’m going to be able to help my children with.
Jasmine Holmes: That’s when Wayne gets very nervous, he tells me. Oh, I just feel so nervous, I know buddy, we may feel nervous. You may always feel nervous and that’s okay.
Jackie Hill Perry: God is still God.
Melissa Kruger: I love both those stories, you’re sympathetic because you see it in yourself. And I think of how it talks about Jesus who sympathizes with us in our weakness, because he’s been tempted in every way but without sin, but he’s felt it. And so sometimes I think with things like anxiety and fear and depression, maybe because there’s shame in our culture around feeling those things like, oh, you’re not supposed to, we almost then don’t feel like we can take them to Jesus. Whereas he’s like, no, I’m sympathetic. I’m the parent who understands.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. If you read the Psalms, it’s clear that God wants us to be honest in that way.
Melissa Kruger: Cast all of our burdens and that he’s not going to turn us away because we’re fearful and scared what he says to all of our fears over and over and over in scripture is, I am with you. He actually doesn’t say there’s nothing to fear.
Jackie Hill Perry: Even in Titus, doesn’t it say, don’t fear what is fearful? Which is an acknowledgement that the thing is scary. He just say, I know it’s scary, but don’t be scared of it.
Melissa Kruger: Yes. And so I think one of the things when a child comes in the bedroom crying at night, normally what they just want is our presence. I used to go climb into bed with my three-year-old when she was little. I remember crawling into bed with her. I couldn’t fight the monsters that weren’t there under the bed, but I could say I’m with you. And so I think one thing we can say to all of our fears and anxieties is the Lord is there and he’s with me and he’s not bothered by my fear and my anxiety. He wants to comfort them.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, absolutely.
Melissa Kruger: And I think if I can remember, he’s not up there with a lightning bolt, so disappointed that I’m fearful again. I don’t know, he’s inviting me into his presence and saying, I’ve got this.
Jasmine Holmes: I love that.
Jackie Hill Perry: Well, guys, on that note, it was a beautiful way to end the conversation.
Jasmine Holmes: You are a good ender.
Jackie Hill Perry: You are a good ender, look at you. Bring it on home.
Melissa Kruger: Come on conclusion.
Jackie Hill Perry: Okay. So now we’re going to talk about our favorite things. And today I want to know if time was not a factor, what would be your preferred mode of travel?
Jasmine Holmes: If time was not a factor.
Jackie Hill Perry: I was about to say rocket, but that’s based on time. Planes. Look, trains, I know the time, it takes too long, okay? Boats, I’m all right on being on the water and the waves and I get nauseous and it gets on my nerves. Road trips, that’s a lot of time with people. I’m sorry. God is working on me, but it is a lot of time. Bikes, I don’t want my [inaudible] that strong. So planes. So I didn’t follow the rules. [crosstalk]. Time and comfort is a thing and amenities.
Melissa Kruger: I don’t like to travel. If I can’t walk there, I don’t want to go. And if time is not a factor, do you mean the time-space continuum is not a factor because if that’s true, link and teleport,[inaudible]. That’s how I’m going to interpret that question.
Jasmine Holmes: I would completely bike. I love it. When we lived in Cambridge, England, it’s a biking city and that’s how we got around. And I just think I notice things I didn’t notice if time was not a factor.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s sweet.
Melissa Kruger: If muscle pain was not a factor.
Jasmine Holmes: I came back to the States and I was like, I bought a bike and I was all excited. We are not set up for bikes. I was going to get myself killed on the road.
Jasmine Holmes: I really loved it. And I would have all my kids ridding. I had a two year old at the time and she was on my bike and my other kids were like little ducklings following behind. And I was like, this is so nice, but it doesn’t work in the States very well.
Jackie Hill Perry: No it doesn’t. Thanks for listening to this episode of Let’s Talk. Next week’s episode will be a conversation on people pleasing. You mentioned that. So this is going to be all you Melissa. You can subscribe to Let’s Talk through Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you like to get your podcasts. Check out. Other shows from the gospel coalition podcast [email protected]/podcast. The Gospel Coalition supports the church and making disciples of all nations by providing resources that are trusted and timely when something wise and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ.