Written by Maiko Kimberly Estayan, Philippines
At the age of 24, I had a promising career ahead of me. I had just assumed a high ranking position in an organization whose vision aligned with my passion for conserving God’s creation. I had a title that I could brag about to my friends who were working in the same field, which gave me a sense of pride. However, as months went by, I found it difficult to match up to my company’s expectations and my performance at work began to decline.
I was so confident of the skills and expertise I had to offer that when I started encountering challenges at work, I didn’t realize that there was so much that I didn’t know and had to learn.
Confused and frustrated, I struggled to find my place at work and started to become very anxious. I felt like I wasn’t doing as well as my colleagues. I became extremely sensitive to the slightest comments that my supervisors made. I couldn’t help but mull over self-defeating thoughts in my head.
I would spend hours working just to catch up on my to-do list, exhausted by the time I reached home. Oftentimes, I failed to spend proper quiet time with God. My mind couldn’t focus on what I was doing. Whenever I tried to pray, my mind would drift to my work, strategizing how I could tackle a particular task or running through all the pending tasks I had.
Even though I felt tired throughout the day, I couldn’t rest at night. I had no peace. My heart was troubled over every little detail of my work, and I was so afraid of making mistakes and not meeting expectations.
Each meeting would turn my stomach into knots and the anxiety was evident in my shaking voice whenever I had to speak up in front of my mentors. I felt so underqualified and mortified after each meeting that I would run to the restroom to cry my heart out. I knew then that I had to do something to manage my anxiety.
The Turning Point
To psych myself up for work, I would rehearse self-affirming encouragements in front of the mirror every morning. At night, I would pore over self-help articles, hoping that they could allay my anxieties. However, my attempts were futile. I still couldn’t thrive at work and my anxiety worsened.
I started to yearn for something deeper and more reliable—and God reminded me of an important truth through the most unexpected way. January is Bible month at my church, and as I prepared for our church’s annual Bible Quiz Bees, I reflected again on my favorite memory verses.
One of these verses was Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I had already memorized this verse over and over again but right at that moment, God used it to speak to me.The verse reminded me that my efforts, skills, and all that I have to offer will always be lacking, but when I entrust my steps to God, He will guide me and make my paths straight.
Even though my career had taken off, it failed to grant me the peace that I craved for. I knew that I had to turn to Jesus instead of dwelling on my struggles or relying on my own understanding to resolve my frustrations at work. I began to write down prayers on my to-do list, jotting down everything that was making me anxious.
I started to pray during work too, telling Jesus everything that ran through my mind. That helped me realize it is possible to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) when my heart truly seeks Him. When I prayed, I would ask for His wisdom to guide me through every task and give thanks for every completed task.
God Isn’t Too Busy to Hear You
As I did that, things began to slowly change for the better. Even in my busiest moments, He was still with me, giving me the strength to overcome my bouts of self-doubt and anxiety. I didn’t have to fear not being competent enough because my security and confidence was in Jesus, and not in myself or my ability. I still have a long way to go and so much more to learn in my career, but I’m choosing to take comfort in the knowledge that I have the wisest mentor, Jesus, to teach and guide me along the way.
When faced with our doubts and pressure, it’s easy for us to forget that the Creator of the universe is the One who holds us whenever fear strikes. There are times when I feel like my simple worries, such as arriving late at work due to traffic jams, or when I start to stutter if I get too nervous to speak up, are too petty for God and He must be too busy to hear me. But that is the devil’s lie. Jesus has told us clearly that He cares and provides, even for the raven and the grass of the field (Luke 12:24-28). What more will He do for us, His children, whom He died to rescue from sin?
While I will never be able to grasp the extent of God’s amazing love for me, I’m thankful that He loves me and His providence sustains me every day. Whenever I am feeling fearful or doubtful, He is with me and will give me the strength and courage to overcome any difficulty I face.
If you’re struggling with anxiety too, remember that Jesus is always with you. He is more powerful than our greatest fears.