Anxiety Exists in the Vacuum of Hopelessness

Even after 20 years of being in recovery, I still can feel hopeless and anxious. Not too long ago I was in a dark night of the soul[1], as we all have from time to time. I felt like I was losing my peace of mind, my sobriety, my physical health, my integrity, my character, my sanity—completely overwhelmed by the feeling of despair.

Regardless of how far I have come, and how much I have learned, I am vulnerable. The work is never done. My fear told me that there wasn’t a way out. Despite what experience had proven to me.

My mind raced with endless thoughts of loss and the fear of failure. My anxiety existed in the vacuum of hopelessness.

Whenever I feel hopeless, I will do anything to secure a peaceful feeling, even at the expense of reaching for dysfunctional things. As in most things, cultivating hope can allow us all to go in a different direction.

Hope is our anchor to the eternal world that Scripture calls the inner sanctuary. “We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure that enters the inner sanctuary” (Hebrews 6:19).

Picture yourself throwing an anchor into the eternal world and snagging the throne of God. Now anchor yourself with a heavy tug, making your hope firm and secure. And whatever you do, don’t let go. When you feel yourself sinking into the depths of despair, visualize your anchor.

Securing my anchor of hope in the eternal God kept me alive in some very dark nights. It became a secure attachment for me—God is with me and for me. He’s never going to abandon me. This gave me hope.

Bernard Williams once said, “There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.”

I call this confident hope, and strong people by character have confident hope as an anchor of the soul. And they get up and get going again after a season of despair, because they can say as the psalmist, “… you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up” (Psalm 71:20).

This is the confident hope that will keep you from drifting into a state of anxiety, because confidence always produces hope. So, cast your anchor into the inner sanctuary. Secure your hope in God. Then hold tight to the promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

No dark night can defeat the inner peace confident hope produces.

[1] Dark Night of the Soul, Dr. Gerald May

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