rebelling against low expectations

How do I battle anxiety and stay motivated?


SELAH WRITES: I am fairly sure I have depression, anxiety and a semi-crippling fear of failure. I’ve been battling with these for a while and it’s getting hard to be motivated to do things such as apply for jobs and practice for my drivers licence. What are some practical ways to battle these and be motivated to live life well, besides seeing a professional? I am planning to do that as soon as I can afford it.

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  • I would say seek the Lord in prayer and In studying his word. Depression, anxiety, and fear can be crippling but if we go to the Lord with our weaknesses he will lead us, guide us and help us. The Psalm are great passages to start because David seem to have suffered with some of the same things, but there was always a hope, a answer, and a comfort to his distress. Psalm 6: 6 “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eyes water away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.” But in verse 9 David comes back and says “The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.” And in chapter 7, verse 1 “O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge…” We all know Psalm 23, the Shepherd’s about finding rest in the Lord; right before this Psalm is a deep song of lament and distress to God. This song has encouraged my at my darkest times. David felt forsaken by God, he was in deep sorrow, anguish, and even suffering persecution but in these two chapters David is reminded of the rest we find in Christ, of the peace that he gives, and the assurance that he will never leave us or forsake us. Cry out to the Lord, rest in his strength, find peace In his goodness, and seek prayer and strength from his children, as well.

  • My advice is pray and stay in God’s word. I don’t know what type of anxiety your dealing with. But a little while ago I was dealing with bad anxiety about the possibility of loosing someone I love. So I emursed my self in scripture about God’s protection and safty. Dwelling on those verses helped me deal with my anxiety. And helped calm my spirit. So maybe you could try that. Open up the Bible and read scriptures about God’s peace and protection. Dwelling on God’s word may help you have the courage and strength you need to face life and new things.

  • For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

    Fear can be a huge detriment in our lives, and I’m not going to say it isn’t a problem, but fear of failure most likely comes back to something that has happened/been said in our past that damages us. I would encourage you to spend some time in prayer, and try to find the source of your fears and deal with that. There may not be one issue, if it is a mental illness and it may take a long time to get through, but God does not want us to have to live in Fear. He wants you to be free, powerful, brave and on fire for Him. He will help you get through even if it never fully goes away. It’s important to never fall into the trap of believing you’re not good enough or that you’ll never get well. God knows you’re perfect as you are. You don’t need to be well to be good enough.
    Fear is the enemies most powerful weapon, not the feeling of fear, but the ability to cripple us with it. This does not make you a failure, it just means some days you won’t be as strong. It gives you an immense need for God’s strength to carry you through. Courage is not the absence of fear but the strength to carry on regardless. Having fear in your life may make you one of the bravest people alive, by His power.

    Motivation is a tough one, and I would go back to the same verse and point out “self-discipline” . Everyone at some point, loses their motivation. Motivation is a feeling, and unfortunately feelings are inconsistent. Like a marriage relationship, we cannot rely on feelings alone but on commitment. Its a choice we make every day. So if you choose study, or a career, or even just preparing for your driving test, be self-disciplined, be committed. God will give you the strength and power you need as long as you’re putting in everything you have. However small that may be. Your motivation will come and go and when you have it you should run with it, but when you don’t; be committed. Discipline yourself to try. Ask God for His strength and Power and you will get through.
    God has great plans for you. I would encourage you to seek help when you can, but remember that God has everything he needs you to be already in you. You are His and you are perfect and complete. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. God loves you.

  • I definitely agree with everything everyone has said so far!

    It’s SO important to spend time with God every single day, reading His word and praying, even if you feel like you get nothing out of it. Whether you feel close to God or not, continue your devotions anyway. How else will you get close to Him again?

    As for motivation, I have found that the best thing to do is have a plan ahead of time and then just start working through that plan whether you feel like it or not. Often if you just start working, you feel much better than if you had sat around wishing you felt motivated to work.

    There are all kinds of methods you can use to plan your days, so find something that you can be consistent with and that works for you. From detailed schedules to a to-do list scratched on a piece of paper, anything can help. Just have a plan for how you will spend your time. That way, when faced with a new day, you won’t have to decided what to do based on how you feel in the moment. The key is to follow the plan whether you feel like it or not.

    I’ve been struggling with similar feelings at times and I know how awful it is. It will get better! Stay close to God and do your best to get through each day, trusting that it will not always be like this!

    -Grace (

  • I’m so sorry this is happening, Selah! You’re definitely in my prayers.
    I love what everyone else has said so far and I agree with all of it. I may add, though, if you’re dealing with emotional issues that are out of control, counseling might be a good idea. I dealt with similar issues you are, and we realized that it was related to trauma repercussions from what had happened to me previously.

    Really spend time with Jesus! The more you tap into Him, the more you will feel that peace that passes all understanding. He is truly the only person you will never fail or disappoint!
    I am more that happy to talk with you further and you are absolutely in my prayers!

    • Liana! I’ve been meaning to find you recently and ask you how life was going. How did working at camp go? Update me!!! 🙂

      • Hello, my dear!! it’s so good to hear from you. LIFE IS CRAZY. today was the last day of camp! I am so exhausted, but we still have staff and the little kids. I’m ready for it to end. I don’t mind the job so much but there’s been a lot of drama between my coworkers and supervisors which make it pretty emotionally wearing. Hey, if you’re allowed, I could give you my contact info and then maybe we could keep up a little more regularly 🙂 Or if you’re on revive, we could connect through there. I want to hear about your summer too!!

        • Oh wow, last day huh? And yeah, I totally understand the “ready-to-go-home” feeling. Sorry it had to be that way for you! Go home and take a really looooong nap 😉 Also, I would love to get your contact info (I’m not active on Revive), but I’ll have to ask my parents first. So I shall get back to you on that! Until then, I shall give you the mini overview of my summer… which basically consisted of camp and a couple piano recitals. Camp was good this year… hard, but good 🙂 This last week I was super sick, but the rest i got was nice, ya know? So that’s been my life, haha XD

          • Oh, no! So sorry you were sick. I was sick a lot last winter, so I know how annoying it can be. 🙁 Tell me about your camp!! I love hearing about other ones. 🙂 It’s been a good summer, but I’m sure ready for a normal routine again! 😀

          • It’s alright, but I’m very thankful to be feeling better now! My camp is… Haha I could use so many words to describe it. Small. Homey. A little wacky… in a good way. 😉 But I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Camp ministry will be pretty near and dear to my heart forever now that I’ve worked out there for so long. I would love to hear more about your camp as well! 🙂

          • lol, our camp is big, crazy, and sometimes a little chaotic. It’s a lot of fun for the campers and there’s so much to do! I agree, camp ministry is so awesome!!!! Would you be able to give me the name of your camp? I might know about it…. ours is Beulah Beach, if you want to look it up!

          • Haha cool! It’s called Whispering Cedars, but I doubt you’ve ever heard of it 😉 Beulah Beach… I like it. Just might have to look it up!

  • Yes, everyone has said such good things! I have struggled with a lot of the same things, but I am always in my best times when I seek comfort from God and spend time with Him, knowing He loves me and will never forsake me. Take Courage!

  • Hey Selah,I feel you here! I have a lot of the same issues, and the advice shared so far is excellent! God is obviouslt the biggest part of this equation Psalm 4:8 says “I will both lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.” It’s one of my favorite scriptures. Also, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie Pollyanna? In it she plays ‘the Glad Game.’ She takes something dreadful, like being given a pair of crutches instead of a doll (mortifying to a ten-year-old) and finds a way to be glad about it -she can be thankful that she doesn’t have to use them! I know it’s a little cheesy, but coming from someone struggling with the same issues as you, playing the Glad Game actually helps my depression. A final thought, one of my all time favorite movie quotes: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” I’ll be praying for you.

  • Hey Selah 🙂 I sooo feel you…. I have struggled similarly for forever. Depression, anxiety, and fear of failure is tough to deal with and can really be frustrating. I am frequently frustratingly unproductive and have missed out on so many opportunities in life because I procrastinated, afraid to fail. There have been so many great responses already but I just want to throw out a bunch of thoughts and things that have helped me, in case it helps you too 😉 (also sorry in advance…I know this is a mile long haha. I am terrible at being concise…and Im too lazy to try and make it shorter XD)

    – Ask yourself questions: Ask yourself WHY you feel the way you do. WHY do you feel depressed? WHAT do you have to be anxious about? These feelings are so muddly, but try to sort through and analyze them. In my experience, there is always a reason behind a feeling, it just might not be what we would initially expect. Are you afraid of failing…because you had a past failure that haunts you? …because you are afraid that if you fail you wont be valued by others/seen as competent/trusted? Be completely honest with yourself. Don’t deny if something is bothering you, and don’t live in denial of something you just don’t want to admit is bothering you. Be completely honest with yourself about everything. It helps.

    – Tell yourself truth: Now sometimes what is at the root of a feeling of depression/anxiety I am having is an actual real problem…about 98% of the time however, either my perception of something is twisted…or it’s based on a lie I’m telling myself. My biggest problem is feeling like my worth is tied to my work. If I fail, I’m done for – in my mind. No one will trust me, value me, respect me…I will never have another chance…the consequences of failure would be too much to bear…when in fact: none of this is true. But it sure FEELS true! Last year my dad told me something that impacted me. At the time I was terrified about starting a speech that I needed to write and had been putting it off for weeks. My dad told me: Fears are ghosts. And I just loved that. Think about it: remember when you were little, and you were terrified of the shadow behind the door, the eyes in the closet, the evil lurking outside in the hall…and you would stay frozen in bed, dying of thirst because you are too terrified to get up to get a drink of water or whatever. In reality, there was no monster. But the feelings of terror over something that didnt exist kept you from taking action. If you had gotten up you would have realized that there was no monster, you would have made it to the kitchen and back safely, quenched your thirst, and been that much braver next time. It’s the same now. Just your ghosts seem a little more real. Maybe they are real fears, you say? Im not denying that lol. My speech not being liked by the judges is a pretty legit fear. But the thing about fear of failure is that it hasn’t happened yet – and might never happen. It’s terror of the potential. So for now: it is just a ghost. Less than a ghost, in fact: ghosts are the memories of things that used to be…these ghosts, on the other hand, are the foreshadows of something that will likely never exist. This is a battle of feelings you are going thru. Feelings dont always match reality. So tell yourself truth. For example, I have to tell myself that I am more than my mistakes and successes. That I am more than what I do, it is also who I am as a person. Everyone makes mistakes. And true people love you even if you do make a fudge of it. I freaked out over debate research this year because I never wanted people to think I was incompetent or for me to fail them when they used my research. But I realized thru the long year that my friends were always gonna have my back regardless of what I did. I did some stupid stuff, but they (and my family) are true and they love ME…for me, not for my research. This goes for you too! So yeah I’m rambling lol…but tell yourself truth! Fear is just a ghost. What you are afraid of doesnt even exist yet (and likely never will). Your failure wont change your worth. Your friends and family are true and will still love you just the same whether you succeed or fail. A fail doesnt make you a failure. It just is experience under your belt. And it wont phase you. Use your mind to tell yourself truths and follow it despite your feelings.

    – Learn to love the adventure: Life has successes and life has failures. Embrace the unexpected! Laugh at mistakes. Unexpected disappointments and flubs in life are sometimes the best things that happen. You learn from them, you grow from them – in fact you grow more from a flub than a success! For example, I kept getting loads of judges that just didnt care for my speech all year long – it didnt do very well – but that pushed me to come to a place where I just trusted God and spoke the truth, not prideful in my abilities, but trusting solely on Him and giving my speech not for me but for others. Also it made me really analyze what I needed to do better, how to amp my performance so that when I unexpectedly qualified for Nationals I was ready to compete on that level. Failures open new doors: I failed to write a script for an interpretation my sister and I were going to do…epic fail…but that ended up a blessing: she had less stress, and I was able to do a solo interpretation on a story that blessed a lot of people. I failed to be prepped for debate…I had NO IDEA what I was doing at my first tournament. It was the most humiliating stressful experience…but I didnt die. It was wisely said that “what doesnt kill you makes you stronger.” I found a greater confidence in just TRYING. I realized that failure doesnt kill me. Also failure is not final. As Thomas Edison famously said about his failures trying to invent the lightbulb: “I didnt fail. I just found 1,000 ways how not to make a lightbulb.” No one remembers his fails…just his character that pushed him to ultimately succeed. So don’t fear 😉 just do! Think of it as an adventure! Also idk if you are a Lord of the Rings fan…but even if you arent, JRR Tolkien once wrote: “It isnt an adventure worth telling if there isnt any dragons.” So embrace the dragons cos that is what makes it an adventure.

    – Find your identity in Christ: A lot of what I have been saying boils down to this. You are who you are in Christ and that can never change. You have worth in Him, and you are His treasure, and even if something terrible does happen, that wont change who you are in Him. Failure doesnt make you any less special than success makes you more special. Your worth is inherent. Seek to root yourself in Him, constantly reminding yourself of your identity in Him. (Also true people who truly love you will love you regardless. What have you to fear? 2 Tim. 1:7 is one of my fav verses.)

    – Root your identity in Christ: Read His Word. Every day. I know the busy life: for years I serially neglected my daily time with God. Getting back into it, I just read a Psalm – a random shortish one before my shower in the morning. My favorite quickly became Psalm 130. Verse 5 is so beautiful: “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.” This waiting is not a passive waiting, not the couch-potato or procrastinating sort. It’s an active, life-full waiting. It’s a truly being in Christ, rooted in Him, your heart entirely in His, your trust entirely caught up in Him, your confidence founded in Him to the utmost. And living purposefully out of that. Entirely in Him, you have nothing to fear!

    – Pray – a lot: Constant communion with God. Just talk to Him. Tell Him how you feel, how much you hate it, how much you want to be courageous and productive. And then ask Him to enable you to not only have the strength to do it, but that you will do it, and also even to have the feelings like that, too. Then dont wait – just go do it.

    – Do it: Be that ridiculously brave soul that can. Just take the baby steps. Here are some practical tips that have helped me:

    – Make a plan – and make it achievable: I often try and make a list for the next day the night before. It helps me hit the next day confident and ready to be immediately productive. Also set goals that are reasonable. I like to pick 3 things that are key for the day, and then list all others as important-but-secondary goals, less important goals, goals-for-if-I-have-time, etc. Then I focus on those 3. Also when you set goals, break them down into parts. My room gets horrendously messy, and if I write “clean room on my list”…that’s overwhelming. Instead if I write “put clothes away” “vacuum” “organize bookshelf” etc, then I get to cross off each much-more-achievable step bit by bit and this seriously boosts my productivity – and my spirit! Writing specific action steps simplifies things. So for example, if you were to write “apply for jobs” on a list, you could instead say “apply for [particular job]” or “apply for three jobs” or something like that. Just a thought 🙂

    – Be diligent! When you work, work hard and stay focused. Set the timer maybe. It is artificial motivation, but it can make it a bit like a game. (Set it for a reasonable time tho lol…be realistic. If you are overly optimistic and set the timer for 15 minutes for a 25 minute job and you dont beat it that can be depressing. Instead, set the timer for 25 minutes and see how much you can beat it by, or something.)

    – Celebrate the small stuff: Give yourself permission to celebrate. You hit that goal of 3-important things? Celebrate it! You successfully applied? Celebrate! Do something that makes you happy 🙂 Take a few to draw, or read, make a batch of cookies, or soak in the tub – just do something! It’s easy to push yourself so hard because you arent as amazing as you want to be yet, but you need to remember to take a break too. Work hard and diligently, and then break hard when you do.

    (It kind of all comes down to the idea of “small stuff.” “Failures” are smaller than you think. Matter less than you think. Sweat the small stuff. Celebrate the small stuff. Take joy in the small stuff of life. Be diligent in the small stuff. I even went so far as to write “small stuff” inside the front of my planning notebook as a reminder.)

    – Journal: I can get so muddled up inside my brain. You can get trapped in your own perspective. I don’t know if you are much of a writer, but I recently discovered that journaling helps me a surprising amont. You can do it regularly, or just when you feel like you need it. I journal sometimes every day or two, sometimes I pull out my journal more than once a day, other times not for weeks. Taking the time to write your thoughts and feelings can help to clarify so much. Something that seems so massive inside my head often lessens radically once on paper. Asking yourself questions and telling yourself truth in this format helps a lot too. It is out in front of you and wayyyy less muddly than trying to reason it out inside your own mind. Writing your heart-cries to God is also good. My journal entries often morph into prayers.

    – Read: I just randomly thought of this, but Im gonna throw this out there too. I dont know if you are a reader, if you enjoy reading, but reading takes you out of your mind and allows you into the mind of another. It’s a change in perspective and can be soooooo healthy. CS Lewis, the famous storywriter, once asked himself, what IS the good of stories? The nearest he could get to answer, is that stories provide that change of perspective, they take us beyond ourselves. When you are depressed and anxious you can get so caught-up in your own mind, and sometimes reading a story (true or fictional) can be really refreshing. Dont binge-read to the neglect of what you need to do lol, but pick a good book, and read a little bit, bit by bit. Maybe you already do this XD but there is my thought haha.

    – Also, make sure you are taking care of yourself: I have struggled with depression off and on since I was like 10. It used to be much worse. But I have realized how much my environment and how I take care of myself has an effect on me. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Make sure you are eating well – regularly and healthily – what you eat has such an effect on you it’s ridiculous! I have a friend that has a tough life, kinda really depressed, but on top of everything she doesnt really eat during the day and then she will randomly binge-eat mac-and-cheese or ice cream or something…and she just doesnt feel good and really can play with her moods. Get plenty of sleep. (My friend also has ridiculous sleeping habits.) Sleep helps your brain relax and sort and keep thinking rationally. When I am sleep-deprived (like…all the time XD) I dont feel good, am not as motivated, and can be emotional and less prone to be rational and reasonable with myself. Also my environment has an affect on me. My depression is often worsened by the weather…I can get suuuuuper depressed in the winter. I live in WA where it is cloudy and gloomy a lot, that can really depress my spirits, so I have to keep cognizant of that effect it has on me. I also started taking some vitamins that really helped me feel better – sometimes you feel worse cos your body just isnt functioning well, or you are low on something. I know I sound like a total health freak here haha, but stay with me here lol. One thing that is proven to increase feelings of depression is a vitamin D deficiency. I take Vit. D regularly now and it has helped some. Its not a cure-all for depression, I still battle with it…but it really really has helped me, and I know others who have seen a difference with it as well.

    I hope some of this was helpful or helps… I’ll be praying for you 🙂 This is and will be a fight – life is for anybody! But you rest in the shadow of the Almighty. You live for Him. So live with courage, with a high heart of hope, with abandon. You got this, Selah!

    God bless.

  • I have personally dealt with depression (and still do) I have never really had anxiety accept some irrational fears at night sometimes. I do, however have experienced three family members who all deal with it. My oldest sister had a panic attack so bad she had to go to the hospital. She has had many since. That was over a year ago. About 2-3 weeks ago I sag with my mom through a panic attack.
    From those experiences o can say that reading scripture relating to what you are facing is the best thing. Make every victory count. I remember cheering for my sister when she got in a car and drove. With my depression I often find that getting out of my house and hanging out with friends really helps me.
    Hope there was something helpful in my jumbled mess!

  • You’ve got to preach the gospel to yourself. Remind yourself what’s true, about you, the world, whatever. But fight the lies in your head by learning and trusting scripture (the bible).

rebelling against low expectations

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