What does it feel like to be “alive in Christ”?
I’ve been a church kid all my life. I know what it means. It means I have accepted the incredible, free gift of salvation. It means my old self—my sinful self—is dead. It means my new self—my justified, clothed-in-the-righteousness-of-Christ self—is alive. (Galatians 2:20.)
To be alive in Christ. I know what it means, but what does it feel like?
Let me tell you what it does not feel like: A person who is alive in Christ is not drowning in stress and suffocated by anxiety. She does not spend her days hustling and her nights fretting.
Trust me, I know what it feels like to be saved but not truly alive in my faith.
Anxiety has been a suffocating force in my life since I was a child. For many years of my Christian life, fears and insecurities robbed me of true freedom in Christ.
I was alive, but not truly living. Anxiety was killing me a little bit every day—aging my soul and numbing my joy.
Please hear me say this – I do not believe my struggle with anxiety revokes my salvation. I am, however, convinced that when anxiety rules my life I am only experiencing part of the benefits of my salvation.
Dear sister, I wonder if you’ve ever experienced the life-sucking side-effects of anxiety? I wonder if—like me—you are not really sure what it feels like to be alive in Christ but you sure as heck know what it does not feel like.
The stats are not in our favor. It is estimated that one third of the North American adult population experiences anxiety unwellness issues. Even scarier, more than half of college students have sought help for anxiety.
This includes Christ-followers. We are a people called to peace (Colossians 3:15), yet so many of us walk tentatively through life with white-knuckles and high blood pressure.
If you’ve experienced anxiety, you know it is a lethal poison. The great news is there is an anecdote—trust.
Plain and simple – fear or anxiety is a lack of trust in God.1
It’s an ugly statement to wrestle with, I know.
Over and over again in Scripture we are commanded to “cast our anxieties on Him.” (See Philippians 4:6, Matthew 6:25-34, Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:6-8.) When we refuse to release our fears and worries to Christ and, instead, fight to control them ourselves, we essentially tell the all-powerful God of the Universe that we do not trust Him.
When I think back to the time in my life that I was most riddled with anxiety. It was during a season when I was dealing with the death of several friends and family members.
Let me level with you—I did not fully trust God in that season.
I was too distracted by my fears of loosing another loved one to remember God’s obvious faithfulness in my life. I was too confused and hurt by (what I thought were) unanswered prayers to recount the countless prayers that were answered with abundance.
(To my sisters who are walking through a season of doubt or distrust, remember this: When a Christ-follower struggles with doubt, it does not mean she loses her salvation. It means she is being authentic in her faith. Please, keep asking questions. Keep praying tearful, frustrated prayers. Keep studying God’s Word like your life depends on it.)
This is what I learned during my dark, anxiety-ridden season:
We all have a recording studio in the depths of our hearts that reiterates the messages we send to it. When we dwell on our fears, mull over our worries, and let our anxieties play in our mind on repeat, those thoughts take root.
Only when we allow that recording studio to play songs of God’s goodness, grace, and sovereignty will we build trust.
Anxiety is fought with a million tiny melodies of gratitude and countless recitations of God’s faithfulness.
Some of the songs playing in my recording chamber lately: Romans 8:38. Psalm 23. John 14:27. The way I met my husband which was so undoubtedly God-orchestrated. The rich lessons I’ve learned through a job that fell in my lap. Gorgeous Texas sunsets. God-given friends who give bear hugs and wise, Scripture-soaked advice.
So, back to the original question—what does it feel like to be “alive in Christ”?
For me, it feels like the satisfying rest, after a hardcore belly-laugh with great friends. You know the kind of laughter that takes your breath away? The kind of giggle-fit that ends with a great sigh of relief. That’s what being alive with Christ feels like!
Life with Christ is safe, free of guilt, pregnant with joy, and completely satisfying.
May we be women who do not fear tomorrow but, instead, rest completely in the promises of Scripture. Let us stifle lies and dwell on the Truth. Let us trust completely in our Savior.
May we be women whose lives are marked by joy, peace, and gratitude and whose recording chambers sing loud halleluiahs regardless of the hell we might be walking though.
Will you write a list of Scripture-soaked, halleluiahs to play in the recording chamber of your heart this week? If you are willing, share a few in the comments below.
Footnote: 1. I am just a sister who is walking along with you in the struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, people-pleasing, and, Lord knows, plenty of other junk. I am not a psychiatrist or a licensed counselor. While I believe Scripture and real-life experience supports my statement that anxiety is often caused by a lack of trust in God, BUT I also know there are situations when anxiety is actually caused by a chemical imbalance in our bodies. If you fall into this camp, I hope you will continue pursuing God with ferocity. I also hope you feel the freedom to seek professional help. God is big enough to heal us through the Holy Spirit and His Word, and He is definitely big enough to heal us through doctors and counselors.