Monday, August 20, 2012

In the Church Parking Lot

I have always been a religious person. I was taught about God as a child and have always found great strength in attending church, reading the scriptures, and praying. When my anxiety was at its peak, I had the hardest time in church. When church was over, I would think, "Phew! I made it through another Sunday." My anxiety told me that I was worth nothing. It told me I didn’t belong there. It told me I should just give up. My anxiety would tell me I wasn’t good enough to be in the pews, that I couldn’t handle what was being taught, and basically that I was scum. There were a few months when I never went through a Sunday at church where I didn’t feel at some point that I needed to run, and I mean run, outside for some air. I never did run, because I knew deep inside that what my anxiety was telling me wasn’t true. Church is not a place for perfect people. Church is a place for sinners and mistake makers.

On one particular Sunday I was really having a hard time. My sister was sitting a few people down from me on the same row. I looked at her with a desperate face. That was all I needed to do. Between our next two meetings, my sister and I went to my car in the parking lot. I told her what was going on in my head. She comforted me and gave me her support. I felt better just being able to express myself to her. I told her I still believed in my religion 100%, it was just so hard to sit there with my anxiety telling me I'm nothing, telling me all the things being said in church are out of reach. She didn't judge me or tell me to get over it. She offered her love and support. It was so helpful. 

What my anxiety was telling me in church wasn't true. I needed to be there. I am not perfect, but I am loved by my Heavenly Father. Church is not a place for perfect people. Church is a place for sinners, mistake makers, and even those who have anxiety.    


  1. Chelsea, I love the way you write! And you are a wonderful person. I love you!

  2. Just reading through this brought back many memories of my personal struggle with anxiety. Many things ring true here but especially the part where your anxiety was the worst when you were at church. Mine too. The hardest part for me came when it began hitting especially hard when I was in the Temple. The struggle in trying to understand why this was happening, especially inside places where I had always found refuge, coupled with just staying put in my seat was a battle hard fought. I am so grateful for your honesty and sincerity in writing about his illness. Just reading this has lightened my heart and filled me with hope.

    1. I love you Bonnie! Thanks for your words and sweet spirit!