Hello, friends! Lauren Ibach here with my first ever guest blogger! In this post, you’ll get to hear my friend Lauren Wallace’s testimony. Lauren Wallace is a faithful sister in Christ and she runs a small online shop called MOSS Collaborative. We met through Instagram and since she’s local, we met up and became good friends. I’m hoping her story about going from anxious to abiding in Christ will be an encouragement to you today.
Anxious to Abiding: Lauren Wallace’s Testimony
My faith wasn’t part of my life until I was 20 years old. I didn’t grow up in the church and quite frankly, I didn’t think I’d ever pursue a relationship with God. It was the anxiousness I experienced in my early college years that pushed me to open the Bible. However, the largest turning point in my faith wasn’t until about a year later when I stopped making my time with God all about me. That’s when I finally went from being anxious to abiding in Christ.
When I started out, I was reading the Bible to see how it fit into my life and could make my worries go away. Does God call us to cast our anxieties on Him? Yes, 1 Peter 5:7 tells us He does. However, we need to humble ourselves before Him and pursue a relationship with Him first. That’s not what I was doing. I was too consumed with a desire for control and just wanted the chaos to go away.
Figuring things out the hard way
I say “chaos”, but it’s not like there was anything crazy going on at the time. I actually really liked the way my life was going. It was the unknowns of the future I was afraid of. I was living based on my feelings, which often led to overthinking and anxiousness in my gut. Control was something I desired deep down, so I subconsciously tried predicting the possible negative outcomes. I thought if I figured out the storyline in advance, I could stop bad things from happening and avoid being blindsided or naive. When it came to my time in the Word, I was searching for answers I wanted to hear while clinging to my own plan. I approached God as if I had the best idea of what my life should look like and was just waiting for Him to agree.
As you may have guessed, that plan wasn’t working. My anxiousness worsened and filtered into OCD, which included intrusive thoughts and avoidance. To combat that, I tried deep breathing exercises, daily affirmations, slow stretching, and other various remedies. I desperately wanted to solve my own problems because that meant I was in control, but any fleeting sense of calm would soon wash away and anxiousness would return. Those quick fixes were only temporary bandaids on (what I didn’t know was) a Jesus-shaped hole in my life. I didn’t want to depend on anyone else, but I was tired and defeated. It turns out there is nothing that will satisfy us or bring us true peace like a relationship with Jesus, and I was figuring that out the hard way.
The turning point
At that time, I was following Lauren Ibach on Instagram. I saw one of her stickers, which read, “Trust
your gut God”. That struck me. We’re often told to trust our gut, and I think we generally like how that sounds. It gives us a sense of independence, control, and being in tune with ourselves. In reality though, my gut was where my anxiousness was sitting. I felt like it was lying to me and even tormenting me, so trusting in that wasn’t going to work.
To go from anxious to abiding in Christ and to experience the true peace I was longing for, I needed to trust Him—not my gut. I reached the end of myself and realized I couldn’t be the most qualified person to come up with a plan for my life. Thankfully, Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” It was so freeing to realize I didn’t have to predict and prepare for an endless amount of doomsday scenarios. I could simply place my faith in Jesus Christ, abide in Him, and trust in this promise.
Looking to God
Once I took my eyes off my own circumstances and looked to God in awe, I was filled with wonder and curiosity. Who is He? How does He interact with us? What is His desire for His creation? By the power of the Holy Spirit, I realized my time with God was not all about me. Rather than searching for the answers I wanted to hear, I was hungry for truth.
From that point on, I’d have quiet time pretty much every day. I wanted a relationship with Him and I was finally reading the Word to learn more about who He is. It’s important to note what an absolute gift it is to be able to have a personal relationship with God. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. The only reason we can even approach God is because Jesus died for our sins and makes us new again.
During quiet time, I’d often read a Scripture-based devotional, write in my prayer journal, or even watch Bible story videos geared towards children just to process everything on a basic level. Day by day, my relationship with Him grew and I went from being anxious to abiding in Christ. I experienced true peace for the first time. It was such a relief to find out I could be at peace even with a battle going on in my mind. It sounds like an oxymoron, but peace isn’t based on our circumstance, it comes from the Lord. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
By God’s grace, through the transformative nature of His Word and prayerfully going through therapy, I did overcome OCD and anxiety. Reflecting on His faithfulness as He brought me to the other side of this struggle fills me with deep gratitude. Now, why would God allow this season of suffering in my life in the first place? Sometimes, we don’t know why. We can just trust He works all things together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
In this case, though, I believe He has made the reasons pretty clear. I was living based on my feelings and grasping for control in a world full of unknowns, which will never lead to peace for very long. I needed a breaking point. It’s tough to reflect on this time where I was so selfishly approaching God, but isn’t it amazing to see His patience and grace through it all? He was still able to use my time in the Word and soften my heart enough to fully trust in Him, let go of control, and realize where true peace and contentment comes from. From there, He developed the spiritual discipline of quiet time in me which has become such a sweet, extremely important piece of my relationship with Him.
Anxious to abiding
This fall, I hope we’ll all grow in our understanding of what it means to abide in the Lord and live that out. I love that this is Lauren’s focus for the season. Ultimately, life is full of unknowns and there are plenty of reasons to be anxious if we base things on our feelings or circumstances. However, God has a better plan for us. I invite you to focus on abiding in Christ by reading the Word consistently to learn more about Him. When we learn more about our good and sovereign Heavenly Father, we’re humbled and our trust in Him is strengthened. He delivers us from our fears and takes us from anxious to abiding in Him— where we experience the true peace and contentment that comes from Christ alone.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my dear friend Lauren Wallace’s testimony. Please show her some love by visiting her online shop, MOSS Collaborative and by giving her a follow on Instagram. She is an inspiring young believer and I praise God for the many ways I’ve gotten to witness how she is growing in her love for Jesus and living according to His Word. 🖤
About the Author of this Post
Lauren Wallace is a young believer who came to Christ in college. After graduating from UMN Crookston in December 2021, she started her job as a marketing coordinator. She lives in Minnesota and enjoys visiting local coffee shops, paddle boarding, kayaking, going for walks, playing volleyball, and board games. She loves being creative and designs fun vinyl stickers and greeting cards for her Etsy shop, MOSS Collaborative.
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