Goodbye, Anniversary Anxiety — Nicole O'Meara

Today, Super Bowl Sunday 2024, marks the 5th Anniversary of my catastrophic lung bleed and the emergency thoracotomy that removed part of my right lung. This day usually stirs anxiety, or least some edginess, as my body recalls the trauma that began on a sunny day in February, just like today. But this year, I’m not experiencing anticipatory anxiety. Praise God!

Reflecting, my lack of anxiety is surely not due to a lack of memory. The day I fell to my knees and spit out mouthfuls of blood onto green grass is still etched in my memory, crisp and clear. My lack of anxiety, I think , is a mark of how far God has brought me along the path of trusting Him completely.

I trusted God before that day. But an ability to trust God more came out of the aftermath of the trauma in 2018. It grew with time. As I got stronger, I was able to give less focus to just surviving and more focus to the strength I received from God to be able to move on and grow from my experience. My trust in God grew as I looked back and saw his faithfulness in the details of my trauma, surgery, and recovery. Theologians called this sancification. I call it growth.

My anxiety has been replaced with comfort—comfort from knowing, experientially, that God was with me. He was with me then, he is with me now, and he will be with me in the future (whatever comes my way).

But there’s a step in there I haven’t mentioned. A step that will make it easier to trust God in future difficulties—choice.


Did I realize it at the time? I’m not sure. But I don’t think I could have seen that God was with me, strengthening me to endure all of 2018 , unless I had made the choice to look. I chose to believe that God was with me. I chose to believe that he was strengthening me. I chose to believe that the comfort I felt came from his everlasting arms that held me. I chose to believe God’s Word, that he is who he says he is and will do what he says he will do. It was a choice.

That’s not to say that I had some kind of power within me that enabled me to make that choice. No. Firmly no. I had nothing. God handed me the choice and gave me the strength to make it. He was and is the source of my ability to trust Him.

Without God I can do nothing (John 15:15). While the rest of the world is gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday, the big game is an annual reminder of my frailty, a trigger for paralyzing anxiety. Without God, I would be wallowing in anxiety right now, not prepping chips and salsa to munch on during half-time.


You have the same choice and that choice has the same power to free you from anxiety. Trusting God, even the tiniest bit, is your step toward freedom. I really do mean freedom. It is the most freeing thing to be unbound from anxiety.

Now hear me. This does not mean that I do not get anxious. Nope. I’m an imperfect human just like you. What I want you to hear is this: any step toward trusting God is a step away from anxiety.

“Courage, dear heart.” Aslan told that to Lucy in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Then he breathed on her, giving her strength to be courageous. Aslan didn’t expect Lucy to be courageous on her own. He gave her what she needed to do what he asked of her. Jesus does the same with you.

Choose to trust, dear friend. It takes courage to choose to trust when your body is freaking out. If you feel you don’t have the strength to be courageous, it’s ok. (And completely understandable!) Pray and ask God for the strength you need. He is your source of strength—he will breathe courage over you. Remember that! Ask a friend to pray with you and over you to trust God a little more. Baby steps of faith are still steps of faith and God sees every one of them.

In my next post, I will give some practical steps to take when you are feeling anxious. Because, I know, when you are feeling it the worst, you’ve got to do something with all that anxious energy. I’ll share what has helped me. Teaser: I played this song on repeat as I fell asleep, alone, in rehab. It’s just one of the things that I’ll share next.


When have you made the choice to trust God? How has your trust in God grown? In what ways has it helped you endure, survive, and thrive?

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