I’ve always heard of anxieties. Anxiety attacks. Anxiety holding you back, etc, etc. I would roll my eyes.
Anxiety has almost been glamorized. I have anxiety but I hold strong. I’m a survivor.
I think the truth is, someone with anxiety won’t admit it.
A few weeks ago, my pastor preached a message on anxiety. He asked the congregation to raise their hand if they struggle with anxiety. I thought it was a joke.
I didn’t raise my hand, because I had anxiety that someone would notice I had my hand raised. That’s the real tell-sign.
I know I’m a worrier. Then pastor spoke his message, and to my horror (product of all the smack talking) I found that my word for worrier is everyone else’s word for anxiety.
Great. I have anxiety. Excuse me as I hobble into support group ten minutes late and slump into a metal chair, ready to monotonely tell the circle that hi, my name is Rebekah Koontz, and I have anxiety.
The stupidest little things give me anxiety.
The thought of forgetting to eat breakfast gives me anxiety. Not the action of forgetting. The thought of forgetting. What if I get sick or fatigued? Now my eating schedule is off. What if I faint at work?
Getting up early gives me anxiety. What if I sleep in? What if I don’t hear the alarm? What if it’s painful to force myself from my REM cycle?
I can create an anxiety out of thin air. Today is supposed to be my day off, and I was getting anxious that I wasn’t going to MEET MY DEADLINE! Then I had a monumental thought: what deadline?
I think I’m more than qualified to write this post on anxiety.
Here are three things you can do to combat anxiety, based on Philippians 4:4-9 (click on verse to read along).
1. Think Positively. (vs. 4. I want to point out that the Bible says, “Rejoice in the Lord,” not “rejoice in your crummy circumstances.” No where in the Bible does it encourage you to be fake or bury your feelings deep inside you and pretend to be happy. Especially if you’re hurting, you should talk to your loved ones about it.)
We’ll come back to positive thoughts later.
2. Talk it out. (vs. 5-6. Take a pen and paper, or go out alone somewhere and talk to God. Pour out your problems and emotions. This is one of the most therapeutic exercises I do, because when you throw it all up–onto a piece of paper or into the sky–it’s like those feelings and emotions are no longer in you and you can breathe again.)
3. Find something to be thankful for. (Verse 6 says, “with thanksgiving. . .” There’s always a bright side. You need to see your cup half full. Know that whatever God sends us is for good, not to be in vain.)
I’ll finish with the last three verses, starting with 7, where it mentions God’s peace guarding. What is a guard? A guard is someone who keeps bad things away and keeps the good things where they ought to be. God guarding my heart definitely calms me down a decibel.
“Surpasses all understanding. . .” This is important. “God’s peace is not dependent on our figuring out a solution to what bothers us, nor is it dependent on our understanding how God will solve our problem. In fact, his help is often (or in my case always) beyond our comprehension.”*
1(a). Think positively. (vs. 8. Don’t be obsessed with negative thoughts: I thought by this time in life I would be someplace better, I wish I didn’t spend all that money on ___, tomorrow’s going to be a drag. . . Those thoughts will only wither you up and make you bitter. Instead, focus on the good things. And don’t be a baby and tell me there aren’t any good things.)
(vs. 9) Put it into practice. Do the work of the Lord.
Give your anxieties/worry/attitude to Him. And once you’ve got it all out of your system, don’t sit around and think about more anxieties.
You’ll know when you’ve covered every base of stress in your life and talked to God about it. You’ll feel happier and stronger. So it’ll be time to get up, and start living for God as Paul did, by encouraging others, and telling others how God just helped you.
“. . . these do, and the God of peace will be with you.“
* Fruit Of The Spirit Devotional Book