Friday, January 15, 2016

Hit the Road, Anxiety!

As women, we are highly vulnerable to give in to anxiety.  It's no wonder Satan attacks us in this area.  It often seems like the demands on us are innumerable, leaving us exhausted and vulnerable.  The purpose of this post is to share a list of ideas that I have found over the years to be very helpful to me as I try to stay close to God, balance all the areas of my life, and stay away from anxiety.  Philippians 4:6-7 gives us the secret: prayer with a thankful heart.  These are ways that help me keep that in focus.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I would love for you to comment on this post to share things that have worked for you!
1.  Make daily Bible reading a priority.  It doesn't matter how you do it, just do it!  I like to skip all over the Bible and read a few books from the New Testament and then go read a few in the Old Testament.  I've seen lots of very good reading programs out there, but if I get too far behind on a scheduled reading program I get discouraged and quit.  So for my sanity, I just read on my own at my own pace and check off the books as I read them.  When I finish all 66, I start over.  I make tons of notes in my Bible and love to see what God is doing in my life from year to year as I pass over those notes and change or add to them as I grow.
2.  Start a prayer journal.  One of the things that drags me down is when I go through phases where I just don't feel God at work.  In my head I know He's always at work around me, but when I go through long trials and feel like I can't see daylight, I tend to give into anxiety.  By keeping prayer journals it allows me to go back and see the many answers to prayer and miracles God has done in my life to remind me of His faithfulness.
3.  Keep God's Word in front of you throughout the day.  Deuteronomy tells us to remember the things God has done, teach them to our children, bind them on our foreheads, talk about them when we wake up and when we go to sleep, put them up on your door and in your home so you never ever forget.  I take this quite literally and I use my walls to display His word.  I use 3x5 cards with scripture on them taped to my cupboards, mirrors, walls, kids rooms, etc.  Whenever I can afford it, I purchase artwork with scripture on it so that I can do the same thing and be a bit more decorative with it. :)
4.  Get involved in a Bible teaching church.  If your church does not teach from the Word of God then you need to find one that does.  Then, don't just go on Sunday morning and sit in a pew once a week.  Get involved!  Go to ladies events whenever you can, get on a ministry team and serve with others, and definitely be involved in small group Bible Studies.  These are the things that will help you grow, keep you grounded, and give you support and encouragement.
5.  Get away for some alone time on a regular basis.  When you read the gospels you will see time and time again where Jesus sneaks off to be by himself.  Sadly, the people chase after Him the way my kids do when I go into the bathroom.  Jesus knew that it is imperative that we spend time alone to talk to God and just simply be with Him without distraction.  Don't let Satan make you feel guilty about this!  Your kids and husband will survive without you for a day or two.  Go to a ladies conference, get a hotel room for a night, or simply go out to lunch by yourself while the kids are in school.
Those are just some of my most treasured practices. I would love to hear from you as to what things you do that keep your eyes on Christ and your heart free from anxiety!