As women we are highly vulnerable to give in to anxiety and fears. A typical day of a stay at home mom of one child consists of laundry, cooking, meal prep/shopping, caring for the thousand demands of a child, keeping the house cleaned that gets messy faster than she can clean it. Some of her duties may include paying bills, doing lists of to-do's from her husband, handling some of the minor "fix-its" around the house, or any number of other activities. Now add in another kid, or 2 or 10! Now your daily tasks have multiplied in scores. Throw in a part time or full time job and now you have to choose very carefully what your going to take care of at home and what's going to get sacrificed. Let's face it, it's absolutely impossible for someone to do all these things without letting go in some areas. In the midst of all of this, we have the obligation and privilege of training our children up to love the Lord, teaching them all the things they need to know for life. We haven't even mentioned all the needs of our husbands that we have to meet. Adding in our constant hormone changes it's not wonder at all that we are prime targets for temptations of fear and anxiety. 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. 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 I get depressed when I fall off the plan for a few days and then I quit. So for my sanity, I just read on my own and 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 trials for years and feel like I can't see daylight, I tend to give into anxiety. By keeping prayer journals it allows me to do two things. One, go back and see all the thousands of answers to prayer and miracles God has done in my life to remind me that I am more blessed than I deserve. Two, I take my conceited eyes off myself and spend a lot more time in prayer for others when I journal it. This is crucial!
3. 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 little 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, give you support and encouragement, and help keep your eyes off yourself.
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. Not a minute goes by that I don't get a knock at the door or little fingers underneath wiggling at me! 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 hotel or a B&B, lock yourself in a room and just be with God. I have yet to put this into my regular practice but I have tasted the benefits and healing that this gives and I know that it's important.
Those are just some of my most treasured practices. I would love to hear from you as to what things you do that keep you trusting God and combating fear and anxiety!