Tuesday, June 20, 2017

4 Steps to Take When You Feel Anxious

Anxiety.  What thoughts does that word stir up in your mind?  What feelings are triggered when you think about it?  Maybe you go into a panic attack just thinking about it.  Anxiety is not a new emotion, it is in fact one that is well known and felt among most of humankind.  Millions of people of all ages battle some sort of anxiety at some point in their lives.  There are thousands and thousands of blogs, medical journals, magazines, etc. with their sure-fire ways to battle anxiety.  I’ve read many of them, but they all seem to fall short of true help.  There are many band-aid fixes, and some legitimate options for stress relief that I've used myself and in and of themselves aren’t bad ideas. 

As a Christian who desires to experience everything God has prepared for me in this life and the next, I want His answers.  I know that He is the only one who can provide ultimate, long-lasting peace to calm any anxious thought that may take over my life.  So, I dug back into scripture with the purpose of finding a sort of “game plan” to counterattack anxiety when it rears its ugly head.  I went back to pages of scripture that I know so well I can quote chapter and verse.  The pages are so covered in notes you can barely read it anymore.  But read it I did, and I dug deeper than ever before.  

Before I share the steps that I came up with, I make the following disclaimer: This is one idea taken from truths I’ve learned through years of studies.  They are not profound, they are simply practical enough for my brain to wrap around.  This is not a magic formula for anyone and everyone to get rid of severe anxiety issues in an instant.  This is meant first and foremost for those who believe in and follow Jesus Christ as God, Lord, and Savior.  If you have never repented (turned from) your sin and invited Jesus to be your savior, I urge you to do that now!  If you have questions about it, I would be happy to talk with you.  For those of you who know Him and follow Him, I hope this will encourage you to take a step closer to Christ and away from the anxiety that wants to overtake you.  You DO NOT have to be a slave to anxiety!  Jesus is the ONLY answer and He wants you to be free!  Find a good biblical counseling center if you need to, talk to your pastor, or if you don’t have a church, email me at Melissa@myanointedlife.com and I would be honored to talk with you.

I was only in a few passages, but I spent a lot of time in them.  I still don’t have all the answers, but this round of study led me to a very vital connection that I don’t remember noticing in the past.  Through Philippians 4, I also looked at Hebrews 13:5.  I was in several others as well, but the connection I want to discuss today was made in these two passages.  What we are really searching for in the escape of anxiety, is peace.  We want to experience the peace of God that passes all understanding.  I knew the verse so well.  I knew that I was not to be anxious about anything.  God says, don’t be anxious.  Instead, be thankful, prayerful, make my requests known to God.  And, that’s where I always stopped.  I mean, I’ve read the rest very often, but I never connected the dots.  As Paul continues his letter and unravels his thought process, he gives us a great list telling us what to replace our anxious thoughts with.  Don’t be anxious, instead think on these things.  It’s in the next few verses though that I had my “aha” moment.  Philippians 4:10-13 talks about being content.  The ever-famous, often mis-contextualized verse “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” is found in this section.  Does it seem impossible to let go of anxiety?  Do you find it difficult to be content in EVERY circumstance?  Is it possible that the lack of peace we often feel is actually a lack of contentment?  Mind. Blown. 

So, being the practical application junkie that I am, I needed a system.  I wanted a biblical based grounding exercise to get my mind back to where it needs to be when I am overcome with anxiety.  This is what I came up with.  It may not be for everyone, but I am hoping that it helps someone!

1.       Find three things you can touch.  Now tell God how thankful you are for those three things.  Express your gratitude to the one who gives EVERY blessing you have.
2.      Name three things that you wish you could change about your circumstance.  Now, ask God to forgive any discontentment you have about these things.  Confide in Him that you want these things to change, but ask Him to have His will in the situation.
3.      Think about three things that are true about God and quote any scriptures that come to your memory.  Thank Him for who He is.
4.      Breathe and ask God for His peace to fill you, guarding your heart and mind as you let go of your will and rest in the perfect will of God.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Go Ahead! Give God Your Worst!

I love spending time with my kids.  I want to know every detail about their lives.  I love sharing with them what’s going on in my life.  It doesn’t matter if we’re playing games, watching TV, or sitting down for a meaningful conversation, I love it all.  As much as I love them and want to spend every minute I can with them, there are times that I am just so exhausted!  Ok, it’s almost every day.  I’m spent when I get home from work.  I just don’t have the energy to keep up with them the way I’d like to.  Most days I feel like I am not giving nearly enough of my time to them.  

Can you relate?

We spend day in and day out serving our children, loving them, spending as much quality time with them as we can.  We know how important it is to foster those relationships. There’s no question about it.  It does not matter how tired we are, we take time for our kids.  We would never go days on end without spending at least a little bit of time with them.  We would never tell our kids that we’re just too tired for a hug, just too exhausted for a conversation, even if it means we might fall asleep during that conversation, would we?

Then, why do we say that to God?

Isn’t our relationship with our Heavenly Father much more important than that of our children?  Having a healthy relationship with God is the absolute best thing you can model for your children.  So, why do we make excuses?  “I’m too busy to read my Bible.”  “I don’t have much time to spend praying, there’s too much to do.”  “I am just so exhausted, I don’t want to give God my tired leftovers.  Shouldn’t I give Him my best or nothing at all?”

NO!!  The truth is, your best isn’t good enough anyway.  He doesn’t want your best.  He wants your ALL.  That means He wants you when you are exhausted, weak, falling asleep while you’re praying.  He wants you when you get a day off and set up a two-hour date with Him. He wants the best you got and the worst you got.  Everything!

So, open your Bible, get out a journal, and start a conversation with God right now.  You won’t regret it!

Not sure where to start?  Send an email to Melissa@myanointedlife.com or comment here and I would be happy to answer any questions you have or give suggestions on how you can build a meaningful relationship with the Lord.