Instead of stuffing it, pretending it is not there, and other forms of denial, I make a choice to get real. If I am going to learn to "Throw all my anxieties on Him because He cares for me," then I have to go to my heavenly Daddy and admit where I am at.
I do not mince words or try to make myself look stronger or better than I am. I pour out the reality of where I am at and what I am experiencing.
If you think that talking about how you feel or how you are struggling to believe is unspiritual, take a read through the Psalms. Most of them were written by King David, the one known as the man after God's own heart. Ever wonder why David was called that? It had everything to do with his openness, his honesty, his flat-out, straight-forward, plain and simple willingness to pour out the truth of what was going on in his heart.
When my heart is revealed, God can speak into my heart. When my heart is hidden, I am not trusting God with who I am. When I begin to relate to God within the context of truth He becomes real. I am opening myself up to His grace.
There are times when I am so anxious and feel so scattered in my thoughts that I can't even seem to begin to express how I feel to God or to anyone. I become overwhelmed. Here is my go-to plan when I am feeling that way:
- Breathe and Move. I pull my shoulders back and down. I tilt my head gently from side to side. I just try to do something to break all that tension that is building in my body. Doing jumping jacks, going for a walk or doing something that requires physical exertion is a great help to me.
- Listen to worship music. I pick songs that speak to me. I don't try to please my grandmother with my choices; these are songs that touch my heart. One of my favorites in these moments is Kari Jobe's "You Are For Me." Sometimes this step is enough to move me completely out of the fear and into peace.
- Write it down. For me, there is something about writing things down. It makes things real and helps me to process. I can think my thoughts to God and speak my thoughts to God, but nothing makes it clearer and more tangible than putting pen to paper.
- Meditate on a key verse or phrase all day long. Anytime I sense that fear or that worry trying to creep back in, I will remind myself that "Jesus has promised to never leave me or forsake me. He is not going to let me go." Sometimes I use this one: "Even so, Jesus loves me." Again, I pick verses or phrases that speak to me. I don't usually go around quoting Proverbs, not because they are not true, but because a wise saying is not what I need at the moment. When I am struggling with anxiety, I need to know that I am accepted in Him, that He cares for me, that He doesn't forsake me, that His heart sings love to mine.
- Talk to a friend. God made me for relationship with Him and with others. I am continuing to learn that calling a friend and talking is not just relief for me, but part of relationship building. If I have it all together all the time, what kind of friend would I be? A very fake one! When I pick up the phone, I look for friends who can listen and are empathetic. I don't need someone spouting, "Be anxious for nothing...." (Thanks for reminding me that I'm failing; I didn't have enough guilt before.) I need encouragers who can help me move from failing to faith.
Hope these ideas are of some value to you.
Now let me ask, please: what are some healthy ways you work through anxiety?