The Anxiety Cure
Anxiety strikes without warning.
Like a little kid with a new squirt gun. Always hiding out and ready to aim-fire at any opportunity! Perhaps you are one of the 40 million Americans struggling with prolonged anxiety? Picture 40 millions 10 year old boys harboring loaded squirt guns. They would be everywhere! Tension lies between necessary stress keeping us from danger and the debilitating chronic stress. A final exam, a job interview, illness, having a child, moving, losing someone you love, divorce or even a first date.
Anxiety will stalk you, but will it consume you?
I am certain being a Christian does not guarantee a life without pain. In fact, it usually increases the odds. There is however, a secret advantage which I aim expose.
Although I have never dealt with diagnosable anxiety, I think everyone who live in the United States deals with an abnormal amount of stress. I would define me relationship with stress as, F.O.M.O. Fear of missing out. That is why I take one day away from social media a week. I call it my #mediafreesunday. I don't know about you but anxiety starts to rule my thoughts when I see a perfect albeit superficial world through the lens of social media. Stress raises its ugly head whispering in my ear, "You will never amount to that. You will never amount to anything!"
The presence of lying whispers is not to be ashamed of.
It's the absence of the proper response that is. Whether I give in or replace with a truthful thought leads to victorious life or an anxious, self absorbed, and depressed jerk. I am raising my hand too because I too often have been that self absorbed jerk. My family can vouch for me.
"Control yourselves. Be on your guard. Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion. He prowls around looking for someone to chew up and swallow." 1 Peter 5:8
Yikes. Ladies, we have to control ourselves! I don't know about you but being chewed up and swallowed by a roaring lion is not how I envision my life ending. At least give me martyrdom. At best I will take a quiet and peaceful death with loved ones singing around my bedside as I slip into glory.
so then, How do we control ourselves?
1.) Check your identity source.
What voices do you allow to define you? Is is the blaring of social norms or trends? Is it appeasing in laws or parents? Is it being the Martha Stewart Mother? Is it your education or your pant size? If anything is holding higher precedence of being a daughter of God and what His word says about your infinite worth, you will need to reevaluate your commitment to that thing.
Now this does not mean "fasting" laundry for a month or spiting in laws. It just means shifting the source of your worth back into a place that can never be taken from you. That is resting secure in the arms of a good, good Father.
2.) Live within boundaries.
Do you let your 4 year old choose what they eat for every meal? If I let me two year old choose her meals she would most definitely live off of cheese sticks and tortilla chips. Since I love my daughter, I let her have one cheese stick a day and an occasional chip. Otherwise I prepare healthy delicious food for her so that she grows healthy and strong. I'm sure you do the same for your kids.
Boundaries demonstrate love. The absence of boundaries lead to insecurity and selfishness. Insecurity because without boarders no one feels safe. Selfishness because lack of boarders leads to vulnerability which leads to looking out for ourself. Just like we give our kids healthy boundaries, and God gives us healthy boundaries through His word, we need to give ourselves boundaries.
I already mentioned one of my weekly boundaries is a day without social media. I need that space to clear my mind and make sure I am not finding my identity in it. Maybe you need to set a healthy boundary of going to bed by a certain time, buying or making a special dessert one a month rather than every week. Perhaps is creating a budget or financial goals. I know areas where I am weak just like you know areas that you are weak.
Boundaries sound restricting. However, when you identify areas that are easy to find your identity in other than Jesus and His finished work on the cross, setting boundaries for yourself will bring you a greater freedom and power over them.
3.) Choose intimate friends wisely.
You are the 5 people you surround yourself with most. It's one thing to identify your identity source and another to set healthy boundaries. It's a whole new level sharing these vulnerable places with a trusted friend who will not only listen well but hold you accountable to your best self!! I am sorry, that called for two exclamation marks.
Get yourself some friends who are more interested in who you are becoming than reminding you who you were in the past.
I said "intimate friends" because we should be kind and considerate to all. Ready to give an answer for the hope that we have, and willing to share our lives with them. However, we must take the utmost care in the people we allow to speak into our lives and influence us.
There is a place of calm we can run to in the midst of the ugliest storms.
Are you living in that place of chronic stress? Let these words wash over your soul.
"He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and it is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:8
The "stream" is the Living Water, or the Word of God that continually flows. If we are planted on Jesus as the source for hope, joy, strength, and wisdom, we will not cease to bring forth good things from our lives in any circumstance. If we try to expel nutrients only from other people, work, money, social media or success we will soon dry up and have nothing to offer.
There is a place of calm where we find refuge. In that place there is no fear of the future, no lack, no anxiety. Only a peace that passes all understanding and a joy that has been tempered to withstand the fiercest of storms.
Plant yourself by The Water today.
Train in Your Lane,