Worry, Anxiety, I've seen it all. Even though I do my best to come off cool as a cucumber, I am a huge worrier. I have struggled with anxiety, and I constantly worry about things that will never happen. But surprisingly, I don't worry at all about the things that could logically happen. They don't seem as scary somehow, God will work them out. But what if my future children have serious health problems? And what if my future husband dies, and I'm a widow? Or what If I don't have a future husband and I'll spend my entire life alone? What if my life is a lie and I just don't know it? And the list goes on.
These are all things that I legitimately worry about. And this is my problem. I literally "Worry myself sick." I don't want to worry so much, because as you've probably heard: "Worrying never helps anything." And I would rather help than worry. But knowing I should stop worrying and actually stopping, are very different things. Sometimes it seems like the more I try not to worry, the worse my anxiety gets.
Unfortunately, I haven't conquered my worry problem, and It's not going to happen overnight. But, I have learned some things about worry that have helped me keep worry from ruling my life. The Bible gives us some simple ways to overcome worry. Don't let their seemingly easy answers fool you. It's not easy, and it does take dedication on your part.
The Bible tells us clearly that we shouldn't worry. "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"
So what should we do when we worry?
1. Give our worries to God.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Sounds simple right? If only that were so. This is something that we all think we do, but few of us actually do. It's not just saying "Ok, God. I'm trusting you to solve this problem and keep me safe, and protect me." It's literally changing your whole outlook on life. If you are sincerely willing to sacrifice your plans and trust God's, He will give you His very best.
2. Take a deep breath, slowly. *And repeat.
All I wanted was peace. I didn't want to be afraid for no reason anymore. I wanted to be able to take a deep breath without trembling. I wanted to be able to sleep at night without this knot in my stomach tightening and re-tightening every other second.
I didn't get an immediate fix to my problem. But when I prayed I could almost feel the physical burden lifted and I got one night of serenity without having to distract myself so that I could sleep. Then, it all came back, forcing me to dig deeper for a solution. So you know what I did? I started reading my Bible more, and I discovered that the only true peace we can have is in daily communication with our Creator.
I found one verse that I still go back to when I need a reminder to take a deep breath. I started writing the reference when I sign my name. When I explain my faith to someone, I share that verse. It marked a turning point in my life, and I don't want to forget that. The verse is John 16:33 " These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Yes, I still worry. A lot. And it's easy to get discouraged when I look at how much I worry. But looking back at what it was before, my worries now are silly.
In her book "By Searching," Isobel Kuhn talked about her search for true peace. Here is one excerpt from her story.
"What if there were a God, after all? If so, I certainly had not been in
His will. Maybe that was why I had no peace? An idea struck me.
No one was watching to see if I were a fool or not. Sitting there on my
bed's edge, I raised both my hands heavenward. "God, if there be a God,"
I whispered, for I was not going to believe in what did not exist just to
get a mental opiate, "if you will prove to me that you are, and if you will give me peace, I will give You my whole life. I'll do anything You
ask me to do, go where You send me, obey You all my days." Then
I climbed into bed and pulled the blankets over me."
God's peace is real, and it is the only solution to your anxiety.