Are you a worrier by nature? Are you catastrophic? Could you take a job in risk management, because you can and will plan for every possible eventuality based on the skimpiest of details that suggest that there may be a problem?
Sometimes anxiety causes us to worry about future events, or even to ruminate on past ones. Revisiting this pattern repeatedly often fuels further anxious thoughts.
So, here are some practical tips to help you F.I.G.H.T. anxiety and worry as you go through your day:-
Fear is a universal emotion. There isn’t one person on this planet who has not experienced fear, from the newborn to the elderly. Anxiety and worry and many other emotions are fuelled by fear. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of facing reality, fear of pain etc.. It is necessary that we acknowledge and accept our fearfulness. It’s okay and very normal.
Try to be insightful about your own emotions. Ask yourself what is causing you to be fearful? Identify whether you have felt this fear before, in your past, as a child or adult. You might find that your feelings are not new and that these feelings and behaviors have been well-rehearsed as part of your response to childhood events that left you feeling afraid and now fuel the need for you to be in control, or to beat yourself up.
Give yourself some grace. Why? Simply because you offer it to everyone else, except yourself. You are allowed to make mistakes. In one of my other posts, It’s Okay to be Human, I talk about how we have become a lot less tolerant of our mistakes and those of others. Perfectionism belongs to God. We, as human-beings strive for excellence and at the very least, we do our best. But when we fall short, we have a Savior, whose name is Jesus and He’s already picked up the tab for us. So, all we have to do, is ask for forgiveness, forgive ourselves, get up and ‘keep it moving’!
Hope is knowing that there is better to come, or it’s not as bad as it seems. When I am fearful, worrying about the unknown I do one thing. I remember what Jesus has already brought me through. I think over specific events that I had no control over and yet, He either gave me victory or as James Fortune sings God will help you “Live Through it” and “Grow Through it”. I am quickly reminded of how insignificant I am, and how BIG God is and I am better able to hand over my worries to God and let him deal with whatever unknown events in the future I cannot control – this gives me much needed HOPE!
Trusting God is not always easy. Especially when things have not worked out the way we wanted them to. We are told to pray and meditate, but often I cannot concentrate or focus enough to pray, read or meditate. This adds to my anxiety, because I then berate myself for not being a good Christian. I have failed to ‘focus’ on God as I ‘ought’ to based on the expectations of other Christians. Furthermore, in the midst of worry and anxiety, I often try to pray and give God the worry, but I am soon taking it back. These behaviors are rehearsed and can be difficult to change.
So… I go back to Grace. I accept myself where I am and allow myself to give to God whatever I have as a ‘Popcorn Prayer’. It’s my Prayers on the Go, whether it is just a few words saying ‘Thank You Jesus’… ‘Help me Lord’… ‘God, I just don’t know what to do, direct my paths’. The blessing is, I begin to ‘pray without ceasing’ AND while I am weak, God can be strong.
Secondly, I have found my own way to meditate on God’s word and to focus my thoughts. How many times a day do we enter our computer password at work? Ten, twenty, fifty times? Well, I found it useful to change my computer password at work to represent a scriptural passage. With the increased requirements in network security, it is encouraged that we enter more complicated passwords with upper and lowercase letters and number. So I have begun using the first letter of each word in an abbreviated scriptural passage, along with the Bible location. For example. ‘For I Know The Plans Jeremiah 29: 11’ may look like this as a computer password ‘FiKtPJer2911’
Every time I type this in, I am reminded of God’s promise, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, not to harm you, to give you hope and a future’ (Jer 29:11). I’m not only meditating, but memorizing too, and reminding myself to put my Trust in God.
So by acknowledging our Fear, looking for Insight, giving ourselves Grace, finding Hope in God’s faithfulness and then Trusting in God’s Word, we can begin to F.I.G.H.T. anxiety and worry. Once we are able to gain some control over these emotions, it creates more to become the healthy and prosperous individuals that God created us to be.