F.I.G.H.T. Anxiety and Worry…

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:

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.

Insight:

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.

Grace:

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

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!

Trust

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 Gracefinding 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.

 

Trust in The Source.

Trust is the foundation in any successful relationship. But trusting people always comes with a price – the possibility of being hurt. Once trust has been damaged it’s difficult to repair and without trust, relationships between friends, family, spouses or co-workers can fall apart.

People often let us down with their words and/or behavior – we all have done or said something which has damaged someone’s trust in us whether it is a parent, spouse, sibling, child, or friend – none of us are perfect. However, trust can be rebuilt if we are willing to swallow our pride, accept we are wrong, apologize and demonstrate through our actions a willingness to change and be considerate of others.

On the other hand, consistent displays of behavior which repeatedly breaks or damages trust is difficult to accept.  Perpetual broken trust, without repentance or humility often leads to a breakdown in the relationship. As Christians we are taught to forgive repeatedly and so we should, especially since we need forgiveness too, but there are behaviors which should not be tolerated – after all God did give us common sense and wisdom. To continually accept behavior which breaks our trust and hurts us is damaging, not only to the relationship, but to the spiritual, emotional and physical persons involved and can often lead to depression and despair.

God does not want us to despair. Why?  Because He wants us to trust in Him. When people hurt us God wants us to draw close to Him.  God can renew us. Like Elijah, God can revive, refresh and sustain even when we are at our lowest points. Jesus will feed us, quench our thirst and provide for all our needs for He is the Bread of Life and the Living Water.

When people hurt you, whether intentional or not, God can use that hurt to turn your life around, just as Balaam, in Numbers 24 tried to curse the Israelites, he ended up blessing them three times. In Genesis 50:20 Joseph said “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good”. God can take you on a journey of revelation through your pain and transform it into a blessing of peaceful understanding, spiritual growth, strength and happiness.

Where a broken trust leads us to question ourselves, our identity and judgment, we must remember our identity is in God and He is the source of all things – our breath, self-esteem, gifts, abilities, education, job, income, health – everything in our lives.  Psalm 24:1 says “The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein”.  God is the source of all things. The earth, people, jobs, wealth, success and all the things in the earth, dare I say, are merely re-sources and we should not put out trust in re-sources.

I am learning to trust in God – The Source and believe what He says about me and accept who He created me to be and to trust Him to provide for my life – He validates my very being – no one else. Trusting in ‘man’ to meet our mental, spiritual, financial needs or otherwise is sinking sand and we need to build our trust in and on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Rock of our Salvation.

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Image courtesy of Photokanok at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Maybe that is why the very heart of the Bible says:-

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes”  Psalm 118:8 .

It is a lesson and a scripture that we should hold in our hearts as we seek to heal from the hurts of an imperfect human race.  God is The Source – let us put our trust and confidence in Him.