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Anxiety Series: #4 Strategizing - Part 1

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

Maybe I'm the only one that finds themselves in anxious situations that start to drive that feeling of anxiety to come on. For me it's usually kiddos, obviously BIG issues, situations with my hubby and then stupid things I do (that covers a lot, let me tell you). For years I just ignored my anxiety, like MANY people. I don't know a person that is excited to feel that feeling EVER.


After really looking at what God calls us to in Philippians 4:6, I've developed a toolbox, of sorts, that has helped me out. The greatest part about having all these "tools" now is that I don't have to just endure the deep, weird, tight/energized/horrible feeling in my chest, the constant discussions in my head surrounding the issue causing my anxiety, the sleepless nights... I have the means to take things off me and apply them to where God has asked us to put them, on him, with trust and faith that he has our backs, he has plans for me, he paid that price so I didn't have to live in this. Like 1 Peter 5:7 states (which I reference other places, but it's a good one to remember) "Casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.". That is there for any time, but we seem to forget it during the anxious times when this is VERY handy. I will apologize now for the second post in a row that will be a bit longer, I am not willing to skimp on supporting you in this. Bare with me, and I thank you now for your patience.


In sports they talk about the best offense is a good defense. That can be said of a lot of things. Here that can be applied also. I'm going to share just some of what I have found super useful when dealing with, in the midst of, or heading into anxious times that I know will lead to feelings of anxiety. This is NOT an exhaustive list, not even sure with the amount of unique people out there that we could even BEGIN to cover the strategies people use, so I am just going to give you a few and let you use them until you find what is useful to you.



Think of this like your anxiety toolbox. Anyone that does projects knows there are ALWAYS more tools to get to make a job easier, but you have to start somewhere so I'm handing you the tools I have for you to add to as you find new ones that work best on your "projects" for anxiety ridden times. I'm not spending a TON of time on each of these but enough that you get the idea of how to borrow any "tools" you may want.


Music:

This isn't always my number one go to but when I am stressed or anxious, and just don't want to sit in verses because I'm super frustrated, mad or angry, music does it for me. My daughter, who lately has been a bigger part of me needing these strategies, once asked me if I was really singing right now. Yes, yes girl I'm singing Matthew West right now to get my mind off my anxiety and placed on God. The amount of times I have used, and currently use music (Matthew West for sure) to just release energy that is pent up, and praise out some amazing truths about who God is, and who I am because of what he's done? MMMMM, some of my favorite times. Not one of my first go to's though, because for me, it's not always that fix I need to get my brain stuck on God vs what's at hand, but REALLY, this is such a great release to have handy to get that joy BACK and let that wash that anxiety away many times. So definitely a tool I do use!


Scripture:

OK, so this one is DEFINITELY one of my most used "tools" in my anxiety toolbox. This one gets pulled out and used frequently, enough that I have scripture index cards with my go-to verses and on the back notes to remind me of key things regarding each verse. I use these verses like I do music, in those times I am in SO deep or just unable to find those words I need, I put on God's word and let THAT reign in my head, heart and deep into my soul. I don't leave these until I know I have God placed in all the places anxiety was lurking. When I put my verses together I found SO much comfort in the fact I am NOT the first person in the history of the world to come to God with anxiety.

  • Jacob faced it when he came back to his homeland and Esau was coming for him because Jacob stole his birthright. As a mom of 6 I know the anger siblings can have towards another, I have seen the fights. I can't imagine Jacob didn't have massive anxiety over knowing what he did, and having to face up to that reality. But he did, and God was there. It's probably not at all how Jacob thought it would go, but what an amazing story it was.

  • Hannah was distressed she was unable to conceive. I have LIVED that, it's an all consuming thought when you are working at trying to get pregnant and fraught with disappointment month after month it doesn't happen despite your brain convincing you all those little pains, bubbles, weird feelings HAD to mean you were pregnant. The longing and aching to be a mom. There is some very real anxiety there and we see Hannah taken care of by God, again, not how she would have had it but according to plan.

  • You guys Moses brought his people all the way through the desert for 40 years and he never got to enter the promised land! You don't think there wasn't anxious nights as he dealt with all those people and then the fact he wasn't going to see what he spent 40 years leading people to? Yet GOD HIMSELF buried Moses after opening his eyes to see ALL that God had for his people. For real that speaks to me.

  • Job, dude that one was ROUGH. Abraham, he was literally at one point bringing his son up to be offered as a sacrifice. Jesus sweat blood, I can honestly say I've had some really dark and intense moments but none even CLOSE to me sweating blood. Paul, oh how many times he was at the hands of people who were there with hatred in their hearts. SO MANY BIBLICAL EXAMPLES even beyond all these.

Knowing scripture helps as you see a greater picture than your current situation. As we see above, scripture gives us examples of people living life, just as we are. But God's word goes beyond that and gives instruction. God gives us the tools, and these tools calm, you can put them on in our hearts and minds, find shalom. Taking time to just sit, with verses you know, that speak to your heart to be able to take all that is coming in at you. Those things causing anxiety to be driven out by the words, promises and love that God has for us coming in.


When I am in this spot I grab my stack of cards and just start reading through them, almost in prayer, many times as I'm intently working on really standing on these verses I will pray prayers of thanks that I have these to rely on. 1 Peter states as Peter was talking to elders, those who actually WITNESSED the sufferings of Christ, "7 casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.8 Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.". Peter does a great job reminding them, and in turn reminding us today to cast our cares on HIM. Philippians, be anxious for nothing (v.4:6), this is time and time again what we are told. We are then lovingly told HOW Philippians (v. 4:6,7) and here in 1 Peter we are told WHY (v. 5:8) AND HOW (v. 5:9).


What I truly love about Peter's comment is that he goes on to explain that why. I take out these cards because when anxiety hits it's not from God, God isn't the author of confusion, angst, anxiety, worry, fear... Satan is. Going to battle takes going spiritual and in those moments when I can't "sink to my knees in prayer" (it's usually hitting the woods in conversation for me), I go to scripture because anyone that has had anxiety knows you are fighting for that battle ground of sanity. Anxiety is irrational and you are fighting for rational.


Scripture give you power, it gives you God. At this point I would ask, does this seem weird or not something that would work? Most people with anxiety "live with it". I'm not saying that's wrong but for me I am telling you I am up for the battle, and the greatest part about that statement is that it is already won for me, I just have to claim it. SCRIPTURE, GOD BREATHED WORDS are my weapons. GOING to scripture and putting it on as that Ephesians 6 armor of God is EMPOWERING, it gives me the power to overtake all the negative hitting my thoughts and put into action the truth of who I am, what I am called to be, and the power that lies from the savior that went to the cross FOR ME.


Do not for one minute think anything I have talked about in this whole series is "easy". When you are in battle NOTHING comes "easy". This is work, taking these verses, reading them and putting them in place of ALL the anxious thoughts and feelings TAKES WORK. Again, that battle HAS BEEN WON though, you have the upper hand. The world tells us over and over again that we can't help things, and yet God, who has backed his words with HUGE actions, says HE has you. He paid this price. You were bought and paid for from the taunts and from the author of confusion. If it takes you being on medication to help you to get to a point that NOW you are ready to put this on, then start that way. YOU DO THAT. This won't look the same for everyone, it won't and we are broken, and there isn't anyone I know that has this mastered. The greatest part about that is that you ARE NOT ALONE, and guess what, God has said that before also. He has said over and over again in scripture about the fact that you aren't alone in your groanings. HE SEES YOU WHERE YOU ARE, and meets you there, time and time again.


Whew, time for a break but right back into this on our next post, part 2....




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