Four Steps to Steer Clear of Anxiety
Last Week we talked about the thoughts that can run through one’s mind during pain. They are pretty much self-consumed, something I am very guilty of. Pain is sort of like an argument between our mind and our body. You want to convince your body to somehow not focus on the pain. You only want relief. You only want your body to obey you.
Similarly, when we get into an argument with someone, it is pretty much the same thing. Our natural inclination is to focus on ourselves. We desperately try to get our point across, while focusing on the pain the other person is causing us, because right then, we really don’t feel loved, cherished, or cared for, and quite frankly we may be too mad or upset at the other person, that we don’t even care what is going on anyway, nor do we care how they feel by what we are saying or what type of example we are setting for those around us, and most certainly we really don’t care at the moment how God sees the situation, which is quite sad. (If you had to go back and read that last sentence, that was my point, because arguments really don’t make sense nor are they logical.)
Physical pain is physically harmful, but for me emotional pain is even worse. I’m talking bitterness, anxiety, self-condemnation, fear, anger, etc. These things can harm one’s life even more than physical pain.
Here are the steps I have found helpful this year to steer clear of anxiety, fear, or any other thought that steals my joy and happiness in Christ:
Step #1: Acknowledge the Problem
This has been a newer step for me. Very often I would try to talk myself out of anxiety, I would shove it as far back in my mind as I could. I was determined to focus and trust God. Soon, the Holy Spirit began prompting me to acknowledge whatever is bothering me, to be humble and say, “Yes, I am struggling with … (fill in the blank.)” I started realizing this helped tremendously in combating the anxious thoughts, but without following the next three, the thoughts would soon return, discouraging me even more. Step one must be followed, but you must go directly to step two in order to gain some head way.
Step #2: Acknowledge God
As I started focusing more on Christ, He began leading me to focus on Him during difficulties as well. If you stare at a dessert you know you should not eat, how long can you resist that temptation before you cave? It’s the same with anxiety. The longer you look at the situation, the harder it will become to not dwell on it. We must take our eyes off of the difficulty, off of the temptation and dwell on Christ. I have found that if I take a few seconds to remind myself of who God really is, it helps all the more. Try bringing God into the situation and ask Him if you can talk to Him, which then leads to step three.
Step #3: Pray!
Now that you know you have a problem and you have decided to go to God about it, God is able to work in your heart. So tell God everything. Tell Him what you’re struggling with. Tell Him how you feel about the situation. Give Him all the details. Everything!
Step #4: Give Thanks
This can be very tricky at times for me personally, but I encourage you to give it a shot. I have found that if I thank God for the situation, knowing that He will work all things for my good, because I know I love Him, I start to receive peace. I thank God for every blessing He has given me. I thank God for who He is and what He has done for me and for others in the past. I thank Him for the opportunity to become more like Jesus through this circumstance. I thank Him for loving and caring for me. I thank Him… Most of the time by now my heart has drifted to a place of rest and trust in God.
A Bonus Step to Wrap it All Up
A lot of times God will bring to mind something I can do in order to stay off of the anxious thoughts for good or at least for an extended amount of time. It is most of the time a specific encouragement like praying for someone, giving the situation to God, or meditating on scripture (which He suggests way more often than not). Sometimes He gives me a task like, write about it or text a friend and ask for prayer. Either way, if you have truly humbled yourself in step one, gone to God in step two, shared your heart with Jesus in step three, and gave God thanks in step four, you will open up your heart for God to work in it! And then this is when you can follow this step as a way to show God you love Him!
I hope these steps may help you all as they have helped me. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think and how you have combated anxiety in the past, I’d love to hear from you! Happy Running!