“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34
So, I read these comforting words from the Sermon on the Mount, and I say, those are lovely words. Who can really do that? You know, don’t worry. Anxiety is part of the human condition. That is why Jesus even addressed the subject. We tend to worry, some people a lot more than others, but, we worry. Especially these days. Worry is the background music to everyday life right now.
Worry is a bit different from anxiety in that anxiety tends to be more pervasive in its debilitating effects on us. Anxiety is typically an irrational fear that is based upon some real events. Those events are just taken up a notch (or ten) based upon how our mind takes it to those levels. Our mind races to places that are beyond likely outcomes. Anxiety then takes on a mind of its own, and it becomes our worst enemy.
Whenever we have worry or anxiety, we tend to try to put on more controls around us. It is a natural response to fear. The more anxiety is present, the more we try to control things. We hear people talk about “that person is a real control freak…” The truth is, we are ALL control freaks. The gift, the solution, is to be able to know what we CAN control, and what we CANNOT control. So, the first tool to use is to be aware of what is going on with me as I experience a potential threatening event. Then we can start to apply rational tools to sometimes irrational thinking. I will be discussing this more in upcoming reflections. Till then, the first rule is this. Intentionally-
Then, when you have gained control of a process (breathing) which is both voluntary and involuntary, you have taken the first step in dealing with anxiety. Ultimately, control what you can control, then pray about the rest. More ideas coming in the next few days.
Prayer: Lord, you have instructed us in how to deal with worry, and it is dependence upon your provision. You have control when we do not. Help us to remember that as we breathe our prayers to you, Amen.