Once, while feeling anxious and weighed down, an inspiration hit me. I wrote all my concerns on a piece of paper and placed them in an enveloped entitled ‘Given to God’. Surprisingly, I found myseIf struggling to seal the envelope and put it away! It seemed difficult to relinquish my worries.
Perhaps you can relate. Whether simple worry or chronic anxiety, many of us grapple with fear.
Understand Fear and Anxiety
God designed the emotion of fear to help us. It provides us with caution and stress hormones to help us in dangerous situations. We know this as the fight or flight syndrome.
However, when fear and worry chronically prompt our bodies into flight or fight mode, it is is no longer helpful but harmful. Fear can literally grip our hearts and leave us feeling paralyzed.
God understands our proclivity to fear. Numerous Bible passages exhort us to recall his care for us and remind us not to worry.
Transform Fear and Anxiety Into Positive Change
I find two ways that people transform fear and anxiety into positive change.
We can allow concern and worry to serve as catalysts for prayer. Every time a worry comes to mind, whisper a prayer or praise to God.
Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. (Philippians 4:7, The Message)
Active problem solving leads to feelings of empowerment and therefore lessened anxiety.
Revisit problems with pen and paper or in discussion with a friend with a view to creating a practical solution. Even if you maintain your existing strategy you will feel better! And you just might come up with new ideas for change!
Recover from Debilitating Anxiety
I also find two ways that folks recover from debilitating anxiety (and I have seen hundreds of such situations over the years in my counseling office.)
Words matter. Saying “I can’t” brings a sense of powerlessness and anxiety. Simply changing your words to “I am experiencing difficulty with…” can lead to empowerment and courage.
For example, change “I can’t face this particular conflict in my church” to “I am having difficulty facing this particular conflict in my church”. Reframing really can transform anxiety into empowerment.
Prolonged anxiety sufficient to interfere with our enjoyment of life merits outside help. Seeking help demonstrates resourcefulness, not weakness.
Let worries and problems take you into deeper in relationship with the Almighty. It’s often the difficulties rather than the victories in life that lead us closer to God.