Go Away Anxiety
Anyone that knows me extremely well, knows that I struggle with anxiety all of the time. It could be hereditary or chemical, but some of it is probably self-imposed. I've tried many different ways to control it. Some very productive.....and some not so productive. There are lots of medications out there that are helpful for people who are just born wound up, and at times, I am very thankful for prescriptions I take or have taken for that. But, I don't want to focus on that so much here. There's anxiety we don't cause and anxiety we CAN cause. I want to focus on the anxiety we create for ourselves.
I have had many moments where I've blown up over the most ridiculous types of things. Like, a pencil falling off a table as I'm trying to grab it, driver in front of me takes too long to press the gas pedal once the light turns green or internet radio skipping because the signal cut out for a split nano-second (okay so that might annoy most people, but you get the point). Other times, it's been much bigger issues, but no matter how large or tiny the issues are, they both have a similar cause.
For me, the cause is normally because I hold things that are bothering me inside all the time. I rarely share what's bothering me with people. It's probably because I don't really want to burden others with my burdens, but other times it's because I might be waiting for an answer or solution to the problem I'm dealing with. Both are instrumental in escalating anxiety in my life.
Anxiety can be harmful to your health if left unchecked. I have had close friends and other people in my life in the past develop enough stress and anxiety to become hospitalized or cause them to be sick! It's happened to me, too and it's not fun at all. When your troubles begin to work on you so much that you end up with migraines, heart problems, breathing problems, or even flu-like symptoms, you need to examine how you deal with trouble in your life.
I don't claim to be a master of this at all, but this past week I let some things bother me to the point of anxiety and depression and it started to affect my mood around the house & family and outlook on things in general. While I still realized God was in control of everything, I began to question what was happening and if I was in the right place. Before it got out of control, I recognized what was happening and did 3 things:
1) Began to lift up the burden to God.
In the Bible (Matthew 11:28), Jesus says that all can come to Him and
lay their burdens on Him. He actually wants us to rely on Him for
strength, so I just talked to Him about it and prayed that He could help
me. It wasn't formal or anything, I just lifted my thoughts to Him and
what all was on my mind. Plus, I TRUSTED that He was listening and
would hear my worries.
What's awesome, is that after a few days of this, He answered my prayer! I wasn't even expecting it or prepared, really. It was answered through a friend who is someone I consider a mentor of mine. All it took was a few words of encouragement, empowerment and understanding. He understood the problem as if I had shared with him in great detail and offered encouragement that literally made the weight on my shoulders go away. It felt great and refreshing. I know it was God listened to me, because of the timing of this and especially since I had never raised the issue to my friend before. He answered all the questions I had and offered great wisdom that came from God speaking through him.
2) Told someone close to me what's bugging me. The worst thing you can do when you are anxious about something is to hold it in. I've done it many times and it never works. In fact, I've held things in for years and they just ate away at my soul and created huge amounts of bitterness. Sometimes, you just need to get something off your chest. I have seen people go from angry & bitter to happy and relaxed in moments, by just listening to them spill their guts! It's amazing and we should never keep stuff inside too long or bitterness will rear its ugly head eventually.
3) Developed trust and friendship with those who will listen to me. This is different from the above point because in order to get something off your chest, you need someone in your life that can be entrusted with your information. You have to build meaningful relationships with, perhaps 1 or 2 people who you can trust with your burdens, and vice versa. We were never meant as humans to go through life alone. We are designed to be in relationship with others, so that tells me that we don't have to always carry burdens ourselves. It's contrary to what our society believes, but not how it has to be. We lift burdens up to God AND we share burdens with our trusted friends or family.
In the case where my friend was able to pass on his wisdom to me, it could have never happened if I hadn't established some trust and shared other concerns with him. He had proved to be trustful before and continued this time as well.
These are just 3 points that I literally experienced in the past few days and thought I'd pass on what worked for me. Anxiety is complex and one of those conditions that can disrupt people's lives slowly and quietly in the background and usually goes unchecked until you explode. I know, because I have ignored it many times before and had to suffer the consequences of bad episodes caused by holding stress and anxiety in too long.
I'm really thankful for God and for having people I trust in my life to look up to and get through difficult situations by their help and guidance. I'm excited about the direction I'm going, largely because of a few encouraging statements and how God listened to me and then worked in my trusted friends' hearts to get rid of some anxiety I was experiencing.