Written by: Kristen Oliver
This morning I dropped Landon off for VPK and every Thursday Lucas gets to go to “Mommy’s day out.” Sounds good to me! This is only his second time going and it is from 9 am to 2:30 pm. I honestly don’t know what to do with myself for that long without kids! Last week I stressed myself out trying to do too much. Mommy’s day out was more stressful than mommy’s day with both kids! Today I literally planned nothing but…reading, writing and a sushi date with my hubby!
So…It has been a long time since I have sat down and wrote a post. Every time I tried I would have writers block half way through and couldn’t even focus on what I was trying to write, because my mind was going in a million directions. This morning I finally feel like I had a breakthrough and have something worth sharing!
Since I was a young girl I remember the need to do things “perfectly,” I always followed the rules to a fault, even in my adult years I have trouble with this. For example: I enjoy running and challenging myself. I recently decided I wanted to train for a half marathon, and of course you can’t do that without a training schedule. Well to me that schedule is black and white, there is no room for error or off days. However, if you are reading this you know that life is not perfect and definitely not predictable. To think that I could follow the plan exactly is silly, and I know this. However, every time I miss a day or don’t reach my mileage, I inevitably get frustrated and take a few days off (almost as if I’m punishing myself). All that does is make it harder to stay on track and then I have to make up for even more time missed. Why do I do this to myself? I think it has to do with my personality. I like to be in control, have a plan and a routine and when that routine is messed up (even though in my head I know its OK) my body says it’s not and I develop anxiety!!! Anyone else understand what I’m saying??? By the way…if you don’t have anxiety, it gives me anxiety knowing that, so keep it to yourself! Haha but for real don’t tell me.
So since I have been experiencing this in my life lately, I thought I should share 3 ways to focus on God during times of anxiety.
1) Read Scripture
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
I find it very difficult to read scripture when I’m anxious because that means I have to sit still and find a few minutes to be alone (very difficult with 2 young children). But I know that once I force myself to open my bible and just start, I immediately feel better. This is because scripture reminds us of the truth. Philippians: 4:7 is sooo true in these moments of my anxiousness.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:7
The enemy attacks us where we are most vulnerable. For me it is through my mind. Anxiety is sneaky and hard to identify because it’s not tangible. Oftentimes I catch myself worrying about what could happen or what will happen. Either it doesn’t happen or it’s different than I expected and I spent time worrying, which created anxiety for nothing! I’m realizing that the enemy wants us stuck in this frame of mind. He wants us to worry about what we can’t control. The enemy wants us fixated on what if’s, because when we are worried we can’t focus on what God is calling us to do.
Do you struggle with anxiety?
Are you overwhelmed by the day’s tasks?
Have you ever tried to care for someone else when you are emotionally and physically drained? It’s extremely hard and that is what worry and anxiety do to us physically, it eliminates the possibility to be Christ to others. Anxiety eliminates our ability to focus on God. But focusing on God will eliminate your anxiety. See the oxymoron here…Friends, we have to stay strong during our weak moments. If you know you struggle with this I would also encourage you to surround yourself with people who will speak truth into your life when you can’t do it for yourself (this is a lifesaver!!).
2) Listen to worship music
Oftentimes when we are battling with anxiety it is hard to communicate that to others, it’s hard to force yourself to read and comprehend what you’re reading. Another great way to focus on God during anxiety is to listen to worship music. Many times the song will say exactly how I’m feeling and that becomes my prayer.
Last night in youth group we had a prayer and worship service. We sang Every Giant Will Fall by Rend Collective. It is so perfect for this season we are in as a church family. The line that says, “Every giant will fall, the mountains will move, Every chain of the past, You’ve broken in two, Over fear, over lies, we’re singing the truth, That nothing is impossible with You,” For some reason I have an expectation that God is going to do what he has done in the past. When in reality, we need to be ready for him to do a new thing. We need to trust in him and not ourselves and what we think we know.
Every giant will fall, the mountains will move Every chain of the past, You’ve broken in two Over fear, over lies, we’re singing the truth That nothing is impossible with You With You
After our first set of worship songs in youth, we broke into prayer groups. We each prayed for the person on the right. Let me tell you being prayed for by a teen, when you are a leader …is a humbling experience. I always leave that prayer time encouraged, hearing them pray for each other and then praying for me. God knows what we need at the time we need it, and I needed that last night. When you are too anxious to do anything, listen to worship music, I promise it will make a difference.
3) Make an effort
Mike and I are in a season of waiting. If you know us, you know we don’t like to wait, we like to do. After finding out some pretty surprising news on Sunday, I immediately felt anxious, confused and worried about all the possibilities. I did the bare minimum on Monday, wake up at the last-minute, rush to get out the door for school, put on TV for Lucas so I could mindlessly scroll through Facebook and try to ignore my anxiety, then take a nap with my son and rush to pick up Landon. You get it. It took EVERYTHING I had to do even that. Then I woke up Tuesday feeling the same way and I thought, “I don’t want to feel like this anymore.”
I thought back to what my husband preached this past Sunday and he said something that has helped me move out of this feeling of fear and anxiety. He said, “In order to get out of our complacency, we have to take the first step and make an EFFORT.” So I decided to read some encouraging blogs, do my devotions, listen to worship music and through that time I found a fresh perspective. I could take a deep breath. I felt God say, “Kristen, you are doing what you can. Trust me. Do what you need to everyday to take care of your family and I will do the rest.”
God has been seriously teaching us during this time how to trust in him and not our human emotions and feelings. Waiting for me creates anxiety, because I’m wondering about all the what ifs and I recently realized that during this period of waiting I have been selfish. I have been thinking….”What about me? How will this affect me?” When I should have been focused solely on God and what he’s doing and put my human emotions to the side (believe me this is hard, but possible!) I know that being obsessed with my circumstances and the unknown is not good for my spiritual life. When I fixate on the uncertainties and frustrations of life I am unable to focus on anything else (hence why I haven’t been able to write). I become unproductive because I am paralyzed by this feeling of…Fear.
I know that the enemy wants me to become consumed with these thoughts and feelings and become depressed because of the lack of control over my situation. Instead of giving into these feelings of anxiety and worry, I am choosing to give all of these feelings to God. I am trusting that He will take care of it in his timing, in his way and not mine. For a person with a type A personality it has been one of the hardest lessons of my life. I do not need to do everything and carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, God’s got this and I am not God, thank goodness!
These boys always give me a smile! Enjoy 🙂