May 20, 2019
One Tip I've Learned from a Lifetime of Anxiety
Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul (Psalm 143:8).
Friend to Friend
I’ve struggled with anxiety, on and off, since I was a child.
When I was little, I’d worry about things like my friends’ parents being mad at me forever because I spilled an Otter Pop on their floor. Or that the other kids at class would think my presentation was stupid. Or that I’d never get the guts to pull out my loose tooth. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t. My mom had to bring me to the dentist and have them do it for me.)
As I got a little older, it grew into scarier things, like something happening to my mom while she was away, or someone breaking into our house at night.
During each phase, I would waste countless hours worrying, stressing, and working myself up over things that were never going to happen.
And now that I’m a mom and have two beautiful little boys I love so much, it has continued full force. I had a miscarriage shortly before getting pregnant with my first son, so I hold these boys tightly and do my best to protect them. Even so, I know a lot of it is out of my control—and that’s scary!
But I’ve also found that as an adult, with so many things that could go wrong on a regular basis, I don’t have much of a choice but to trust God with my life, and to let go of my grasp bit by bit. Because otherwise I’d have to run around, freaking out, 24/7, at all of the things I could be worrying about.
I think that through a brain tumor, a miscarriage, and two high risk pregnancies (during one of which I lost my job of 5+ years), the Lord has been bringing me to a place of surrender—most of the time at least. He’s been teaching me to come to him first, rather than letting my mind instantly go to the 1,000 “what-ifs.”
I’ve learned to stop and pray, take some deep breaths, and try to think about things more rationally. But when I do start to spiral out of control, it’s amazing how much Scripture can ground me. And sadly, how often I forget about it in moments of stress! Over the past couple of years, I’ve found Psalm 143, particularly verses 8-10, so helpful:
“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to you for refuge. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”
And the most important piece of advice I’d give to those who deal with anxiety? Teach yourself to do these things before you hit a rough patch. Get into God’s word daily, pray regularly, and preach to your own heart about the Lord’s faithfulness to you—so that when something triggers that anxious reaction, you know how to handle it.
Because I’ve gone through periods when I thought my anxiety had been cured, and sometimes I’d let my guard down. But really, I just wasn’t facing any triggers at the time.
So, fill your mind with Scripture, and remember to ground yourself immediately when fear hits. You won’t be instantly cured, but the more you train yourself to surrender to God first, the easier it will get. The Bible if full of fear-squelching scriptures, so use it!
Lord, I pray that I will always turn to You when I feel afraid. This world is full of trials, and so sometimes my worrying can spin out of control. Lead me to the scriptures that will calm my heart and help me trust You with every detail of my life.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What scriptures have you found helpful in times of worry? Do you have any other tips for those struggling with bouts of anxiety?
More from the Girlfriends
Do you need help learning how to find and do God’s perfect plan for your life? Check out Susie’s book, Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligations for Freedom, Passion, & Joy and visit Susie’s website: www.susielarson.com.
Originally published Monday, 20 May 2019.