I’m a bit of a worrier sometimes. I have two little kids so I’m often watching them like a hawk. I swear once you become a mom you have this secret vision into the future of every possible outcome that could happen for every step your child takes.
My daughter is the dare devil so my futuristic visions are often fraught with peril. She’s the one that will ask permission to walk forward as she is midstep and even as you are saying no her foot has already taken the step. Mm-hmm….we all have a little bit of that in us, don’t we? “God, you don’t mind if I….”
I especially find myself taking that step during situations that make me worried and anxious. I want to get out of these feelings immediately and thus my thinking isn’t clear, my heart is racing and I have the acute sense that if I don’t make a decision right this very second something terrible may happen or I’ll miss some great opportunity.
Lately, I’ve been trying to do a few things that calm myself when I’m in the midst of these worrying situations. Maybe they’ll help you too.
- Pray. Don’t walk while you pray. Sit. STOP. Don’t move! Be still. Not easy but so good.
- Take a moment and step away from the situation. I find that if I make a decision when I’m in the heat of the emotion it almost never ends up the way I want. I’m starting to believe that Satan wants us living in that emotion because we are easiest to manipulate.
- Lay it all out. Write it out. Think through it. Talk it out. While you can’t do this forever, sometimes it helps to put all your cards on the table.
- Practice patience. <groan> This is totally the worst. I don’t want to be patient. I’m really annoyed I’ve had to learn to be patient. My husband and I have been figuring out if we are going to move and, let me tell you, living in the waiting has changed our hearts. The annoying waiting can sometimes be the absolute best thing for us even when it feels like such a bummer. In the waiting we have become ready for what God has for us rather than what we think we want for ourselves.
- If you feel as if you are in the midst of a decision that cannot wait ask yourself something important. Is it really true that it cannot wait? Or, have you convinced yourself it cannot wait? What will happen if you pause first? And, if it does pass you by would that be such a bad thing? (Side note: The Tyranny of the urgent by Charles E. Hummel is a good read.)
Some days I’m better at all this than others, but the more I practice these things the easier it becomes. I believe that God is speaking to us in our daily lives but we often don’t hear him when we ask our questions because we haven’t actually stopped to listen. Our own voices can be pretty loud sometimes can’t they?
Your turn. How do you get through those anxious moments?