When God works, I will give Him glory. I will try to be transparent here, but also, it’s important to know that I struggle with the ability to share the work He’s done. To put in to words such miraculous moments and growth is seemingly impossible to me. Then I remember my strength comes from Him and I trust His work will be glorified through me.
A couple of evenings ago, my middle son called out several minutes after going to bed. He was having bad dreams (aka, imagining things that were unpleasant because he wasn’t yet asleep). While he knew in his heart that there was no fire in his room, no scary man coming in, or even his teachers at school and church were not yelling at him, he couldn’t stop thinking these things. He wanted help. So, what is a momma to do? Well, of course extra snuggle time and kisses help, an extra prayer will show him where to turn when we feel this way, but the main thing that changed his peace and calming was to speak truth. To help him change his thinking. Truth that set him free from these thoughts of fear. Once he had this truth to envision, he soon fell asleep so gently, and with the slightest grin.
This was it! The simplification I needed to be able to express in writing what I felt God has been nudging me the past few weeks and working on in me for much, much longer! Speaking truth. Changing our thinking. Relying on HIM! So, a question I want to ask you and continue to ask myself is; Is your mind, right?
Heart palpitations. Heaviness. Short breaths. Deep breaths. Guilt. Anger. Overwhelm. Confusion. Desperation. Sadness. Drowning. Exhausted. Pain. Shame. Tense muscles. Can’t think. Shut down. Failure.
Anxiety. It’s real. It’s real for those far from Christ and those near to Christ. It’s real for working moms and for stay at home moms. It’s real for those who dream to be a mom one day, or those who won’t. It’s real for men. It’s real in our home life and in our workplace. It’s real when we wake, and it’s real when we go to sleep. I’m sure we can all agree that it’s real. And it’s a real pain, too. And it’s real to me.
Being totally honest, I never really “thought” I struggled with anxiety. I felt like some of the emotions I had were unique to me and that maybe I was weird or missing something. I thought that maybe I was an awful person to feel anxious when I was so blessed. I would feel anger and self-pity in some of the highest anxiety moments (and still have those moments). I would hold these feelings in and I would confide in a friend. I was all over the place trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I would increase my quiet time or change what I was reading. I would try to eat better and exercise differently. I would change my supplements. I would read this and that. I would say “today is going to be different” and 5 minutes in I’d already feel anxious. What is the trend here…I. I was trying to overcome something that I needed to surrender to. I was still making it about me, what I could do to fix it. Were these things important, sure maybe, but I was missing the point.
When God works, I will give Him the Glory. I am (and you too) are works in progress. I kept thinking that if I would improve in all these areas, THEN I would not be anxious. I was always looking to the place I wanted to be instead of letting God grow me where I was. Thankfully, He doesn’t give up even if it takes us awhile to “get it”. And thankfully, He continues to grow me and change me and redefine me daily. Even by the minute. I’m giving Him total glory.
I could spend all kinds of time sharing details of this journey, but I don’t think that’s the key point here. What I do want to share is some of the things that have helped (and will continue to help) me break the chain of anxiety controlling me. (Full disclosure-I’m a major work in progress and to be honest, the last 2 days have been extremely trying. I’m thankful for these tools that have really changed the way these feelings are handled.)
One of the first things we must do, is embrace the fact that we are works in progress. I believe God allows us to experience hard situations to grow us. I also believe we are to share these experiences with others as a way of shining His light in our hearts. Not all hard things end up being bad. It’s amazing as I look back, even over the last 5 years, how some of the hardest situations have made me an entirely different person. In the moment, I wasn’t seeing it that way, but as I reflect, I’m able to see His work. I hope you are too in your own life.
I have found a few things to really strengthen my ability to breathe through anxious moments or seasons, and look to eternity instead of focusing on the anxiety.
- Read Truth. Read a lot. Read the bible. Read good books. Read. Read. Read truth. Read books that are self-development. Read books that are marriage focused, parent focused, leadership focused, character focused. Whatever roles God has entrusted you with, read about them! I have found such personal growth in studying scripture, applying truth to my life that opposes the anxious thoughts, and allowing God to shape my thoughts. I am filling up with tools and resources that align with what I believe God is doing in my life, and asking that He continue to help me discern His plan. I recently read something so simple; “Right Thinking Leads to Right Living.” Truth is right. So, think truth, and live right. The more we read, the more our thinking changes. (Some of my current reads are in the cover picture!)
- Nourish. It’s incredibly important to not only nourish our mind, but to nourish our bodies. Now anyone who knows me knows that this is one of my passions and thankfully also how I get to help support my family. Anyone who knows me also knows our mission at Power Partners is whole health. So, while we talk a lot about spiritual health, we also know the effects of physical health on our brains and anxiety. We know it’s important to eat a good, balanced diet that focuses on building health. Eliminating the junk that is known to increase anxiety, in many cases sugar. (Caffeine can also increase, and I LOVE my coffee…struggle bus here!) I shared in my Be Still and B-Complex post about the value of adding more B Complex to my daily regimen. Game changer. This is helpful in increasing serotonin, which when deficient, can increase anxiety. Magnesium has also been important because it is very calming and soothing. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get enough in our diet! One of my favorite ways to quickly calm my anxiety, or to help prevent it, is…Stress Relief Complex. When I pair a SRC with a mighty prayer…look out, sister!
- Consistency. That’s right, we must be consistent in these things. Perfection? No, consistent. When we are a work in progress, we must feed and fuel that work. We can’t expect God to “fix” everything and not think we must do our part. He gives us valuable truth in His Word. He gives people gifts to share experiences that help us change our thinking and discover resources to put actions in place. He blesses us with ways to nourish not only our minds and souls, but our bodies as well. Do I have all the answers to the “right and wrong” resources, no, but I know that I trust God, and He’s working in me. I do the best that I can, and in my weakness, He gives me strength. I lean on the truth that God fills in the gaps, because He didn’t create me to do this alone. I am a sinner. I fall short of the glory of God. But he redeems me and covers me in Grace. The good news? He does this for you too!
Notice this short list of resources I’m sharing? Read truth, Nourish, and be Consistent. You will be amazed at the goodness of God in His timing, to grow you. We just have to let Him. I get so excited to think about what else He’s going to do not only in my own life, but in that of those around me. It’s amazing to see the heart changes that happen, and the way it truly has a huge ripple effect.
So, while you may or may not have anxiety I’m sure you can relate to needing Christ. Take some of the quiet moments you have (ha-ha, sometimes I ask what’s that!) or maybe some cuddly moments with the little ones, to listen to what God may be saying. And when you can’t “hear” Him, keep seeking Him.
For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
“It is our job as Christ-followers to be part of freeing others-physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are to go to the ends of this earth, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and proclaiming that in Him is freedom, redemption, and restoration.” Redefined Bible Study (amazing by the way!)
I give God the glory for totally transforming me. I know I am a huge work in progress, and have more work to be done. But I also know that it’s important to reflect and celebrate the goodness and freedom we have because of the blood of Christ. I’m a different person than I was even just 6 months ago, and I know I’ll be different 6 years from now. By Him working in me, and by doing the things I’ve mentioned above, I’ve been able to have open eyes to areas in our lives that don’t align with kingdom purposes. I’ve began to see the need to slow down and simplify, the need to ask God to show me my heart issues that break His, the beauty in teaming up completely with my spouse for eternity, the desire to see my children’s hearts and help mold/guide them toward Him. I also know that if it weren’t for the simplicity I’ve found in trusting Jesus, that none of this would have seemed as beautiful.