Pain Points: Anxiety

In my book, Rainbow in the Night: A Journey of Redemption, I share my life story with transparency and vulnerability. My hope is that the reader can be encouraged that with the Lord’s help we can heal and move forward to a life of freedom and joy. One of the “pain points” in my life was anxiety. There were so many challenging issues in my life, and fear usually was  the motivating factor. I couldn’t stop worrying about what might happen in the future. Sadly, I made many poor decisions because I allowed fear and anxiety to dominate my thought life.

In my private practice as a therapist and life coach, many of my clients presented with anxiety. I was able to empathize and provided my clients with helpful homework assignments. One of the most successful exercises was to ask the client to write down every “what if” scenario that was causing concern. For example, “what if I don’t get the job of my dreams,” or “what if I can’t pay my bills next month.” As you can image there can be many “what if” scenarios in life.

I tasked my clients with writing out a list of all the “what if” scenarios and then instructed them to cut the paper so each scenario was separate. I suggested they design a “what if” box and place all the pieces of paper in that special place. Once a week they were to spend 30 minutes going over every “what if” scenario and then surrender each one to the Lord. Once it was surrendered, they could not take it back. You might ask, did it work? I’m happy to report that indeed it did! Once we externalize our inward anxieties and get them into the open, we give the Lord permission to take these concerns away from us and place them in His capable hands.

The Lord gives us much guidance in His Word for coping with anxious thoughts.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

It’s paramount that we stay in the present. Anxiety takes us into the future and the world of unknowns, which we have no control over. We only know we have today. I always “prescribe” what I call the anti-anxiety portion of Scripture to my clients: Matthew 6: 25-34.

Verse 34 sums it up beautifully: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

The reason why the Twelve Step program for alcoholics and addicts is successful is because it totally focuses on taking it one day at a time. It is easier to commit to not taking a drink or drug just for today than for the rest of their lives.

Will you trust the Lord that He has all your tomorrows safely tucked away?

 

Here for you,

 

Jane “Goldie” Winn, MSS

Author of Rainbow in the Night: A Journey of Redemption

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