This weekend, I was blessed to be at a Beth Moore conference. I was a volunteer whose job was to hand out Compassion International packets to participants and to pray for people who requested it. Beth’s topic for the weekend was anxiety and she began by asking us to rate where we landed on the anxiety scale:
- Don’t really have a problem with anxiety
- Occasionally have a problem with anxiety
- Anxiety is something I struggle with
- I am often paralyzed by anxiety
Now, at first I thought, hmmmm, anxiety really isn’t an issue with me. I’m not a worry wart. I stay pretty calm most times. I think I am a 1.
No sooner had I rated myself then I realized I had misplaced the Compassion International packets. Darn it! I must have laid them down when I was paying at the roasted almond concession stand.
Let the fretting begin! I commenced to spend the next 30 minutes wondering how I could either a) get more packets; or b) borrow packets from my fellow volunteers so I didn’t look stupid standing up there with empty hands. But then that would mean admitting to someone that I had messed up. And I’m not proud to admit that I briefly considered sneaking a couple of packets from my neighbor while she was wrapped up in the worship song.
And I thought I was a 1? Yeah, right. Perhaps not. So I tried to pin down what made me anxious. Could it be that I put too much stock in always doing things right? In looking like I’ve got it all together? I’ve been making a lot of mistakes lately and although most are little and insignificant (like forgetting my hair brush when I left home and leaving my cleanser in the hotel shower when I came home), it left me questioning my assumption that I am a capable human being.
I thank the Lord for showing me an area where I need some intervention. Beth outlined seven steps in dealing with anxiety. I found them helpful and maybe you will to.
- Admit it, anxiety is miserable.
- Anxiety isn’t doing our personalities any good. (A little irritable, are we? Yeah, that’s probably because we’re anxious)
- Anxiety shares an inglorious link with anger. Both come from the same Latin root.
- Anxiety has a robust remedy: Cast that thing! It takes humility to cast, but pride holds on. (“And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:6-7)
- Expectancy is the perfect swap for anxiety. Anxiety expects the worst; expectancy expects God.
- Anxiety is a neon sign that says, “I don’t trust God.”
- When it comes to anxiety, pray or be prey. (“Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7)
In the end, our working definition of anxiety was this: Anxiety is care clothed in fear and intensified by anger and clamoring for control.
There is a lot to unpack in that definition.
BTW, someone had been given two sets of Compassion packets so when I humbly admitted what I had done, she gladly gave me a set to hand out. But my anxiety had been exposed. Thank God!
Being Human connection: Being anxious is such a human thing, but it isn’t what God wants for us. What makes you anxious? Cast that thing!