Change The Way You React To Anxiety

A lot of our habits are fear based or the result of anxiety. Anxiety is so pervasive. It creeps into all areas of our life. Just like the weeds in my garden! But I have to wonder, how much of it was invited? Okay, maybe not invited but certainly the door was wide open and no one was there to stop it. I believe we can get into the habit of anxiety! Or at least the habit of not doing anything about it. We can’t always help what comes into our head, but we can do something with it once it is there. The pie is on the table cooling and your dog gets on its hind legs and sniffs at the table. Two more seconds and there will be no dessert for dinner. What do you do? You yell, “Get down from there!” and the dog leaves. Likewise, we have more control over our anxiety than we think we do. Here are three things you can do when you feel anxiety coming in the door.

1. Shut the door! – Most of what we get anxious about is not going to happen. I like to think of it as faulty wiring or at least premature timing. Like the kids in the back seat shouting out five minutes after you leave the house heading for vacation, “Are we there yet?” It’s the proverbial Chicken Little crying out, “The sky is falling!” As a child we had no choice. As far as we knew, there WAS a monster in the basement! But today we are an adult. Even if it feels like there is a monster down there, there isn’t. I had to face that. I was a “phobic” child. I had all kinds of obsessive fears. I had to come out of a lot of immature fears as I matured into an adult. So can you. Standing up to the anxiety, calling it “faulty wiring” and distracting yourself while the sensation (that really is what emotions are in the first place) dissipates will help you with a lot of anxiety.

2. ReLive™ – This is what I call visualizing a time when we have done something positive in the past. Think of a time when you were not anxious in a similar situation. Picture it in your mind. Feel it in your body. Take a deep breath and as you exhale let your body sense the peace you had in that moment. Now switch to PreLive™. This is where you visualize something before it happens. Take the same feeling you just had and transpose it onto the situation you are going into. Feel the peace, the freedom of going through it without fear. But what if you still have the anxiety? You can contain it.

3. Contain it – Once you know that you have successfully went through this experience without fear before, then you can begin to understand that this is just a sensation. Sure, it feels real. It shouts, “You are going to die!” But, this is important, “You are NOT going to die.” Remember, you didn’t die before, have never died and you are not going to die this time. Feel the sensation and then contain it. Picture the area in your body where you feel the sensation like a strong metal container. Picture the sensation exploding and you being able to contain it. I usually say out loud, “CONTAIN! I am not going to die if I ignore this!” I then feel the sensation dissipate. Then I do it again. I would encourage you to do the same. Take deep relaxing breaths as you do it and let your body know that it is true. You are not going to die! This is also when I bring God into the picture. He is with me. He is my protector. He will not leave me. I am safe in Him.

I am going to spend a lot of time on this blog talking about anxiety, shame, depression and anger. I hope you join me and let others know.

Share a time when you overcame anxiety.

Is Your God Big Enough?

As we consider change in our life, as we wrestle with habits, craving and life direction it is wise to consider Spiritual wisdom and guidance. As a minister I have talked with many people seeking spiritual guidance and have encouraged them to consider how great and good God is and to build a deep and lasting relationship with Him. I was asked to share about Spirituality at an addictions treatment center’s graduation. I challenged the audience to consider if the God of their choice was big enough. Here are the thoughts I wrote down as my outline.

I am so glad to be here tonight. I love the spiritual emphasis in the twelve steps. Consider the following steps:

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Tonight I want to challenge us as we look at the spiritual implications of the 12 Steps, to look at number three, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” and consider this…
Is your God big enough?

You see I appreciate what the authors were doing. They were being sensitive to the fact that people have the freedom of choice when it comes to spirituality. I get this. However, we are not talking about dessert. “Let’s see I think I will have a piece of pie instead of cake.” No we are talking about God. So here are some things for us to think about.

1. Is your God the one who created you or did you create God? Yes, it is a God of your own choice but is it a God of your own making? It seems to me that the very definition of God would preclude that God would be the creator or life force behind all things.

2. Is your God one that chooses you? Yes you have a choice. A God of your own choice but what about a God who has initiative? I would look for a God who has chosen to love me, create me, sustain me and help me.

This brings up another strong attribute –
3. Can you have a personal relationship with your God? Is He a God who is there? Is He a God with a presence that can be approached? Do you have a connection that is real and vibrant?

4. Is your God all powerful, benevolent, all knowing and omnipresent? When we consider God we must consider God like attributes. Often we are tempted to give to God more human like characteristics. Ask yourself, is my God like…
A. A benevolent Santa Clause ready to give us presents based on our merit– looking to see if we have been naughty or nice.
B. The bloodhound of heaven – The austere judge low on mercy but high on justice chasing us down without mercy.
C. The aloof watchmaker – He created the galaxy and mankind but like the watchmaker, once the watch is made he abandons it to run on its own.
D. The critical parent – A God who is always criticizing, never satisfied, high on demands, low on acceptance and unconditional love.

Finally, ask yourself,
5. Is your God one that can forgive and absolve you of all guilt? Are you able to bring your humanness, your past, all your faults, wrongdoing to your God and find, understanding, love, forgiveness and encouragement? After all, what loving parent would not have a deep love, forgiveness and acceptance toward their child? How much more would the creator of humankind?

As a minister I have spent my life sharing with others how they can find God through the study of the scriptures, the Holy Bible. That they can have a personal relationship with God because of the work on the Cross by Jesus Christ. I would encourage you to also let this be part of your consideration. Whatever you do, seek Spiritual understanding. We were not meant to face this life on our own power. I encourage you to examine your faith and what you believe in and make sure that the God of your choice is big enough.

What do you think should be considered in a quest to know God?