Anxiety makes us ill in body, mind, and spirit. It can be ingrained in our nature from the moment we are born because of original sin.
Babies are not simply empty slates; they are complex little people who just happen to be preverbal. Babies are born with more than simply inherited physical characteristics but personalities and even inherited blessings and curses passed down through the generations.
Yes, my children came from the heart of God with a Divine spark in their souls. They have even spoken the Word of God to me as the most open soul in the room who could hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit within their spirits.
On the other hand, they are human beings with faults, weaknesses and even sin as part of who they are. Babies can worry and are often just as fearful as adults.
This is not simply an Old Testament teaching. With the help of a spiritual director and the light of Holy Spirit, I have faced and uprooted inherited stuff which triggered fear, anxiety, and mistrust for years both personally and with my kids.
Worry feeds our panic over situations that are beyond our control. There are times when everything actually is even worse than it seems, times when our world really does shatter. What then?
Cognitive Therapy: Learning to do My Part
Although stuck in wretched circumstances, I still can change how I feel and how I think. Cognitive therapy is a powerful tool. I can often change my thoughts and focus on all the blessing in my life, instead of everything that is going wrong and my emotions change as well. For example, I still can see, hear, use all my limbs and I don't have a chronic illness.
But what about the times when you simply cannot change your thoughts, when cognitive therapy does not work? When you can't snap out of anxiety or panic?
Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place.
Many times devastating circumstances have ended one way of life for our family with something new always rising out of the ashes.
The fact remains, though, I must still let go of worry and control, even though it goes against every fiber of my being. I must remind myself that
God is God and I am not. I am simply His child. Since I love to steal God's job and control, He often must shatter my safe little world because this is the only way I would step out of my comfort zone.
I had to learn to relax and patiently let the process unfold naturally since melodrama really did not help.
When I laugh at my mistakes, weakness and even my tragedies, I put my little life into perspective and I let Christ take over. He is God and I am not. I am simply His child, who can laugh in the face of tragedy because He is in charge.
Cut Worry Off at the Knees
There are a few quotes, which I have remembered for years and are key to my sanity. When I feel at my wit's end, this quote makes me laugh and cuts through stress.
One in four people is mentally unbalanced.
Think of three friends.
If they seem fine,
You're the one.
I never fail to smile, even after reading these lines hundreds of times. This reaction pushes worry to the side. When I don't take myself too seriously by entertaining the thought that I might be slightly unbalanced, I immediately stop over reacting. My worries are now put into perspective.
Laughter is the best way to snap out of melodrama.
Laughter puts every thing into perspective.
My family coined a phrase for crazy thinking that leads to stress. Repeat this phrase and once again laughter will put a stop to your running brain – guaranteed.
NO more mental kung-fu
Can't you just see your thoughts sparring with each other in a match that neither of them can ever win, especially in the middle of the night? Really, humans are so illogical, we are comical.
Although we can use laughter or cognitive therapy the truth is that prayer and Holy Scripture are the most powerful weapons against anxiety and stress. Listen to the Words of Jesus: I read these words over and over again, letting the words of Christ sink in deeply into my spirit, deeper than my thoughts. The words of Christ have the power to heal and change us.
Mathew:6:25 "That is why I tell you not to worry about every day, whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They do not harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And are you not far more valuable to him than they are?
I might as well give up. I was not designed to control everything and everyone.
So I might as well give up control and give God His job back.
When I accept that I am simply a child of God, nothing more, nothing less, then I can relax and TRUST.