Anxiety Sequence – Part 5
Anxiety has been a much talked about topic over here lately, and while I’m sure I’ll have more to say along the way, I’m thinking we’ll be switching gears soon. St. Paddy’s Day is coming up, and so is Spring (YES!!!), and I’ve got some good plans brewing where they’re concerned!
Before we get into that, let’s take a look at two more ways I’m beating anxiety:
Be on guard
What on earth does that mean, right? It sounds like the opposite of what you would want an anxious person to do.
“Relax!”, you might say,
but not “Be on guard”!
Here’s the deal though: When you guard your peace, you are also guarding your heart, your mind, and even your body. God does not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind (2Tim.1:7). So, when we choose to guard our peace, everything else will fall into place (but give it time). Our minds will settle, our hearts will settle, and we can enjoy what lies all around us.
But how do you guard your peace?
Now, this question I have literally beaten to death, no joke. Over and over again I would circle it, like a shark. I’ve known for as long as I can remember that we should guard our hearts and guard our peace, but I’ve over-analyzed how to put that into practice. One day though, I found this article, “How I Cured My Anxiety” , and the guy, who use to struggle immensely from anxiety himself, challenged me with something I’d never tried before:
Yup. Just. Play.
And, you know, it’s true,
Nobody ever beat anxiety
by thinking their way out of it.
That’s what got us into this mess in the first place!
Truly, the best thing you can do for yourself is to just put it down and play. Enjoy the things around you that God has given to you.
So, to summarize. You guard and cultivate your peace by enjoying the people and the experiences around you, just as they are (and just as you are)! I can tell you that I have had my moments where I’ve been hugging one of my kids and thought “What if something happens? What if I’m not able to do this much longer?” Now, whether circumstances ever warrant that question for you or for me or not, the fact is, the very instance we start worrying about how many times we’ve left to hold them, is the very moment that we short change ourselves. It’s the very moment we exchange this beautiful experience of this beautiful embrace for fear. We allow our moment, our memory to be smeared and stolen by fear.
Hear me out and hear me now:
Fear has no place in your life. Fear has no place in mine either.
No matter what we are going through. No matter what we face.
Fear will never help us to live a better life,
it will only rob us of the moments we’ve been given.
This can be a tough one. While, yes, Heaven is filled with things more amazing and more abundant than we, as believers, can imagine, going there means that we have either died or the Lord has come again while we were still living. Now, I don’t know about you, but as a believer, I’ve always been fine and even excited about the idea of Christ coming again. (Just imagine what that will look like!) Going to Heaven because I’ve died, however, has been the source of far too much anxiety in my life!
Yes, I am most certainly saved,
but I have not been reaping the fruits of salvation
that I can have right here and now on earth,
because I’ve been afraid.
In the midst of my anxiety recently, my husband was talking about Heaven and how relieved he will be to go Home someday, and I was all “but aren’t you worried about how much we’d miss you and how sad we’d be?”.
His face said it all though. Beaming with the light of anticipation for what awaits him, my husband went on to say that even though, yes, we would be apart for a while, he knows that it wouldn’t be forever, and then, once more, we’ll all be together again, for eternity. There’s not one part of him that’s afraid.
This conversation will likely stay with me forever, because it drove something home that I already knew: I want to be excited like this!
I hadn’t been though.
I had been a slave to fear, and fear wouldn’t let me.
Fear said I couldn’t be excited, and up until recently, I listened.
I recently went through a life-changing situation…one that called me to take a good look at my life and face my deepest fears.
This is what I found:
When we allow fear to keep us
from looking on the promise of God’s Kingdom,
we are robbing ourselves of joy here on earth.
Seeing my husband’s face as he talks of Heaven has shown me that.
Here he is, radiant with expectation, while I have been afraid of it, because I didn’t want it to look like I was okay with dying. After all, if I was okay with dying, maybe God would decide to take me! Crazy, right?! But am I the only one that’s thought like this? If I am, good for all of you, because this had crippled me my whole life!
But, how does a Heavenly focus break anxiety?
Since my life altering situation, I’ve come to realize that this life is just the very first 1/8 of what awaits me, my family, and all those who believe. Focusing Heavenward has broken me of my chains. You cannot truly feel authentic excitement and fear at the same time. I’ve no research to back that up, but that’s been my experience.
Much like Charlie Hoen’s play theory up top there,
you cannot be fully immersed in the joy of excitement
if you are still bound up with fear.
You must let go of one in favor of the other.
How do you focus on Heaven?
My suggestion is to start slowly. Take a look at Heaven in the Bible. Take a look at Heaven in your heart. Let yourself imagine what it’s like. Have fun with it, and let yourself face this idea head-on. It won’t hurt you!
God has told us to think about things that are excellent and praiseworthy (Phil.4:8).
I fully believe that, when you completely let go to look Heavenward and really give it all of your attention, fear will begin to dissolve from you while you aren’t looking…while you’re not monitoring its progress and hold on you.
Hear me on this:
You will never let go of fear while you are watching it.
If you turn your gaze to Heaven…if you imagine all you can of it and truly invest in what it must be like, your grip on fear will loosen while your embrace of our Almighty Christ only strengthens.
Mind you, there may be a lot of ebb and flow here…a lot of give and take between freedom from and bondage to fear and anxiety, but the more you fix your gaze upon the Mighty One…the more you allow yourself to imagine what Heaven is really like, the more freely and permanently fear will dissolve from your life.
Heaven is my real home.
As amazing as my life is here with my family, Heaven is my real Home, and it is there that I will see them again someday…
I didn’t before, but I now have total and complete peace with that.
Of course, I want a long life to watch my kids grow, don’t get me wrong, but should the Good Lord deem that my time has come, I will be ready and eager to embrace where He is taking me.
The fear of death has lost its grip on me,
because of the peace I have found in gazing Heavenward.
On the topic of Heaven, I’d like to take this opportunity to say…
If you have not yet asked Christ to be your Savior…
if you don’t know where you’ll be going when you pass from this life…
won’t you ask Him today?
The Lord has been waiting for you to come to Him. He has been waiting to set you free.
If you’re not sure how to do this…If you’re unsure of what this even looks like, I would love to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to send me a message directly, or leave me a comment below!
So, there you have it…an end to my posts about anxiety, for now! Up ahead, we’ve got some St. Paddy’s Day goodness coming our way! See, right here, a perfect transition and opportunity to practice the first point of this post: PLAY! St. Pat’s is just a good fun holiday! Take a break from your fear and anxiety and dive into a few of the crafts, goodies, or what nots I’ll be posting!
As for the second part…the focusing Heavenward part…why not practice a little of that right now:
Leave me a note in the comments about what you think Heaven will be like!
I’d love to hear what you guys are thinking!
For sure, we already know that it will be so much greater than anything we could ever ask or imagine! (Eph.3:20)
What the Bible says about Heaven:
No more tears! No more death! – Isaiah 25:8-9
A giant feast! A boost for the underdog! Luke 13:29-30
A house with unimaginable rooms! John 14:2-4
No more thirst! No more hunger! No more tears! So much comfort! Revelation 7:16-17
We get to SEE Him! No more night! Revelation 22:4-5
Sharing at Grace & Truth!