It is Never a Good Time to Worry

I read a devotional this morning on the Bible app, You Version. The study is entitled, “How to Stop Worrying.” The devotion defined worry as to torment oneself with cares and anxieties. As I read that definition, it felt like a 2×4 to the face.


Everyone has thoughts on the things that most concern them. We can plan the best ways to meet our goals or take care of dire situations. But when these thoughts turn to worry, they torment us.


I allowed worry to be a daily exercise in my life. However, most times, the things I worried about never came to pass.


Be conscious of your thoughts and the words you speak. When there is a deep history of living your life in worry, it will take a while to undo it. Have grace with yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you catch yourself worrying.


If you catch yourself in that mode of worry, say, “Oh! I have a worrisome thought.” Then ask yourself, “If I continue to dwell on this, will I be able to remain positive or be anxious?” If it is the latter, choose to change your focus.


In these perilous times, worry will not solve anything. I have spent the last few weeks, taking a lot of deep breaths, finding solace in prayer, trusting in the Lord and meditation, communicating with others (online), and watching light shows. May you find peace from worry today.

Uncover Your Faith

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Today, I saw a feature on a television program about Reverend Dr. Lakeesha Walrond.  She became the first woman president of the New York Theological Seminary.  The feature story contained her recollection of when she heard her calling in the church, her plans for her presidency and how she endured sexual molestation at the age of nine.

The interviewer asked her how do you talk to people who have lost their faith.  Rev. Dr. Walrond answered, “Faith isn’t lost, it’s just covered.”  I felt this surge in my spirit.  Faith is covered by many things, such as our circumstances, fear, anxiety, health issues, and doubt.

Our God is bigger than our greatest obstacles.  Be encouraged today to uncover your faith!  Remove that negativity and put your thoughts towards God.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, may I put my trust in you each and every day.  May I remember all the blessings in my life and for my faith to increase.  Give me strength and endurance during difficult times.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Making Waves

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalms 147:3

Certain situations rile me up with anxiety. A visit to the dentist guarantees an anxiety attack. It would upset me that I couldn’t go to the dentist without an issue. The shame was real. I would ask myself, “why couldn’t I get past this?”

A typical visit would entail sweating through my clothes, crying, or blacking out. I remember the dentist shaking me as she yelled my name and telling me to breathe. I gasped for air and came back. It was embarrassing and scary.

I experienced trauma as a child and adult from trips to the dentist. One hygienist yelled at me when I was seven years old. She said, “I will sit on you if you don’t stop moving around.” She was a large woman, too. As an adult, one dentist told me to never come back to his practice because he couldn’t handle me. Those situations, combined with the money I spent and the pain I endured, made dental visits unbearable.

As I sought therapy for anxiety, I worked on settling my nervous system and giving myself a lot of grace when I knew I had to face a difficult situation. I have to go to the dentist every four months to get my teeth cleaned and checked. My dentist is near the beach and a beautiful Outlet Mall. I decided after a dental visit, to go to the beach and do some grounding work by stepping into the sand and water and watch the waves go back and forth for about 15 minutes. Then I would get lunch at the Outlet Mall and walk around and window shop. After a few times of doing this practice, I soon looked forward to a trip to the dentist.

Here are some pictures of going to the beach after my last dental visit.

I never took a gentle, loving approach in dealing with difficult situations. I took the advice of “suck it up, stop complaining and deal with it.” That approach hurt me instead of helping me.

My healing from anxiety has not been quick. It has been a long journey. As much as I wish God took the anxiety away, I needed to go through a process. There are three therapists who I have come to know that have helped me get through anxiety. I have also learned to eliminate a perfectionist attitude.

My road to recovery has looked like this. Seeking God first, establish boundaries, treat myself gently, learned ways to ground to keep my nervous system out of fight or flight, and know I am worthy and deserve peace.

If I can stop being anxious, you can too! Healing and restoration take determination and consistency, and it is worth it.

Lesson Learned: I am deserving of a life that has joy and peace. Victory over anxiety is worth the work.

Prayer:
“Heavenly Father, I allow you to heal me in the areas of my life that need healing. Forgive me for holding onto things I cannot control. Reset and restore my nervous system. Remind me who I am in Christ. Whenever I face scary situations, show me that you are right there beside me. Thank you for the victory over anxiety! In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Focus on What Matters

#163 Blog Post-Focus on What Really Matters

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” Proverbs 4:25

Our minds conjure up some strange thoughts sometimes. These thoughts can become beliefs and take control of our lives. It is best to take a few moments and reevaluate what matters.

A couple of months ago, I was in a doctor’s office waiting room with my daughter. There was a family who came out after the doctor’s office. The parents were discussing their 6-year-old twin sons’ appointment. The father bragged to their mother about how their boys were in the 95th percentile for height. He went on and on about how tall they maybe when they hit adulthood.  

Children’s development is a popular topic of conversation amongst parents. I remember when my daughter was younger, all of those milestones and percentiles seemed so important. Many parents loved to brag how their child learned how to walk or even read before most. My daughter was born three full weeks early. It took a while for her to catch up on some of these milestones. I used to get scared that she was slightly behind. It dawned on me one day, would this even matter when any of it would occur? Would she be at her college graduation, and they would announce how she learned how to read at age three or walked at ten months? Of course not!

This comparison game tears us apart. When we get caught up in everyone’s accomplishments, we lose sight of what matters. Are our children healthy? Are they becoming more independent and making the right decisions? Are we living in the moment and have gratitude for the beautiful things in our lives? Do we remember how God has carried us through difficult times and set us free from sin and shame?  

Our lives are temporary. Life moves so quickly. The writer Gretchen Rubin said, “The days are long, but the years are short.” If someone cuts you off in traffic, they won’t matter to you tomorrow. If your child learns a skill after the rest of their classmates, the child still learned it. What is your focus on today? It may mean different things to people, but that focus should help us not hurt us. For me, seeking God in my life’s details helps me focus on what matters.

Lesson Learned: Adjust your focus to what matters.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for comparing my life to others. Thank you, Lord, for life, you have blessed me. Help me know what is worth my thoughts. Thank you for everything I take for granted. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

How to Manage Anxious Thoughts

“We destroy thoughts and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

What do you do with your thoughts in times of uncertainty? Are they helpful or harmful? Unfortunately, my thoughts have been unhealthy.

Those anxious thoughts affect me mentally and physically. I can feel my body sink into pain and suffering. My imagination runs wild with every bad scenario it creates. Those around me feel my tension.

A few months ago, I had to let go of a friendship. I had many trepidations throughout the relationship that I had been used and manipulated. Somehow I thought I was the source of the problems. Thankfully it was brought to my attention that it was them, not me.

After our last conversation, I had a lot of anger because I was unable to say what I wanted to say. For the next couple of weeks, I thought about this person. These thoughts woke me up in the middle of the night. In the day, I would get so upset and feel that anger burning in my face and stomach. It was not healthy.

How I Chose To Manage The Anxious Thoughts

As I came to terms with the lost friendship, I saw this quote from Dr. Caroline Leaf from her book, “Switch on Your Brain.” “As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain as we consciously direct our thinking, we can wire out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts.” So, I made a decision. Every time I thought of this person, I said, “I choose to forgive them, and I wish them well. And I am thankful I do not need them in my life.” I said this countless times over the next few days. The thought of them faded, and my thoughts were not held captive anymore. I felt light and free.

I wish I could say, I never think of this person anymore, but once in a while, I do. Now, I make that choice not to dwell or ruminate over them. It is not worth it. I have people ask me when we will reconcile. If God wants me to change the relationship status, then so be it. But I know now is not the time.

Life changes are beyond our control. People or things move in and out of our lives, whether we want them to or not. We can retrain ourselves. It is worth the hard work to take every thought captive.

 

Lesson Learned: Take those thoughts captive and dwell on the better things.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I chose to forgive those who have wronged me. I release that burden onto you, Lord. Forgive me for any pain I have caused on others and myself. I take every thought captive and chose to focus on you, Father God. Heal the wounds and fill those voids with your love, grace, and mercy. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Decluttering the Mind

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious.  If there is any excellence and if there is anything that is worthy of praise,, think about these things.”  Philippians 4:8

 

Admission time…I have anger issues and I am not proud of it.  I use bad words.   Flip my lid.  Yell and scream at my husband, our child and strangers.  I leave passive aggressive notes for my neighbors.  This is a very dangerous road to be on.

 

I arrived at church with a knot in my stomach.  The past 2 weeks haven’t been my best physically.  I threw out my back, had a migraine for 3 days and now my stomach burned.  And to top it all off,  the weather was  100+ degrees for one of those entire weeks.  Plus, I was angry at everything.  It didn’t matter the reason, large or small, I was angry.

 

As I got out of the car, I saw my friend.  She is a mighty prayer warrior.  I consider her my spiritual mother due to her strength and spiritual wisdom.  I asked for prayer.  She prayed and tears streamed down my face and I began to tremble from all the anger that I had been holding on to from the past, let alone the past two weeks.

 

My friend knows I am a minimalist at heart.   She told me it is time to do some decluttering of my mind.  My friends said remove the thoughts that are working against you, not for you.  Think of the way Jesus sees you, more eternal, less earthly thoughts.  The day changed from there.  I enjoyed the church service, my stomach stopped hurting and it was a day of rest from those thoughts.

 

Today I read the following quote in a Bible devotional, “Whatever you believe on the inside will manifest on the outside.”  Most times, anger, anxiety, fear, depression manifests in us physically.  My back, my head and my stomach were all being attacked because I was allowing anger’s energy to control me.

 

The world today thrives on anger.  People are short fused and it reflects in society.  My hope for the near future is that I can use anger in a useful way.  If I see injustice, I try to come up with a possible solution.  But most importantly, I don’t let the angry thoughts consume me and manifest and to also pray and lean on the Lord.

Lesson Learned:  Think of what is true and good and the mind will be renewed.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for letting my thoughts over take my mind.  Forgive me for dwelling on the past and relying on my own strength.  Remind me when I begin to give in to anger.  Give me a renewed mind, like the mind of Christ.  Change my focus on what is eternal.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Sharing the Same Thinking

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”  Ephesians 4:2

 

There was a nice Facebook post that my friend shared about flooding the Internet with Art instead of political posts.  People are getting so sick of over-shared opinions.  As it is always dangerous to go on social media and talk about politics (or anything controversial), right now  Social Media seems like a war zone.  It seems however, no one can be civil.  No one can share an opinion without it being shoved down one’s throats or being told they are wrong.  I think my husband was right in never getting a Facebook or any Social Media profile.

 

The same goes for me being a (wanna-be) Minimalist.  When I began this journey to live a more simple life and without a lot of unneeded stuff,  I was on a rampage to clear out the clutter.  Yet, my husband and daughter have no problem with having stuff.  My parents are the same way. They love new gadgets.  They also love buying things for my daughter.  Of course Grandparents are known for buying too much for their grandkids.  However, my daughter was starting to expect this from them.  

 

I was telling (more like complaining to) a friend about all the stuff grandparents give their grandkids and how I wish there was a better way.  I have suggested experiences and lessons for sports/art instead of toys.  But those requests seem to fall on deaf ears.  Then my dear friend said something that was heart-wrenching.  She went on to tell me, how she was feeling the same way.  Her mom would send her kids random things-knicknacks, stuff that was cute but not of any real use.  But then her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and those gifts stopped.  She said how she would rather deal with the clutter, than know her mother can’t remember her own  grandkids.   

 

In that moment, I realized while I can passionate about something, but I can’t expect everyone to share the same opinion as me.  Sometimes displayed passion can make the subject more intriguing and change someone’s mind about it.   I believe in being a living testimony.  People need to see how one has changed for the better and to share it with others.  But if someone doesn’t agree, I can’t tell them they are wrong.   I have to keep living by example.

 

Lesson Learned:  Love and pray for people always even if they don’t believe what you believe.  Love changes, not shame.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for pointing out the spec in one’s eye when I have a log in my own.  Give me patience and compassion for people.  While this world will always have disagreements with one another, let God’s justice prevail and goodness and love seep through.