This has been a difficult school year what with the cancer diagnosis, hubby still not getting a paycheck, as well as my mom’s Dementia, her recent pneumonia scare, and now her worsening kidneys. My job has also gotten harder. I guess it’s no wonder I’ve been struggling with anxiety, but I’m working to change that…
Lately, I’ve been studying mindfulness, doing some yoga, listening to sound tracks of waves hitting the beach, going for walks, and most of all, praying. I think back to simpler times and hope that things will improve. At times, I feel overwhelmed and want to run away, but I know, as Seneca pointed out two thousand years ago, the problems would just follow me.
Fortunately, while looking for a new book of devotions on Amazon, I came across the book Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado. Within this slim volume are questions for reflection, stories, analogies, and scriptures for the anxious.
The scripture that forms the framework for the book is this…
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Subsequently, he believes we can find CALM if we do the following:
Celebrate God’s goodness
Ask God for help
Leave your concerns with Him
Meditate on good things
I don’t want to give away anymore of the book which I highly recommend you read. I just want to say that I found it very helpful. We know from studies that feeling or expressing gratitude can help people feel happy, so it makes sense to celebrate God’s goodness, not just to feel happy but because he loves us and really does want what is ultimately best for us. We also know that he welcomes our petitions and prayers. We are told to cast our burdens upon him as well. What I have the most difficulty with is meditating on good things. I’ve been a regular Eeyore lately, moaning about my problems and not reflecting and being thankful for the blessings and miracles all around me, so I’m going to work harder on this.
Another scripture that is helping me get through this difficult time is this one…
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
It sure is hard to “glory in our sufferings”, but when you accept that this suffering is building your character and helping you develop hope, it can help in accepting one’s plight. That’s not to say you won’t sometimes chew off your fingernails, binge on junk food, or get serious butterflies in your stomach when you’re doing something you’ve been dreading like conducting professional development for fellow educators, but it can help you to take things a day at a time and just do your best. If people have a problem with your doing the best you can under stressful circumstances, they will just have to deal with that, for “If God is with us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31