How a Christian zillenial uses prayer to fight off her anxiety.
It usually started with a thought, and it would be a thought about anything. I’d think about how my day went, of course. I’d think about what movie I want to watch next, or how many points I have to win to stay afloat in my game. Nothing too crazy.
But then in the midst of all that, somehow I’d start thinking about my work and the projects I need to finish. Or, on most days, how I feel about my body. It would be such a jump to think about how yummy my dinner was, and then to what I felt like it was adding to my body. I’d think about how I feel like I’m not doing enough, and if I did do enough, then it wasn’t good enough. I’d feel like I wasn’t lifting enough weight at the gym, I wasn’t eating as healthily as I should be. I wasn’t as productive as I could be, I could be doing so much more with my time.
I could be more. But I’d never be enough.
Prayer: My answer to my anxiety
Generally, as an individual, and even more so as a member of the Church Of Christ, I always want to strive to be better and live better. But I can be hard on myself. And that is exactly why I pray to God so that I don’t push myself to the point where I become anxious in my pursuit to be better.
Also, whenever I need a reminder (like I did this week), I play one of my favorite Verse of the Week episodes that I have bookmarked from INC Media’s Bible verse Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CX_wNBlJWQe/
Just a side note, there’s a whole playlist of these Verse of the Week episodes. I highly recommend subscribing, so you can tune in weekly. Anyway, going back to this Bible verse, I’ve heard it in many Church Of Christ worship service lessons, and I truly think it’s essential to hold onto.
But let me back up for a second, so you understand where I am coming from.
It was a season of high anxiety in my life. I was having a hard time telling myself to close my eyes and pray to God. Physically pulling myself to sit down and bow my head was hard. When my mind started racing and then spiraling down, it was almost paralyzing. I could not put one foot in front of the other, I could not get myself to sleep. I had to stay awake, I had to cry it out, sometimes even tremble it out through my hands. Eventually, I would reach a point where I couldn’t catch my breath and it wasn’t until about an hour of all this tension that I would finally pray. Then all that would come out in prayer would be, “God, I just don’t know.”
That’s where I went wrong. I would wait to ask God for help.
And that is probably why every bout of anxiety or panic felt harder and harder to deal with.
Three reminders to manage my anxiety
It was in that season of high anxiety that I realized I needed to change my approach and mindset. Instead of waiting until I was at my breaking point to pray for help, I reminded myself of three things, immediately.
And honestly, ever since I started focusing on these three reminders, I have found that those bouts of anxiety and panic occur less often. God helps me take control of those feelings, so that they don’t overtake me.
As simple as these three reminders sound, I believe the impact is life-saving.
I acknowledged that my mind and all that’s entangled in there was probably my biggest weakness. Being self aware meant accepting that I couldn’t keep taking on this burden all on my own – I needed to tell God, and I didn’t need to wait until I was at a breaking point to do so. I could and should reach out to God in these moments.
I adjusted my prayers to focus first on gratitude. I start my prayers now with “Thank You for letting me go through this because it’s a chance that I can go to You.”
I could imagine that this might sound a little odd to some people because… How can I be thankful for a panic attack? How could I be thankful for crying out all of my anxiety? I’ve had these questions in my head before. Thankfully, I also received this biblical reminder from INC Media around the same time.
Here’s the link to the full Instagram post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CXKJEIFvQKQ/
It’s fitting that it’s titled, “For you, when you need the impossible.” That’s exactly what it feels like before remembering that God is on the job.
I took every opportunity to pray to God. I pray throughout my day, and not only whenever I feel anxiety coming along. When good things happen and when bad things happen, my first response is to take a few minutes to thank God for the experience and then to ask for His guidance. Like what Judicel said in her Faith Speaks Global speech about praying to God, “It’s not a theory. It works.”
I know there will always be problems. But whenever anxious feelings start to creep in, I respond immediately with a prayer to God. It’s then that I’m ready to face my struggles because I’m confident that God is on my side.
Having God on your side makes all the difference
Life in general can be difficult (understandably so with the current state of this world), but having God on your side makes life easier to bear. And if this blog wasn’t convincing enough for you, then I invite you to send us a message here, to let one of our ministers of the Gospel connect with you, so that you, too, can have God there, waiting to listen.