Derailed

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Every month a member of our staff presents a verse for all of us to mediate on.  Philippians 4:6-7 is the verse this month.  It seems rather appropriate.  It’s amazing to me the number of people who experience acute anxiety and depression this time of year.  To be honest, this year I count myself among them.

Anxiety is a funny thing. One minute, you can be moving along at a steady pace, happy with how things are going. The next minute something knocks you off track, derails you.

Maybe something innocent triggers an old bad memory. Maybe something unexpected negatively effects you. Either way, you’ve been there, you know what comes next. You start taking shorter breaths to brace yourself. That causes a tightness in your chest….or maybe the tightness causes the shorter breaths…it’s hard to tell. Your mind starts racing a mile a minute. What about this possibility? What if this had happened? How could I overcome that? The world was perfect a second ago, but now down seems like up and right like left.

Before you know it you are retreating. Finding ways to isolate yourself from the things or people you think are causing you pain.

Then you’re alone, depressed…stuck.

Take a lesson from these verses in Philippians, Paul presents a good outline for dealing with anxiety:  prayer, petition, thanksgiving.

Through prayer and meditation we are able to grasp the whole of the situation that is causing our anxiety.  When we examine anxiety honestly, and ask for God’s wisdom in doing that, we see the realities of the situation, and realize it is not as unbearable as we thought.  Anxiety looses it’s teeth.

Through petition we can ask God for help, but his help does not just come by the support he offers, it also comes through the people he puts around us.  Who do you have in your life who you can petition for love, support and help.  God put them there, ask God for help, ask him for others who can help.  Through petition we find we are not alone.

Through thanksgiving we see all the good things we have in our life.  It is amazing to me the mental shift that happens when we focus on what we do have, rather than what we do not, or what we fear losing.  Through thanksgiving we find the good outweighs the bad.

If you are struggling with anxiety this season, try putting these three simple (yet hard) strategies into practice.  You might just find that peace from God which transcends all understanding is right there just waiting for you to partake.

Just my $.02

Shameless plug alert:  I’m starting a therapy group for young adults!  One of the main focuses will be dealing with the anxiety that often comes from launching out on your own for the first time.  If you are interested in joining, or know someone who might be feel free to contact Vital Sources.  Our info is in the sidebar.