Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Got Anxiety?

We are bombarded on every side with things that are vying for our thought space.  Whether it be the media, politics, science and the virus, or people with agenda’s of their own, everyone wants our thought time.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the more I think about this stuff the more anxious I become.   I feel like I have a train on a track in my head that keeps going around in circles and never stops.

For the first time in reading some of my favorite verses from Philippians  4, I discovered something pretty cool today.  I’m sure I’m not the first to see it or even to talk about it, but check this out:

It’s a formula for what to do with anxious thoughts.

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.

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.  

So, first you stop the anxiety through prayer and presenting requests to God — that brings about peace that guards our hearts and minds.  But there is a next step that stops the anxiety from returning — and that is what we focus on.    For the next several days, we will be looking at the final verse above and focusing on each of the things we are supposed to be thinking about.

So there’s the formula.   Anxious?  Pray.   Accept and receive God’s gift of peace.  Allow God to guard your heart and mind.  And then discipline yourself to think only on the things in the verse above.   That’s my plan next time I’m awake at 3:30 with those thoughts running around in my head!

This is one of my mom’s favorite songs.  She is turning 92 this year — survived COVID last year  and lives at a facility that has lost over 150 of their 267 residents to COVID.  I still get emails every few days stating the number of new cases for residents and staff (a mandate in Minnesota).  But my mom is definitely the strongest person I know.  But like me, she awakens in the middle of the night with anxious thoughts.   Often when this happens she will start to sing and this is one of the songs she sings.

When they rearranged nursing home bedrooms after the many deaths, they moved my mom as close to the nurses station as possible… not because she needed them but they needed her positivity and strength.  

It brings tears to my eyes when I imagine those nurses in the middle of the night, exhausted, short staffed, and stressed, walking by my mom’s room and hearing these words in my mom’s strong voice:

I will cast all my cares upon you…. Will lay all of my burdens down at your feet, and any time I don’t know, what to do, I will cast all my cares upon you.

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