You probably know that chronic nail biting and stressing-out over loss of control are signs of anxiety, but did you know that resistance to logic…breath-holding… sensitivity to little sounds…and being quick to say “no” can also be connected to anxiety? In fact, there are too many traits of anxiety to include in one blog article.
The same is true with solutions. With so much anxiety in the world today, of course there’s help out there to manage it. Yet, as you have possibly discovered, there are commonly suggested solutions for anxiety that simply do not work for every person.
If there are that many tools out there, and only some of them work, how do you discover the right ones for you or a loved one?
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for an expansive list of anxiety symptoms, along with an equally expansive list of frequently employed solutions. And if you like, this can be a great time for a conversation or meeting to customize a plan for you, and receive accountability and support. “…be able to comfort those who are in any affliction…” (2 Cor. 1:4)
Give yourself time to use “trial and error” as you address and respond to anxiety that is personal to you. There is not a perfect formula, but there is much hope. “Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)
Engage with the Lord specifically about your unique experience with anxiety so that He can explain each indication of anxiety to you, and bring to mind the best solution for you at that time. “Whoever listens to me will dwell secure and be at ease; without dread of disaster.” (Prov. 1:33)
A number of readers commented that the recent article on mental toughness was personally applicable (click here if you missed it). So today’s article serves as a follow-up with a few more practical ideas. Considering the common symptoms of 1) loss of intrinsic motivation, 2) slipping into bad habits, and 3) increased feelings over values, many of you know what it feels like to experience the world’s weakening effects on the Christian’s productivity.
Now that you’ve confessed to…
- overly relying upon extrinsic motivation
- succumbing to pride and laziness
- nursing your emotions more than focusing on God’s Kingdom
…you can repent and recover your mental toughness by making some new decisions in your life.
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
Prepare for your personal temptation. Let one of the first thoughts of your day be something like this: “Today, I will be tempted to______________, but I don’t have to give in to it. Yes, that temptation is real and hard to resist, but as a Christian, it has no authority over me.” Then repeat this to yourself every time you’re confronted with the temptation. (Romans 6)
Compare your two directions. In your actions and in your thoughts, you have well-worn paths, and you have overgrown walkways. For the well-worn paths, it’s become easier to think negative thoughts and take lazier actions because you’ve done it more often. For some habits, erect a barricade where you’ve been going too frequently lately, and perhaps ban yourself from going there once and for all. For the overgrown walkways – those better habits and more Biblical thoughts – bushwhack your way along to create new habits, and expect it to be difficult. In fact, this is too hard to do on your own. You simply can’t and won’t do this in your own strength. (John 15:5)
Surrender. Let yourself experience the secret that will make you stronger, more fulfilled, and more joyful than anything else you’ve ever tried. No matter how you’re feeling, whatever He wants you to do, do it. No matter how you’re feeling, whatever He doesn’t want you to do, don’t do it. It’s not easy; but it’s that simple. He is waiting for you to ask His help to be fully obedient. And then He is waiting to show you how blessed and mentally tough this will make you. (Daniel 1:8)
Being meek, humble, and even weak is Biblical and good. However, as feeling stressed and overwhelmed become more common in this modern age, some of you may have noticed that your resolve has become diluted. In other words, you may not be feeling as mentally tough as you used to be.
- Do you find yourself relying more and more on the encouragement of others instead of being intrinsically motivated?
- Have some of your good habits of self-discipline gotten sloppy lately?
- Would it be fair to say that you’ve gotten caught up being more focused on how you feel than on what really matters?
The story of Samson offers a great example of the crumbling of determination that can happen if you aren’t on guard. Samson was well aware of the gift of physical strength the Lord had given him. Yet, he wasn’t doing anything to protect his internal focus and he lost almost all of his abilities as a result. But there’s a twist to his story. When he repented, the Lord restored strength to him to the degree that he was able to kill more Philistines in his death than in his life (Judges 15-16).
So, how can repentance help you restore some fight?
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
You can repent that you asked others to speak to your spirit more often than inviting the Holy spirit to direct you. Psalm 112 establishes what to do in order to be unshakeable and to find God’s promises for you.
You can repent that you fell into pride, laziness, and self-soothing in place of laying down your life to build His Kingdom. 1 Corinthians 9:27 reiterates the importance of renewing good habits in your life.
You can repent that you pacified and grew self-serving emotions instead of asking God to shape your heart and feelings. 2 Timothy 1:7 and 2 Timothy 2:3-13 will help you sort out feelings from priorities.
“The people I love – I prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!” (Rev. 3:19, Msg.)
It’s famously used in times of fear, and often recited in order to comfort, but interacting deeply with Psalm 91 can bring about other benefits as well. This fresh approach can be especially useful for reducing anxiety…and provides a terrific opportunity to interact with Scripture in a growth-producing manner.
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
Instead of reading straight through Psalm 91…
*Search for all of God’s promises in it
*Using specialty Bible highlighters, use one color to highlight the verses spoken in first person (v. 1-2); another color for the verses spoken to another party (v. 3-13), and a third color for the verses spoken by God (v. 14-16)
*Rewrite verses 3-13 replacing “you” and “your” with “I” “me” or “my”
*Find out how you’re called to prepare for the Lord to soothe you in times of angst (v. 1, 2, 9, 14, 15)
*Explore Philippians 4 alongside Psalm 91:2, maybe even writing out Psalm 91:2 as a heading for Philippians 4 in your Bible or journal
*Find all the Names and attributes of God located in this one Psalm
*Illustrate all the rich imagery in Psalm 91
*Read 3-4 different Bible translations and consider memorizing your favorite one. Or merge several translations together to make your own amplified version
*Make a list of all the reasons Psalm 91 gives you to thank and praise God
*Every day turn Psalm 91 into a prayer for someone different and see how many days you end up praying it
*Document the ways your life is changed by engaging actively with this Scripture
Great peace have those who love your law! (Psalm 119:165)
Why do kids and teens lie to their parents? Why do some people fib so incessantly that it’s a habitual automatic response?
Some explanations include:
- To avoid getting into trouble, not wanting to make someone mad
- Fearing the potential reaction to the truth, experiencing shame
- Driven by what others will think if the truth is told, wanting to save face
- A desire to be liked, popular, entertaining, or funny
- Deep insecurity
- To boost one’s feeling of worthiness, to fit in
- A problem with self-centeredness, wanting one’s way, not wanting to do what is hard
- A need to control or manipulate a situation
- When it’s become so normal that telling the truth is awkward and uncomfortable, while lying feels right (often developed in childhood when lying felt necessary)
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
Don’t be so shocked when someone gives less than the truth. Remember that the heart is deceitful (Jer. 17:9) and everyone struggles with sin. (Rom. 3:23)
Read Proverbs 30:8a. Start with yourself. How can you grow in your own love for truth, and what lies do you need the Lord to keep away from coming out of your mouth?
Study Ephesians 4:22-25. Perhaps those who lie to you have not yet understood the truth that is in Jesus, and have not yet put on a new self. They may not grasp what it means to be a member of His body, called to speak the truth with one another.
Look at these 4 key verses to understand the spiritual impact. When others decide to bear false witness (lie) (Ex. 20:16) they become like a sharp arrow (Prov. 25:18), and they miss out on the opportunity to bear true witness of Him (give evidence of Him) (Jn. 7:18). Show compassion for those who lie. Turn any judgmental disappointment into tender requests of the Lord to guide you in ways to gently restore them to truth and to empower them to be humble witnesses to the truth, which is for their own good (Jn. 7:18; Gal. 6:1).
If you want to help someone feel safe to tell you the truth, invite him to suggest the ways you can respond that will help him resist the temptation to lie. For example, before he tells the truth, he might ask you not to laugh, get mad, or yell.
If you want to help someone feel confident enough to tell the truth, help her believe that God accepts her just the way she is, and He desires her to be humbly transparent, not perfect. Explain to her that putting on a false mask gives others an opaque view of who she is and puts an unnecessary burden on herself to try to please those who may never accept her.
If you are struggling to trust someone who continually lies to you, remember that there is One who is perfectly trustworthy. He can heal you from the hurts the lies have caused, pour onto you His unending grace, and give you wisdom to know how to foster truthful conversations. The Lord can help you see where He is at work in the lying person’s life, show you how to pray for the relationship, enable you to trust again, and make you more like Christ in the process.
You know the feeling. In fact, just thinking about dread probably makes you feel a sense of it. Sometimes it’s mild, in the form of reluctance. Other times, you experience extreme apprehension. Given that the modern day world is already a stimulus for anxiety, it’s important to understand the implication and impact of feeling dread.
Spiritual Significance of Dread
*Throughout the Bible, dread is used to describe the only appropriate response to the thought of not having God in your life. Ultimately, there is nothing worse to be dreaded. (Deut. 2:25; 11:25; Ps. 64:1; 119:39; Is. 8:13)
*If you know you have the Lord on your side, then nothing is worth dreading. Nothing could be so bad as to outweigh the goodness of being in Christ. (Duet. 1:29-30; 7:21; 31:6; Prov. 1:33; Phil. 3:8)
Consequences of Dread
*Dread creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. (Job 3:25-26; Prov. 10:24)
*Dread makes you a more fearful person. (Job. 9:34; 13:21)
*Dread causes physical reactions such as lack of calmness, feeling weighed down, all-consuming thoughts, a heavy atmosphere, unhealthy stress, tense muscles, and strain on your heart. (Job. 4:14; 13:11; 23:15; Ps. 105:38)
*Dread prevents you from obeying the commands to be thankful or think of how to love others. (Eph. 5:20; Phil. 2:3-4)
*Dread leads you on a path that is directed away from the Lord. (Prov. 3:6)
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
When you focus on your negative past experience, of course you’re going to predict a pessimistic future. Instead, you need to build a history of God giving you strength to endure challenges, so that you will have confidence for what lies ahead. The more history with Him, the less fear and dread, and the more hope. You can’t expect to have a pattern of faith if you only give Him a few tries. You must stubbornly commit to only look for what He is doing in your life, even during bad times. Increasing your memories with the Lord decreases your tendency to feel dread, healing you from this fear-based condition.