By Rob Furlong
2020, with its challenges and difficulties, will not be a year we forget in a hurry!
And it’s not surprising to hear that anxiety has become a major problem for people, especially in the Western world.
I agree with the statement; I think it is the number one issue people struggle with today.
Over the past fourteen years I have had many conversations with people who struggle with this in some form or another.
A couple of months back I wrote in this column about mental health and its impact on relationships. So for the next two months, I want to focus our attention on anxiety – how we can deal with it personally or help someone we love through it.
But first, a word of caution.
What anxious people do not need is to be simply told “not to worry” or that they “should not be worrying.”
To really help people we have to move beyond spouting clichés like these and encourage them into some practical steps that will not only grow them but also enable them to experience God’s peace which is beyond our human mind’s ability to explain or rationalize.
I mention God’s peace deliberately because as you read this, whether you are a believer in God or not, I think this is the best place to start!
I am someone who struggles with anxiety so let’s call what I share with you here, “Lessons from a chronic worrier!”
Pray: this is where we must begin – I cannot emphasize this enough!
“But I’m not a pray-er!” I hear you say.
Or, “I don’t believe in God – why would I bother praying to someone I don’t think exists?”
I have said it before and I will say it again – what have you got to lose?
Bring your worry or care to God and be specific about it. You could pray a brief prayer along these lines, “Lord, I’m struggling with__________ right now. Please help me and give me your peace.”
Two men by the names of Peter and Paul instructed people with similar advice centuries ago when they said “bring all your cares, concerns and worries to God.”
The process is remarkably simple and straightforward:
Take all your worries, stresses, cares and anxieties…
Tell God about them and give them to Him.
Do this with thanksgiving…
And He will give you His peace.
Well known author, Max Lucado has said “it is impossible to pray and worry at the same time.” A helpful application of this which I read recently said that every time you have a worrisome or anxious thought, pray about it. “It doesn’t matter if you have to do it 50 times in one day – it means you have prayed 50 times that day!” I have found this to be encouraging and liberating advice!
Be thankful! Never underestimate the power of cultivating a thankful heart!
One of the greatest contributors to our anxiety is the idea that we do not have enough; that we are missing out in some way by not having the possessions or money we believe will make us happy.
But psychologists will tell you there is a limit to how much happiness money and possessions will provide.
Billionaire J. Paul Getty was once asked by a reporter, “Describe what money can’t buy.”
Getty replied, “I don’t think it can buy health or a good time. Some of the best times I have ever had didn’t cost any money.”
Sadly, many of us still chase the illusion that more possessions means more happiness. However, if you take a closer look at your life you will find much to be thankful for and you will definitely experience less anxiety!
Join me next month as we consider more steps to help us deal with anxiety.
By Rob Furlong