so what do we do with anxiety, fear & dread {living a great story}

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When journaling this morning, I finally addressed the feeling of heaviness that has been gnawing at me.  (Perhaps the real reason for my distraction issues addressed yesterday.)  I went to the dictionary in search of a word to describe it what I was feeling.  Much to my surprise, anxiety fit perfectly.

anx·i·e·ty
noun
http://tinavegaphotography.com/blog/wp-admin/users.phpnoun: anxiety; plural noun: anxieties
a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

I am feeling apprehensive about all of the new faces, settings, and challenges ahead.  About repeatedly stepping out of my comfort zone.   When in a good place, I push fear aside and DO THE THING no matter how I feel.  But this time, I have let things fester.  Distracting myself with activities that make me feel good.  Ignoring feelings instead of addressing them.  Covering up.  Burying.

So here I am today.  And this isn’t the first time.  As an introvert, the very nature of my job challenges me every single day.  Over the years, I have learned to face icky feelings and work through them.  My process is below:

1.  When experiencing icky feelings, it is important to write them out; get them out of me and on paper as best I can.  (A dictionary and thesaurus can be very helpful at this stage.)

2.  Where are the feelings coming from?  Write down everything that comes to mind.  [In addition to feeling apprehensive about my summer workload, I also realized I am feeling the pressure of future financial hurdles – college expenses, needing to purchase another vehicle, marching band payments, etc.]

3.  Go to scripture.  I know I might lose half of you by saying that but honestly, it is the only antidote I have found that doesn’t require a prescription.  Here’s where I landed this morning:

Don’t be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV)

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

Timidity by the way means lacking in self-assurance, courage, or bravery; characterized by or indicating fear.  God gave me a spirit of power, love and self-discipline – NOT FEAR.  [I’m pasting this one to my forehead.]

4.  Come at it from a new perspective, one that includes a heart of gratitude.  For example, I know that God will give me what I need to step out of my comfort zone, He always does.  These are God-given opportunities!  I love people and learning more about them.  I really do like to be challenged, that’s how I best learn and grow.  Exploring new locations is one of my favorite things to do in my downtime, why wouldn’t be the same when working with clients?  I lean on God for direction with every single session and He has never failed me.  As far as the financial burdens go, I can only take things one step at a time.  God gives me only what I need for today, so do my best right now.

5.  Pray.  Ask God to help me in my weakness, to give me direction for the next step.  Give the burden I’m carrying to Him.

6.  Do the thing.  Even when scared.  ESPECIALLY when scared!!!  Because I know from experience there is no other way to keep anxiety in check – fear only grows when you cater to it.

I will come back to the feelings again in my journal, intentionally focusing on moments I am looking forward to experiencing.  When heaviness returns and threatens to steal my peace, I will write the verses out again (and again) or even read them aloud.

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For those of you taking part in the 30ish-day challenge, today’s journaling assignment might make you want to run and hide.  But to live a great story, we need to address the tough stuff that can hinder or derail us.  Just do your best!

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