Where the anxiety starts

“Be anxious for nothing.  In everything, by prayer and petition, with thankgsgiving, present your requests to God . . .”

At a different stage of life, I would have heard this verse differently.  Today, I hear a whisper from God Himself.  Telling me to remember that He is in control, and is waiting for me to catch up.

I have been fighting a building anxiety for the past several months.  Over something so small, so silly, I’m almost embarrassed to admit it.  It’s all about my kids getting sick.  Not just sick.  Flu-stomach-vomiting-sick.  Every single time someone says “I don’t feel well,” or “My tummy hurts,” I have begun the next episode of anxiety. 

It starts with me thinking about whether they could really be sick.  Then I move onto when they’ll get sick.  From there, my thoughts take a steady progression all the way to how long we’ll all be going through this and what order the kids will get it in.  This can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours before it’s all I can think about.  And not just wondering about it.  I obsess.

I know better.  The logical side of me understands that kids simply feel icky sometimes because they ate too much, or they got too hot.  Whatever.  I’m a very logical person as far as all that goes.  It’s funny how your mind can think without your permission, though.

So, now I find myself turning to God with a plea for help each time these thoughts come.  And, I am surprised how often each day I have to do this; how often these thoughts come unbidden in the midst of our daily chaos.  It started with me begging Him to remove the thoughts entirely.  Hoping that I would be completely released from the tightening of my chest, the short breaths, and fearful waiting.  I know God’s ways are not mine.  I forgot the second part of this verse though–“by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 

How do you thank Him for a challenge that seems so overwhelming?  I thank Him for His presence; for His call to me through the anxiety.  He uses the unexpected to get our attention.  So, while I was busy volunteering for yet another PTO event, and taking kids to the orthodontist, while I took control of our daily life, He quietly allowed anxiety to control me in a way I didn’t see coming. 

And my need for Him shouts itself through my soul each and every time I turn to Him.  My quieting of heart comes with the reminder to be thankful for what He has given, and petitioning Him for peace when my thoughts spiral out of control.

Philippians 4:6 is a powerful verse for me these days, and it is followed by an important promise:  Phil. 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  He’s waiting for me every time.  The battle isn’t even close to over. 

I don’t know how long I’ll work with and through my anxiety issues.  I do know that Im’ turning to God more than I have in a long time, though.