Monday, September 21, 2009

Anxiety Relief

I haven’t seen the commercial for years, but the tune was a catchy one. “Plop! Plop! Fizz! Fizz! Oh! What a relief it is!” The solution to the plague of indigestion and whatever may have caused it came in the form of two white tablets that would bubble and bubble and then take your grief away. How I wish that this was true for all ailments of anxiety!

If we had to be honest with ourselves, and why wouldn’t we be, we all struggle with anxiety from time to time, and sometimes, more frequently and intensely than others. The feeling is all too familiar. It may start as an unsettled feeling in the heart, and before long, permeates the whole body causing a sensation of fullness in the gut, throbbing in the head, and jittering of the limbs, or at least some variation of that. Our pulse quickens and our heart beats scatter like the marks of a seismograph right before an earthquake. I hate the feeling, and I suspect that you do, too.

The thing is not so much that we struggle with it, but what do we do with it? Oh, in time, each of us has developed all sorts of solutions to the feeling of anxiety. We want to shed it, get rid of it, escape it – and we’ll do just about anything to do it. We tend to look for extremes in order to try and get the sticky, icky cling-on of anxiety off of us. We’ll overeat, overreact or over-drink. We’ll exercise too much or adapt the position of a couch potato. We’ll shop, drink too much coffee, indulge in massive amounts of chocolate or crawl up under the covers and try to hibernate till warmer, sunnier days. We over talk our anxiety, running to the door (or phone) of anyone who will listen, or we pull our heads in to our shells and camp out there. We may watch too much TV, spend too much time on the Internet, or engage in risk taking behavior.

I believe that God knows what we are prone to do. He knows our make-up and all of its weaknesses, but He gives us a solution. He says that we are to not be anxious and to cast our cares upon Him. He knows that we tend to get relief from our anxieties through lots of things, and let’s face it, we do. We want to cast them on other things, beside Him, and guess what? It does not work, and in truth, it causes more anxiety. The things we are tempted to try add to our anxieties not relieve them. Try as we will, as soon as we turn around they are stuck to us again like a piece of lint that will not go away, on a dry, static-y winter day.

We need to stop and acknowledge the unhealthy things that we tend to do when we are anxious. When we are unable to see and own our weaknesses, then they are more likely to have control over us. Identifying and acknowledging the sneaky bandits is the first step – or is it? No, wait a minute … I’m thinking not, what the Lord would say is to “seek Him.” Don’t put all these other things first. Seek Him and live (Amos 5:4).

Yes, dear reader, as I process through these thoughts on anxiety today, I would say that this is it. Looking for relief from your anxiety? Seek the Creator of the Universe who loves you with a relentless, unfailing love, first. Ask Him to come in and calm your anxious spirit and give you peace. Then, ask Him to reveal to you where you run and try to hide and find your comfort – a false comfort. Ask Him to show you healthy ways for you to relieve your stress, activities and thoughts that will not harm you, nor hurt you but will help you. Ask Him for perspective, His perspective, on what is going on in your life. He is our “Wonderful Counselor” the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) who will be your All in all.

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