control, anxiety, trust, prayer

The need to control our lives is consuming and results in feeling anxious. Once we recognize the source of the anxiety, we can eliminate it.



On my quest to run a marathon in all fifty states, I found myself in Delaware. Up until a few years ago I honestly had no idea where Delaware actually was, or how small it actually is. Even on my way to the country’s First State, I did not know I would be crossing the Chesapeake Bay. HOLY MOLY!!! That was the most stressful bridge crossing I have ever done.

Something you may not know about me. I have, just a few, irrational fears. These include cockroaches, anything that stings, escalators (although this one has improved), and long narrow bridges. Fly-over bridges on the interstate make my head spin and bridges over water make me light-headed. All I can think about is how little there is to protect me from flying off the bridge (remember I said “irrational”), and wonder what they do if there is an accident. I mean, seriously, there is no shoulder. How would help get to me if that person riding my rear pushes me into the side!

Ok, take a deep breath…

Taking a deep breath is what I do when I recognize I’m being consumed by anxiety. When I’m anxious, I barely breath (hence the light-headedness). I become a little ball of intense energy. Taking deep breaths while I’m running is preferable, that is the best way to process my nervous energy. But there are things bigger than crossing bridges in my life that bring anxiety.

I can feel anxious about my marriage, my children, my dreams.

This is because I have no control. And neither do you.

The need to control our lives is consuming and results in feeling anxious. Once we recognize the source of the anxiety, we can eliminate it.

Control: The Source

Recently, I was listening to a sermon from NorthPoint Church in Atlanta. The speaker made the comment that the opposite of anxiety was humility. This left me furrow-ing my brow, but he quickly explained. We feel anxious when we are trying to control things in our lives that we actually have no control over. We are prideful to fret like we do. We pretend to have control. We pretend to be God.

Acting like I’m God is pretty arrogant.

As much as I hate to admit it, I cannot control my spouse, my children, or my dreams. I can, however, control my response to circumstances. It is fully in my control to hit my knees in prayer when life is crumbling around me. It is in my control to submit to the Lord’s goodness and trust Him.

The Lord says: Let not the wise man bask in his wisdom, nor the mighty man in his might, nor the rich man in his riches. Let them boast in this alone: That they truly know me, and understand that I am the Lord of justice and of righteousness whose love is steadfast; and that I love to be this way.

Jeremiah 9:23-24, TLB

Control: The Solution

This does not mean that we sit idly by. It means we pray. And pray. And then pray some more. It means we focus on the task in front of us. Crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was stressful. So, I turned off the podcast I was listening to, had both hands on the wheel, and kept my eyes on the car in front of me. It was tempting to look to the side; I wanted to take in the sights around me. I knew, however, that in doing so I would begin to feel the panic set in. Focus was necessary.

I am still reading through Draw the Circle, by Mark Batterson. Repeatedly, he makes the comment, “Work like it depends on you. Pray like it depends on God.” Therefore, I communicate and encourage my spouse, praying for the specific struggle we are in at the moment. I train and nurture my children, praying that they will have a deep faith and relationship with Jesus. I work diligently and well on my dream, praying for God to grow it as He sees best.

Then I breathe, knowing that I love a God who loves me fiercely. Because I know this, I know I can trust Him. I can trust Him with all those important things in my life, as well as the seemingly insignificant things!

…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Philippians 4:6, ESV

 

The need to control our lives is consuming and results in feeling anxious. Once we recognize the source of the anxiety, we can eliminate it.

 

Final Thought

Please know, I am aware that these are minor situational anxieties. I by no means want to minimize the struggle of people who deal with anxiety disorders. Please, do not hesitate to seek help from professionals. I think there are times that our anxieties are a result of faith issues, but it would be foolish to give someone with a disorder a prescription of “just pray about it” or “you need to trust God more.” Medication can be extremely beneficial, as is professional counseling (speaking from experience). Take care of yourself, dear lady! 

 


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The need to control our lives is consuming and results in feeling anxious. Once we recognize the source of the anxiety, we can eliminate it.

 

 

Owen CL

About the author
Rachael
Rachael Smith motivates women to break free from the lies they have believed and live a life of freedom, teaching that God's truth allows us to be who we are created to be. She has a passion for women, and a willingness to walk through the hard stuff with them.

This calling on her life led her to begin, and grow a nonprofit that works with young women who have aged out of foster care. Rachael believes we all have the ability to redeem the past and change the future.

Comments (23)

  1. This is such a beautiful post! When I really think of my anxiety, it is often due to me trying to control those things which I really should not be trying to control. I need to really “Let go and let God” be in control. Thank you for the wonderful reminder.

    1. Oh, sweet lady! It is such a constant challenge. I am hopeful for the day that I am fully reliant on Him!

  2. Thanks for this post Rachel. I deal with anxiety and also phobias of heights such as you mentioned. It’s a daily struggle but the Lord is good. I’ve been down the detours of not enough faith and guilt-those are dead ends. Exercise, breathing, diet, chiropractor and supplements have helped some. God is granting me a very slow process of healing which I’m thankful for. Looking to Jesus is the only survival method.

    1. I love your visual of going down a dead end. You are exactly right, you feel like you are being proactive, just to find yourself having to back up and start over. I’m thankful you are experiencing healing!

    1. Right?!?!? It was so convicting. In fact I tried to deny at first. But the truth was just too obvious.

  3. I so appreciate your wisdom here — your words are challenging and convicting! But I just as much appreciate your caveat at the end that more intense anxiety may call for medical treatment, and that’s okay! God heals us in all sorts of ways through all sorts of mechanisms.

    1. It is absolutely ok!! There is a big difference between a lack of faith and an actual disorder. It’s unfortunate that the same word describes both, as it can be misleading. I also think making healthy lifestyle choices helps our mental health as well. But this is a different topic for a different day!

  4. I know it’s not your main point but what a cool goal – running a marathon in all 50 states!

    Humbling ourselves to God and letting Him be God is a daily challenge. I believe we all struggle with some form of control. It may not all lead to anxiety but no matter what it is, if we humble ourselves, He will walk us through it.

  5. I’m so glad to see believers writing about the issue of anxiety! It’s an issue we need more conversation about so we can learn from one another. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Anxiety can be a really good warning sign that our focus and priorities have lost balance and become askew. This is true of small situational anxiety but also of more significant anxiety as well.

  7. Very inspirational! I struggle with anxiety as well and this helped me tremendously. I also appreciate that you suggest people get help if they have anxiety. People should never feel ashamed asking for help. 🙂

  8. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I thought this was a great post. The lack of control is something I definitely struggle with as well! My irrational fear is planes. Not even just flying, but having them fly low over me, being around them, anything. Ugh!

  9. This is such a great post and I love everything you said! God has been the single biggest source of comfort for me in the 5 years I’ve had anxiety. As soon as I started letting Him into my life, my anxiety slowly started improving. I still have my moments, but it’s getting better. Also, seeking help when you need it is important. <3

  10. Very insightful. I love that you talk about it is our desire to be in control that leads to us been anxious. If we leave all outcomes to God it makes it easier to relax. As you quoted work like it depends on you but Pray like it depends on God.

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