What To Do When Fear Strikes

 

Have you ever been suddenly flooded with fear? I have many times. Today, in fact. Do you get a sense of overwhelming dread or panic? That is the typical response for many.  It can cause you to think of nothing else. Drive your day into a ditch. So what do we do when fear strikes?

I find myself so wrapped up in the fear, like a blanket, that I actually need someway to remove it. To throw it off. At times, doing research, or writing lists in reference to what is causing me fear or anxiety can help. Or working out a written plan for handling the situation. Sometimes this can work.

But there are often circumstances where we can’t work it out ourselves. No amount of figuring or working will help this situation.  It is then, when we must realize WE are not in control of…well, much of anything. As hard as we may try or as much as we may think.

Though my rational self realizes this, when I am in a state of panic or fear, my irrational self doesn’t get it.  I have to force myself to take a breath. My mind can get my body in such a tense state that I forget to breathe.  I need to remind myself that God will work it out. Even if it doesn’t go the way I hoped, HE is there right beside me to help me get through it.

When fear strikes. Take a time out. Take a few long deep breathes. Figure out if this IS something you can deal with and make okay, or if it is completely out of your control.  If it’s the first, then perhaps the writing down, list making, researching thing is a good option. If it’s the latter, you need to LET IT GO. Really. Give it over to God. Make a declaration out loud that you know, this is beyond your abilities and that you willingly hand over your troubles to Him as He has instructed us to do.

Matthew 11: 28-30.  28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

When fear strikes and lays itself upon you like a heavy blanket, take a deep breath and stretch out your arms and toss it off of you.  Jesus will take it from there.

Too Much Drama. Is It Okay to Share?

woman hiding face in hands

Too Much Drama

You know the seasons of life when it seems like everything goes wrong and just when you think you are going to catch a break, the bottom falls out? Yeah. Me too.  I have tried to be a person who shies away from drama.  I would hear some people constantly complaining about all these awful things that keep happening to them, one after another. And I would think, “C’mon. There is no way all this is happening to you at once. And if it is, you must be doing something to bring it on. Just a drama lover.”

Well, I have since rethought those sentiments. When multiple things fell upon me and/or my family. All stress inducing things. The difference in me and “those other people,” is that I try not to talk about all of it much.  I guess that made me feel superior in some way. But my realization now is maybe that isn’t the right approach.  I mean, I am somewhat a private person and don’t like to share too many details of my “drama”. I often feel that others don’t really care about it or just don’t want to hear it.  But that might be an inaccurate perception on my part.

Is it Okay to Share?

The people I do confide in love me and care for me and sometimes just venting to them is a huge help. But somehow I feel like I am burdening others. What about you, do you ever feel like that?  I know there is one person who I can talk to and won’t judge or act indifferent to my problems. I talk to Him usually alone and in the quiet.  Even so, it is usually very cathartic in sharing our burdens with others.  Just for a listening ear.

What I have learned through this messy, difficult time is that we will ALL go through different seasons in our life. Some will be joyous, others heartbreaking. Some amazing, others horrible. We needn’t be afraid to share our hard times with others.  Find someone you trust to talk to. Just the simple act of sharing, can lighten our load. Yeah, it is okay to share.

Confessions and Letting Go

Confessions:

The past couple of months have been hard ones for me. There has been a lot going on. From a severely sick parent, whom my husband and I are primary caregivers for, to one child who is transitioning from an old life to a new one including a move. To personal anxiety issues and a health issue that is exacerbated by stress, to financial concerns, family drama and a spouse who is stressed as well. Let’s not forget a demanding 9-5 job?  Does this life sound familiar to anyone? While the issues may not be the same, I am sure the stress levels are for many of you.

It has been hard for me to balance all that needs to be done while keeping anxiety levels at a minimum.  I admit I have been struggling to do it all and keep my peace.  I have also neglected this blog.  But I am sure most of you can understand.  So what are we to do when life just gets SO overwhelming?  Sometimes when I am feeling the load, I try to think at least….. At least THAT isn’t happening, or THIS isn’t happening.  I think of things worse than what I am presently going through.  I try to be grateful that least  that OTHER thing isn’t going on.  I guess it’s good to be grateful in that way, but does it help us?

At the very least it helps us draw a connection to God. It gives us a lifeline to reconnect to Him if we have been distant.  I tell God that I am thankful that AT LEAST.  I then will try to draw closer to Him but I noticed my prayers had all but stopped during this time of high stress. And the few times I did pray something specific, the very thing I didn’t want to happen, happened anyway.  So honestly, I kind of stopped praying altogether. I think it also felt like it was just one more thing to do on my long list.  But in reality, it should be the very FIRST thing we do, not just in times of stress but everyday.  Keeping our connection to God should always be priority.

Letting Go:

I know from past experiences that things are always best when I let God in. When I let Him take control. But I have a hard time letting go. anyone else? I may say, “I am giving this over to God.”  But then I always pick it back up again.  There are some things in life that we don’t have to hover over or worry about because it isn’t going to change the situation.  By us replaying things over and over or thinking of the “what-ifs” it doesn’t make anything better. In fact it just makes us worse. Stress, anxiety and depression are able to sneak right in.

So what does letting go mean?  I think it means seeing the situation for what it is, do what we can (reasonably) do to improve the situation but then realize that the rest is literally up to God. We have no control over the uncontrollable.

Practicing the art of letting go is hard. Especially for those of us who like to be in control.  But isn’t being in control exhausting?  It is for me.  I want to delegate more things to others to handle and I have to be okay with whatever the outcome is.  At home, for example I may leave the kitchen cleaning up to my teenager to do.  While his version of clean and mine are not exactly the same, it is good enough.  And I have to be okay with it.  Deciding to delegate frees me up to do other things as long as I am not planning on judging the result of the thing I delegated.

What about God? When we truly let go of something and give it to Him, do we hover over it and tell God what He needs to do to fix the problem or do we just let Him handle it and go on our merry way?  While we may be tempted to hover over the teenager with a cleaning task, we definitely DON’T need to interfere with God. He is the master of the universe. Our Heavenly Father, the One who loves us like no other. We can trust Him. No matter what.

While we may not always understand what He allows into our lives, we must know that He sees the bigger picture and that He loves us with an infinite love.  So be free to LET GO and LET GOD!

What is weighing you down? Can you practice the art of letting go and let Him take care of it?