Winning over Worry and Anxiety, Part II
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."1
An overload of worry and anxiety, like an overload of stress, is a killer. We all know that. More importantly, what we also need to know is how to win over such.
It begins with being able to see and admit our real fears, which are a basic cause behind many worries and anxieties. By facing and resolving these, and by learning to trust our life and circumstances to God, and giving our worries to Him—and leaving them with God. The following are other major causes of anxiety with helpful tips for winning over them.
First: If anxiety is situational—that is, caused by adverse circumstances or too much work, or not enough work—I find it helps to list all my pressures on paper. This is half the battle. I then eliminate the least important matters, work on the things I can do something about, and begin to learn to accept the things I cannot change and stop worrying about them.
Second: If the problem is caused by pent-up feelings, such as resentment, hurt, or anger, those feelings need to be expressed in healthy ways and resolved, otherwise they may cause ongoing worry and anxiety—or they may make you sick. If you're nursing a grudge, if possible put things right with the person you feel hurt you, and regardless, you need to forgive him/her.2
Some hurt or angry feelings can be talked out with a trusted friend or counselor. Or go for a drive in your car, park in a safe place where you can be alone, lock the doors, and with the windows closed, the radio turned up loud, talk to the person who hurt you as if they were in the car with you. Express freely your true feelings toward them, and do this as many times as necessary until all the pent up feelings are dissipated. Or if it helps, go to the bedroom and cry your hurt and/or grief feelings out, or write them out as David often did in the Psalms.
One night when I was worried and couldn't sleep, I got up and typed a letter to God sharing all my feelings with Him. Within a half-hour I had released my pent-up feelings. I then read them back to God, tore up the page, went back to bed, and fell asleep immediately.
Third: Good, hard physical exercise is also helpful when you're feeling worried or anxious. It helps burn up excess adrenalin.
Fourth: If your worry is caused by unmet emotional or spiritual needs, you can remedy this by growing in your relationship to God and others—both of which are keys to vital, worry-free living. A spiritual-growth group or a good twelve-step recovery group can be a big help for worriers. As you open up your true self to others and to God and feel their love and acceptance, you can slowly exchange feelings of fear, guilt, anger, inadequacy, anxiety, and worry for feelings of hope, confidence, peace, and love.
"Perfect love drives out fear,"3 wrote the Apostle John in the Bible. So we need to ask God not only to help us overcome our fears, but also to fill us with love. The more we love and trust God and others, the less we fear man and circumstances.
To be concluded in tomorrow's Daily Encounter, Part III.
Suggested prayer, "Dear God, please help me to face and resolve the causes behind all my worries, cares, and anxieties. And 'give me the courage to change the things I can change, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.' Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 1 John 4:18 (NIV).
2. See Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV).
3. 1 John 4:18 (NIV).