Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Confessions of a Nervous Nelly

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds."—Philippians 4:6–7 (NASB)

Confessions of a Nervous Nelly

If I possessed a magic lamp, what would I wish for?

More money? A reliable car? A good night's sleep? A good relationship with the X? A college fund to educate my sons?

Most single parents go to sleep in a state of worry and wake every morning feeling anxious. That knot of tension in my stomach never, ever really dissolves. I worry about getting to work on time, my car breaking down, enough money to pay bills, not to mention my concerns about my sons. Someone suggested that I do not trust God enough.

Perhaps that is so.

Every time I face a new challenge, like Nervous Nelly, I react like a skittish horse. My emotions—

spook easily

sense fright and flight

take off in the wrong direction

jump sideways rather than confronting my fears.

Winning the Battle Over Worry

So how do I overcome worry? I have not reined in anxiety entirely. Nevertheless, when my emotions race out of control, here are some tips I practice to defuse panic.

  1. Tell God. I tell him my troubles. I confess, "I'm scared. I'm so worried about…" and then I go into my litany of woes.
  2. Ask for Help. I get specific. I ask God for money, for resources, for time, for help.
  3. Express Thanks. I express gratitude to God for who He is: my husband, provider, healer, protector. And I say "Thank you. I know you feed the birds and dress the flowers in designer one-of-a-kind duds."
  4. Verbalize My Blessings. Okay, my sons and I have never gone hungry. We have a roof over our heads and clothes to wear. I recognize that God has not let me down. His track record? Reliable. He always provides for our needs, even though I'm impatient and tend to second-guess his timing.
  5. Focus on God's Promises. "You are my child and I hear your cries. Don't be afraid. Trust me. I am with you. Do not anxiously look about. Focus on my ability to provide. I will support and assist you with my power and strength" (Isaiah 41:10).
  6. Guard My Heart. I make efforts to rise above my worries and guard my thoughts and feelings from diving head first into the downward worry spiral.

The Magic Lamp

If I were offered a magic lamp in exchange for God, would I take it?

It would be tempting. Every day people choose to trust themselves more than God.

Could I trust myself with the magic lamp to wish away my troubles and attain my desires and wants?

Probably not.

In my desperation, I'd choose wealth, comfort, and security, numbing me to the needs of others, instead of risking the adventure to trust God to provide.

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