Anxiety is an emotion that God has given us the capacity to have. And yet, it like other emotions can have a tendency to want to take control of you.
Anxiety is a natural response to those things in life that we consider of great value. I went through this natural anxiety because of something I value this last week. It was the first week of teaching preschool. For the last three years, I have not slept well in that first week of school. In my first two years, it was more associated with fear of what the parents and kids would think of me. It brought up my own tendency to fear rejection that is in my temperament. But in this last two years, I have also built up confidence. I have the thank you cards and gifts, the kind words of affirmation that parents give and most especially the hugs from the kids. All of these tell me that I am accepted by them, not rejected.
So, in the first week of school this year, I had the sleep issues but God showed me how I wasn’t fearing rejection as I had in the past but rather that I have ascribed high value to what I do with the kids. I want to be the best teacher and do all that God wants me to do to lay a solid foundation of faith in them along with understanding emotions, making friends and learning to love learning and accept your mistakes as a path in that learning.
This value-based anxiety is simply God reminding me to trust him with all the details and how it all comes together. No matter what you plan for preschool, you have to be flexible and allow learning to occur without the need to stick strictly to your plan. It’s always about God’s plan. God’s revelation on this helped me to let it go and give it all to him. The next night I slept and had a great day with the kids.
Anxiety that Controls You
Now, if I continued to focus on this worry over what I have planned and how it will go with the kids and what the parents will think, than I am giving control to the anxiety. In essence you are feeding your own worry and it becomes a bigger and bigger worry monster. Anxiety can rule our hearts when the worries of life are all we are thinking about.
If anxiety is steering your ship, you can take back the ship’s wheel and let the Holy Spirit take command of the ship. It is a matter of choosing to use the mind God has given us. It’s also choosing to use the capacity to change and grow that God has given us and ask the Lord for the strength and guidance needed to take control of our worries. It begins with repentance for letting worries rule us and focusing on all the blessings God gives us each day. It’s putting our focus back on the one who gives us courage and peace.
Anxiety that you control with the Holy Spirit’s help will lead you to building up that history and confidence. Anxiety that controls you will lead you to depression and hopelessness. If you need help in getting anxiety back under the control of the Holy Spirit within you, please talk to a pastor, trusted friend or counselor.