Friday, March 5, 2010

Using Faith to Conquer Anxious Thinking

.....I will write for ONE HOUR ONLY and then stop no matter where I'm at with this post....

I read an article in Better Homes and Gardens this morning that really got me to thinking (well 1/2 an article anyway...).  It was about changing negative thinking into positive thinking. 

I think there are (at least) two kinds of negative is an anxious thought, the other is more generalized negative thinking.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm not really sure if I'd be classified as an optimist or a pessimist.  My best friend would probably call me an optimist.  She has told me in the past I'm one of the only people she knows who can put a silver lining on a funnel cloud!  At the same time, if you've read any posts on either of my blogs, you'd know I battle negative thinking all the time.  So, as usual, I write as an attempt to answer my own questions for myself--NOT IN ANY WAY as an attempt to point the finger at anyone who might be reading.

One other thing....I've read several blogs lately that have really struck a cord with me.  I've had a very hard time not commenting with 100% abandon.  I'm trying to remember that just because someone publishes a blog post, he/she might not want the same kind of "feedback" that I want.  Just to be VERY CLEAR---I want your feedback.  If you have a thought while reading this post, please feel complete freedom to post your uncensored thoughts....even if you want to post them annonymously.  I am a firm believer that we are all here (on Earth) to learn from one another, and I welcome anything you have to say. get to the topic in my mind today.....

I think both anxious thoughts and generalized negative thinking are based in lack of faith, but I'm going to try to stay on the topic of anxious thoughts in this post.

God tells us to cast our anxieties on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7)...and that all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  To me, that doesn't mean we are to turn our anxious thoughts into positive thoughts, other than the positive thought that God has plans for our welfare and peace, not for evil, to give us hope in our final outcome (Amplified version of Jeremiah 29:11).  (I could list several other verses/passages, but I'll stop with these.)

There have been two school shootings in my city recently (one at a middle school, one boy shot-and killed-another boy; one at a college where a professor shot-and killed three other professors), and just yesterday a gun was found in the bathroom of another middle school.  I have naturally had concerns for my daughter's safety at school.  

On top of that, she has been sick with some strange symptoms.  (I don't believe they are related to stress from these shootings at all...maybe stress for some other reasons, but most likely something truly physical.)  The wonderful world of google has given me numerous medical conditions of which to be afraid.  

I believe it would be "wrong" for me to think my daughter is going to be perfectly safe at school, or that she is going to be completely fine medically.  The truth is, she really could get hurt, or sick.  AND, God would still be in control, and He would STILL be a good God, worthy of my praise.

Again, it's not my intention to be accusatory of anyone who might be struggling with anxious thoughts, or who has struggled in the past.  I'm just trying to build up my own personal faith.  

What if Job woke up the morning all of his children were killed with a "negative" thought that something bad might happen to them that day??  And, what if he told himself that all of his kids were going to be perfectly fine and healthy, and that they all would continue to prosper?  And what if, when they weren't, he cursed God for not protecting his family?  

I don't believe for one minute our lack of faith causes things to happen to us, and I don't think bad things are a punishment for anything.  Bad things happen because we live on earth...and God continues to be in control, and He continues to be good.

When I hear someone who is sick say, "well, I know I'm going to be healed because I believe in God and I have faith He can heal this"....I worry (if the intention is that God will heal them by Earthly standards).  God help me if I ever have to deal with that particular struggle, because it would be an extreme test of faith...but I have to believe I would be able to honestly pray, "Your will be done" and mean it no matter what the outcome.

So...what do I do with my anxious thoughts?  I cast them at His feet.  I remind myself, every day that has been ordained for me (and everyone else for that matter) was written into the book of life, and He knew every word on every page, before any of us were even born.  I hold on to, and have faith in, the belief that He will never leave me or forsake me.  No matter what happens, to me, my family, my friends...even if the moon crashes into the earth two years from now....I'm going to spend eternity in Heaven along with every one else who has accepted Jesus as their personal savior. 

Having said all that, I think it's obvious my personal struggle lies more with generalized negative thinking about myself.  Obviously that's a much harder topic to tackle because it doesn't just strike a nerve, it hammers and saws on the most delicate nerve I think I've got!!  But, lucky 1 hour timer just went off so I have other things that must get done.

As I said before, please feel the complete freedom to post any (and every) comment you have on this topic.



  1. I can totally identify with this struggle. I learned a huge lesson at this time last year about what it means to truly cast my cares on Him, let Him be in control, and pray Your will be done and truly mean it. I was pregnant, on bed rest in the hospital, scared out of my mind because we didn't know at the time if our daughter would survive the pregnancy and then if she did what her outcome would be. I could write a whole post (well, actually I guess I did at the time) on what that was like. It was a conscious, difficult decision to say OK, Lord! Up to You! but I did, knowing very well that I may have to give my daughter to Him physically as well as spiritually. It was terrifying, freeing, necessary and ultimately very peaceful because I realized that I need to give up the illusion of control. I'm happy to report that my daughter is almost one and is doing very well. I am applying (well, trying very hard to) this principal of "letting go and letting God" to other areas of my life. It isn't always easy, but it is working wonders in my life and heart and relationship with Him.

    Looking forward to reading more on this topic. ;)

  2. I want to read this with complete understanding so will come back later today once I get some errands taken care of.

    Hugs my friend!

  3. Hi Dana,

    I just read your post and can totally appreciate where you are coming from. I can only say that everyone's journey is different, so the only solid foundation we can stand on when dealing with negative/scary/anxious thoughts is the Word of God. It applies to all of us and to every situation.

    I used to be afraid of EVERYTHING. Even as a young married, I had to sleep with lights on because I was afraid of the dark. But God delivered me from those fears. That doesn't mean that the enemy doesn't try to come back with some of the same old tricks, but I feel much more equipped now to handle the fiery darts when they're thrown at me.

    I'm praying for you sister. If you weren't growing, this post wouldn't exist. :O)

    Thank you for your kind comments on my blog post. I'm SO glad we're friends too.


  4. Hi Dana,

    Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog - it made my day :) I've been very quiet of late but I promise to get back to the grindstone asap.

    I know what you mean about wanting honest opinions - I think it is so important and that is the beauty of a blog is people's anonymity should they need it. I for one am dying to tell my story or get it published but I worry about the people I would hurt along the way and this has been the best outlet for me.

    I am a firm believer is 'if its meant to be, it will be.' seriously, life is too short to stress about every possible thing that might happen. In the words of Baz Luhrman's (sp??) Sunscreen, "Don't worry about the future, or know that worrying is about as effective as trying to solve an Algebra equasion by chewin bubble gum. The real troubles in life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind-sides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday." Life is great and worrying generally serves us little to no purpose, however that does not mean we cannot be held accountable for our actions. A happy balance needs to be found between planning and a little motion of throwing caution to the wind. Although, I think it also comes with being a mother. I know my mother worries incesently - I worry about when I become a mother - where will I find the time to add in all that worrying ;-)

    Hope you have a wonderful day