Sunday, October 2, 2016

Killing Anxiety Before it Kills You! (Part 1)

It seems like the only thing I can write about passionately right now is anxiety. 

Honestly, I had no idea what stepping out and creating an evening of "Portraits of White" would do to my life. I didn't know I would battle such insecurities and frailty of soul. This year's concert brings all the regular battles PLUS an added battle of anxiety that seems to be unleashed in a fierce way. Someone has turned up the heat.

One of the rules of successful blogging is to do it with consistency. I did pretty well until August. The reason for my failure to be consistent? I spent so much time and energy working on songwriting for my new CD project that I was completely "wordless" and void of any bandwidth for expressing anymore thoughts.

Now, as I head into final preparations for the big dream concert, I still feel like I don't have bandwidth for writing anything because I'm pouring myself into making the night of December 10 as amazing as I possibly can, in hopes that people will walk away inspired, encouraged and full of hope.

However, I miss the benefits of blogging. Writing about my inner thoughts and struggles is so helpful in bringing clarity to my life. So in keeping with my original plan when I first began blogging, I will write, whether anyone is reading or not and even though I may have lost readers because I broke the rule of consistency. If you are still with me, great.

So with that set up, I've decided to focus my next season of blogging around dealing with anxiety. It seems to be a by-product of stepping out and responding to the whisper of the dream when the sun was shining and anxiety was far from you. Now, you say to yourself "what was I thinking?".

I'm not a medical doctor and I am not a psychologist! But I am familiar with anxiety and what it can do to our bodies.

This image says it all. Anxiety will paralyze you.

You won't be able to see or think straight, let alone breathe.

I am convinced that at the root of anxiety
is the misconception that we can control our lives. 

Though I believe that we can make choices and try to stay on track, ultimately, we are not in control. I was reminded of that when I spent the night at Chicago's O'hare airport back in July. It didn't matter what I planned, preferred or listed as my goal, my plane was not going anywhere because of a bad storm. It was a situation beyond my control, and at first, it made me anxious.

So here's what I know from experience about anxiety in my life, so far:

1) It feels like churning and knots in my stomach
2) It has the potential to paralyze me if allowed to turn into full-blown fear
3) It often strikes in the middle of the night
4) It disillusions me into thinking I would feel better if I could control everything

As I explore this topic throughout the next few weeks, I'll share a tip for how I am currently learning to kill it before it kills me.

Pray. Pray. Pray.

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, PRAY about everything. 
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. 
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 4:6-7.

This simple verse is changing my life. I have it written out and taped about my stove in the kitchen. I read it often and I say it out loud to myself throughout the day. I use the symptoms of anxiety as a signal to remind me to pray instead of THINK or DO my way out of anything. Sometimes, I even get down on my knees and pray out loud right then and there about whatever is making me afraid and anxious.

Feeling anxious? 

Pray. Be very specific about what it is that is making you anxious. Name it out loud and express yourself. 

Know that you are not alone, but we'll get through this together.