On a recent episode of the podcast, Your Hope-Filled Perspective with Dr. Michelle Bengtson, we talked about one of the weapons God gives us to defeat worry, fear, and anxiety: Power (see How God Gives Us Power to Defeat Anxiety – Episode 54). We discussed different ways that God has given us power to fight back against worry, fear, and anxiety and win. Part of using our power is choosing what perspective we will take. Changing your perspective is one way to defeat anxiety.
Anxiety and Feeling Out of Control
So often, our anxiety stems from feeling like we are out of control of our situation. We’ve all felt that to some degree in recent days: being unable to find basic supplies in stores, companies furloughing good employees, social distancing, and even being unable to choose where to eat.
Changing Your Perspective: From “I have to” to “I get to”
In a recent interview, I shared how changing our perspective can make such a huge difference in our emotional well-being during times of crisis. I recently realized that I was hearing people say things like, “I have to work from home,” “I have to figure out how to homeschool my children,” “I have to stay inside,” etc. My own family made similar “I have to…” statements. I challenged my family to shift their perspective from “I have to…” to “I get to…”
Right now, I get to spend extended one on one time with my teenager who would normally be spending spare time at athletic events, youth group, Bible study, or with friends. He’ll be headed off to college soon, and then into the adult world. I may never get such extended time with my child again. I get to do that now—what a joy that is.
Instead of traveling and speaking, I get to sleep in my own bed at night. I don’t have to run from terminal to terminal to catch a flight from the airport. I get to sit on my patio and watch the trees and flowers begin to bloom, and at the end of the day lay my head on my own pillow.
I get to look after my health and choose the healthiest of options for nutrition and exercise. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good restaurant meal. But the truth is, most of the time when I cook from my own kitchen at home, I know what I’m putting into the meal and how much I’m consuming, so I can choose the healthiest of options to support my health journey.
Choose Your Perspective: Worry, Fear, and Anxiety or God’s Peace
Looking at our current situation through an “I have to” lens leaves us feeling powerless, out of control, and anxious. Perhaps even filled with dread. But when I look at my current situation and all the things “I get to” then I am empowered and filled with peace. Choosing what perspective we will take determines whether we will live filled with worry, fear, and anxiety OR God’s peace.
We are encouraged “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV). When we choose to take the perspective of “I get to,” we become filled with gratitude for what we do have, what we can do, and who we get to interact with. Gratitude opens the door to peace and joy, which beats anxiety any day! (Choose gratitude over grumbling.)
I’d love to hear what perspective you’ve been taking lately in the comments below.
Resource to Break Anxiety’s Grip
No question, we have a lot to worry about. Children, jobs, homes, health, finances, and more. The solution isn’t to rid ourselves of the sources of anxiety – as if we could. Instead, we need to recognize that anxiety originates from a spiritual influence and that we can fight back using the God-given weapons of power, love, and a sound mind.
We can discover true peace in an age of anxiety.
In Breaking Anxiety’s Grip, Dr. Michelle Bengtson shares her own story of emerging from the battle with anxiety as well as the stories of others. She reminds you of your identity as a follower of Christ and of the peace he promises you in spite of everything.
She provides tools to cope with the crushing emotional burden of anxiety now and, more importantly, shows you how to reclaim God’s peace as a way of life so that you can break anxiety’s grip.
Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com, Books-A-Million, and other fine book retailers.
Click here to learn more: Breaking Anxiety’s Grip.
Oh I LOVE this message!! I ‘get to read it’ and enjoy changing my perspective. It changes our whole attitude about our situation to speak what you ‘GET TO DO’!! I am so glad you shared this blog message about what you shared on your podcast. From the moment you spoke these words ‘I get to’, I have been changing and using these words instead of the other ones. Thank you for sharing such amazing helpful insight! I LOVE and APPRECIATE you and Scott both sharing in your podcasts how to defeat anxiety!!! Such a blessing!!
It’s so refreshing to read about “everybody has anxiety these days,” and not to end there. Your article follows with the way to defeat it. Thank You!
(I am currently reading, “Breaking Anxiety’s Grip) and finding it most helpful.
Changing my inner talk from “have to” to “get to” has been really helpful for me. It reframes my thoughts from fear to gratitude and from complaint to thanksgiving. Though this is a simple thing, it is really effective.
It’s amazing how a few words can change our perspective and help us fight our worry and anxiety. They help us focus on the positive and not the negative. Thanks.
We so often need a new lens to look through, don’t we! When we slow down and get God’s perspective, it can make all the difference. Not that it’s a magic formula but it points us to Him and our need to trust in and depend on Him. Thanks for always pointing us to the Savior!
Even in disappointment over things cancelled and opportunities lost, there are so many things we GET to do!
I knew someone who always spoke in “I get to’s” instead of “I have to” and it made such an impact on me.
This is such a helpful perspective. If we trust that God is ultimately in control, we truly do get to do His will.
Barbara, I agree. I think it’s easy to trust God in some things, but to hold some areas back and try to do things on our own. Hopefully during this time, we can all learn to trust Him more.