With the world in crisis, we’ve been providing a series of episodes in the podcast, Your Hope-Filled Perspective with Dr. Michelle Bengtson about coping with worry, fear, and anxiety when we are in times of crisis. On a recent episode, we talked about how God has given us power as one of our tools to defeat anxiety. Part of using our power is learning to let go of what we can’t control and embracing what we can.
Anxiety often arises within us when we begin to feel like things are out of control. Our mind often spirals down the slippery slope of worry, fear, and anxiety when we begin to think of all the “What if?” questions that we don’t have answers to. Those are the things we need to let go of and surrender to God to handle. We weren’t meant to carry those heavy burdens. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29-30, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Here are some of the things we cannot control that we can let go of:
- Negative news and social media
- When the stores will restock necessary supplies
- When the stores and restaurants will re-open
- Companies having to furlough people
- Whether or not others will follow the guidelines like social distancing or staying at home
- The actions of others and how they will react
- The motives of others
- How long this crisis will last
Worry is really just a misappropriation of our trust, giving it to a counterfeit that never satisfies. Focusing on our circumstances and the things we cannot control is like telling God that He isn’t big enough to handle anything that comes our way.
Here are some of the things we can control and can/should focus on:
- Turning off the news
- Limiting social media
- Social distancing and staying at home when possible
- My own positive attitude
- My kindness and gratitude
- Maintaining self-care (eating well, exercising, getting enough rest)
- Having fun, smiling, and laughing
- Working toward my goals and dreams
The thing is, we really have very little control in this life. We often live with the myth that we are in control, but there is so much that is out of control. But the comforting truth is that this situation didn’t take God by surprise, and He remains in control.
Another comforting truth is that when we let go of what we can’t control, and embrace what we can, we are more open to God’s leading. “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
I’d love to hear how you are coping with worry, fear, or anxiety and our current situation in the comments below.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
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.