Every day now, I hear so much on media that could make me worry all day long! We live in uncertain times, but are not supposed to worry.
Worry is a mental habit and is cued by automatic negative thoughts. When negative thoughts are not dealt with, they develop into a worry habit. For example, a negative thought runs through your head, “What if a bomb explodes in my city?’ If you decide to dwell on that thought, it becomes worry.
To break the worry habit, as soon as you identify the worried thought, answer it with a more reasonable thought.
For example, “Any city is a target for terrorism but there is no way to control this so I will live my life trusting God to watch out for me. My life is in His hand anyway.”
In other words, counter the worried thought with the confidence that you can handle the uncertainty or problem when or if it arises. And even if that is difficult, tell yourself, that the thought might be scary, but God will help you deal with whatever comes–that is His promise to you.
2 Corinthians 10:5 teaches us to take thoughts captive. This means not allowing our thoughts to wander in worried waters. We confine our thoughts to the truth or the reality of the situation. So when that worried thought comes to your mind, check that thought with the mind of Christ.
Is the thought in line with God’s Word?
Is it reasonable for the moment?
Is the thought based on anything real or only what I can imagine?
Am I assuming the worst?
Putting it all together, it looks like this:
The worried thought comes into my mind.
I grab it and take it captive.
I control where it goes and take it to Christ, His Word and make it true or more reasonable.
Then, I let it go!
For more help with letting go of worry, click on the book cover above.
In the game, you travel along a multicolored highway to the big candy castle at the top. Along the way, you can land on these black dots and get stuck in what seems like an eternity until you draw the right color. When you draw the right color, you can finally move on and resume your quest to reach the castle.
Anxiety is like being stuck on those black dots. It often paralyzes your movements in the journey of life. You are moving along life’s road and suddenly something happens. It is unexpected and you experience a loss. The loss is scary because you didn’t see it coming and it feels out of control. When you feel out of control, and do not properly grieve the loss, anxiety can begin to take hold. Then, you are stuck.
So one way to get off that black dot is to revisit the sudden loss, allow yourself to feel it and grieve it. The feelings may be intense, but you will survive them if you choose to face them. Face them because those feelings of grief are your “right color” to move forward. Once you move through the intensity of grief, the feelings eventually lessen. You learn that loss comes and brings tremendous feelings of sadness, but feeling that sadness frees you to grieve and continue the journey. And you don’t travel alone. God is there to comfort you along the way. His promise is to never leave you and provide a peace that passes your understanding. So choose the right color and get back on the road!
Fear is a normal response to what was witnessed at the Boston Marathon yesterday. The prospect of harm causes fear. Many were harmed and three people are now dead.
Yet we cannot allow fear to get a grip on us and cause us to live in anxiety. Our responses to trauma impact us and are felt by our children. So how do we live in the reality of an unsafe world and yet not be anxious for what could happen?
Here are 8 suggestions to help:
1) Don’t overburden your children with too much information and viewing of the trauma. Listen for their questions, give brief information and reassure them that you are doing everything possible to keep them safe. Too much exposure to graphic images can cause psychological problems so limit exposure.
2) Consider the developmental level of your child. Young children may not grasp the finality of death or images they see on TV as real. So deal with the appropriate developmental level of your child in terms of explanations.
3) This is an opportunity to talk about good and evil. There are bad people in the world who want to hurt others, but there are also good people who want to make the world a better place. Sometimes the bad people do bad things and hurt the good people. But God is always with us and promises to help us when bad people do bad things. That is one reason why we pray and ask God to help us. God is on our side and He is the most powerful. Keep it simple.
4) Engage your children in the healing process. Pray for the families involved in the bombings, the people who were hurt and those who witnessed the events.
5) Talk about where our confidence comes from–the Lord, not things or people. God is in control. When fear enters our minds, quote 2 Timothy 1:7–God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.
6) Talk about all the good stories that come from tragedy--people who opened their homes to strangers, those who offered meals, the police and firefighters who responded with courage, etc.
7) Use this as an opportunity to talk about forgiving people who do bad things. Bring this down to their level. Maybe use an example in their lives of a bully, a mean classmate, etc. and talk about how we are to respond to those who hurt others.
8) Help children understand that we always have a choice as to how we respond to bad things. We can give in to fear or we can trust God. Trust in the Lord. God says he will not forsake the righteous (Psalm 119:172). Turn to Him and allow His peace to come.