The Cure for Anxiety – Part I

“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  (Matthew 6:25-34 HCSB)

You don’t have to be a follower of Jesus to benefit from the last part of this passage:

“Don’t worry about tomorrow…Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

If you are a follower of Jesus, there is even more benefit in this passage: Jesus tells us that our Father God takes care of sparrows and GRASS — how much more will He take care of us, in spite of our “little faith”, because we are worth more than many sparrows?

It is an incredible encouragement — one I’ve held onto tenaciously these last ten months, and one that has even been proven by God’s provision in our lives these last ten months.

Nevertheless, I want to focus on verse 34 today. There is something for everyone, in this verse,  and perhaps even enough that one who is not yet familiar with the friendship of God might be spurred forward toward it.

“Don’t worry about tomorrow…Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

If one were to treat this as a pill, prescribed by a well-known and trusted physician, how might it change one’s life?

Rather than hypothesize, I will tell you how it has changed mine.

The other night, I was sitting in a home school meeting, listening to the mothers discuss — what seemed like at the time — HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of things that their children had to do in order to finish high school. I began to feel overwhelmed…and then I began to feel anxious.

“I will never get all of this done!”  I thought. “It’s impossible! It’s too much! I must quit home schooling now!  (I’d only been doing it for three days, mind you.) Oh, but I  can’t quit! I am positive that God has told me to school my children at home! Whatever shall I do?!”

It is a true wonder that I did not throw myself to the floor with wails of despair. God is merciful in His sovereign interventions, is He not?

It must have been in just the moment I might have considered throwing myself to the ground with wails of despair that God spoke in my spirit.

“Fae,” He said, gentle and deep — He almost sounded amused. “Is all of this happening today?”

The wailing and spazzing in my brain immediately paused. “Well…no…”

“Then you don’t need to be thinking about it, do you?”

I gave a little laugh (internally, mind you). He was right. (He’s always right.) But just in case I had inclinations to doubt or disregard Him, He brought to mind Verse Thirty-Four.

Truthfully, that is not the first time we’ve had that conversation — and it undoubtedly will not be the last.

But it works. It nips anxiety in the bum and anxiety scurries off yipping every time.

As I said in the beginning of this post, you don’t have to be friends with Jesus (also known as The Great Physician) to benefit from His prescription. I like to call it Verse Thirty-Four.

And perhaps, when you’ve experienced His remedy for this particular malady in your own life, perhaps you might just be curious enough to find out more about this Man and what He wants with you.

Curiosity inevitably breeds bravery, and bravery will serve you well — for, as C. S. Lewis taught us through the “person” of Aslan,

The Great Physician is not safe –
but He is good.

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Better Blogging: Things I’ve Learned

1. Preach at yourself. Change those inspirational exhortations from “you” to “I”. Example: “God is present in the little things; you just have to open your eyes” — that sentence is more relatable and impactful when written this way, instead: “God is present in the little things; I just have to open my eyes.”

This is a phenomenal little tip; I don’t understand how it works, but it *does*! Shannon Popkin over at Tiny Paragraphs taught me this, when I submitted to her Yellow Ball feature. It totally goes against the way I write naturally but she is so right—it really does have a more powerful and personal effect when you write in the first person.

2. Keep it short. I actually learned this back when I tried vlogging—videos under two minutes got a lot more views than the longer ones, and as a viewer of vlogs myself, I rarely watched more than the first two minutes. It had to be reeeally engaging to keep me past that point.

Blog posts are the same: if they’re not engaging enough and/or if my readers are short on time, the majority of my writing gets lost. When I write, I assume all readers will be short on time, so I try to write for two minutes of reading or less. Of course, sometimes the subject doesn’t allow for that, but usually, it’s *also* engaging enough to compensate.

3. Don’t try to write if there’s a poopy diaper within smelling distance. That is to say, don’t try to write during distractions! If I can smell a dirty diaper while I’m writing—and worse, if the smell wafts in and out, my thoughts will likely be fragmented, hurried, and inarticulate. I do better if I confront various distractions first and then sit down to write. (Although, as a stay-at-home mom, there are rarely NO distractions; but I can usually minimize them. i.e. “Honey, can you change Bubby’s diaper?” ;))

Have you discovered techniques that make for better blogging? Please share them here or, better yet, write your own post and link me to it—we can hold a potluck of sorts, tips galore! :)

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These tips are from Kina at Human In Recovery. I thought they were quite excellent.

1) Add visual interest: Using photographs you’ve taken yourself or make sure you are using “borrowed” pics according to legal fair use and copyright laws, If you have several pics, utilize the embedded slide show feature, or link to a YouTube relevant video, preferably a song that connects to the content in some way. Use spacing and formatting to break up text and give the readers’ eyes a break.

2) If you can’t keep it short (800-1,000 words max) try to break it up into a series of posts. Then you can add visual interest and keep the reader engaged and wanting to come back.

3) Get interactive and involved with your readers. When you notice a comment, like, or follow try to respond in a timely manner. Go visit their site and leave a comment or like of your own (as long as it’s sincere and authentic). If you read something on someone else’s blog that gives you insight, makes you think, or inspires you to write a post of your own, include that information with a link back to their content, don’t just re-blog. Ask questions on your posts that invite your readers to comment. If you receive an award or invitation to participate in a game of blog tag and you aren’t able to play or you feel it isn’t in alignment with what your blog is about, give the one who tagged you the courtesy of a reply. By tagging and linking to you, they just sent their readers to your site.