Tonight I feel anxious. I’m not sure why but somehow I’m worked up and I hate it. How do I find my way through this? How can I get to the bottom of it?
I realize that it’s not just all in my head. It’s physical too. My stomach is tight. It’s harder to breathe. And I feel so hot. What am I going to do?
- Well, first thing, I get out my journal and pick up my pen. Finding a quiet place where I can think my own thoughts, I start to write.
- Quieting myself, I ask God to lead me as I write. I’m trying to figure this out and just thinking about it doesn’t seem to fix anything.
Susan M Tiberghien, author of One Year to a Writing Life, writes:
“Your daily life calls you in a thousand directions; journal writing centers you.
You slow down and write.”
Journaling also allows me to dig deeper inside to pull out what is reluctant to show itself, or what stays hidden behind lies or misperceptions.
Looking at each one I realize that all of these have the capacity to make me anxious, some more than others. But all feel oppressive to me in some way and to have them all happening at the same time makes it extra difficult.
- So I pray over each one. I ask God to show me what he wants me to see and I ask him to help me to wait with him, to trust his goodness. What insight might he give me? Am I believing anything that isn’t true here?
Is there a pattern showing up?
- I open my Bible and ask for insight. Am I missing something? Is there more I need to see? I find how David coped with his son’s rebellion:
Truly my soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
As I write and read and pray, I realize that I need to remember that God is with me. I’m not on my own.
He promised to never leave his people. I am one of his. I have chosen to live with him and to look for him in all the ways I can. And all these stressors are easily within his power to handle.
I can choose. I can decide to side with anxiety and believe the lie that it’s all up to me. I can continue to focus on how I feel and what is bothering me. Or I can determine to believe the truth that God is with me. I can trust him. He loves me and he loves those I love. I can wait on him. I can trust him. He brings peace. I can’t muster it up on my own.
This pattern of running to him enables me to have a plan (of running to him) for when the bigger, more intense situations arise.
But the truth remains. Even in the midst of horrible things, my soul truly finds rest in no other place than in the safety of God’s presence. Putting my pen to paper helps me untangle thoughts regardless of the intensity. There is no magic formula or instant fix. But writing brings insight which helps me grow in my desire or willingness to see and trust Him.
For me, telling myself the truth often takes a bit of digging. Journaling, along with prayer and scripture, has helped me hundreds of times to slow down enough to find and embrace it.