Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Working Through Anxiety

I get anxious. Often. Especially where finances are concerned. Which means, in our economy, I get anxious even more.

The last few days have seen my anxiety levels rising sharply as it has become clear to Cheri and I that we need to make a major investment in a "sleep system" for the sake of our backs. Unexpected needs like this always expose how much I rely on my bank account for security. If there is "sufficient margin" there, I can convince myself that we'll be OK, safe from the turmoil around us. As it inevitably dwindles, so does my hope and confidence!

God has provided for us to make this investment, but it cuts deeply into our "margins." After making the "sleep system" purchase, I was still struggling with a boatload of anxiety this morning. I realized quickly that I was leaning on what money we had to bring us comfort and security. No wonder I often feel anxious, when I'm leaning on such temporary and trivial things!

Reaching into my toolbox I pulled out some helpful steps that I learned at Men at the Cross.

1) Feel your fears fully - instead of running from the fears or trying to numb them with escapist entertainment or food, I let myself feel my fear. What am I really afraid of? Like peeling layers off an onion, I try to get at my core fears. I find today (as usual), that I am terrified of feeling abandoned. My greatest fear, in this case, is to be uncared for, left out in the cold with no one to help. I am on my own. I was abandoned in several ways as a child, so many of these wounds and fears get triggered here. I confessed my fears to God. Father, I'm terrified of being abandoned; that you will not come through for us; that I will be on my own with no one to help.

2) Go to the Core Desires - after feeling fully my fears, I ask myself, What is it that I really want? No longer self-deluded by running from fears, I know immediately that what I want is to be held, to feel cared for, to be loved and have a sense of feeling secure and safe. Obviously no amount of money can give me these things. I bring them to the Father and confess, Father, you alone can provide these things. In your love, please give me the love, acceptance and security I need. Please forgive me for trusting in money for security. I see it now for the foolishness that it is.

I slowly feel anxiety recede and peace return. I will undoubtedly have to go through this process several times today. It will continue to be a battle, but I have hope that God will see me through to Himself. He is good.

Though the fig tree does not bud
       and there are no grapes on the vines,
       though the olive crop fails
       and the fields produce no food,
       though there are no sheep in the pen
       and no cattle in the stalls,

 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
       I will be joyful in God my Savior.
(Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV)

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