I found myself jumping to a worst-case scenario again this week and chased a runaway thought down that proverbial rabbit hole. I was concentrating on the feelings evoked by my errant conclusions framing my what-ifs. Feelings come and go, yet when we’re tied up by them in the middle of an anxious roller coaster ride, they suck us up, distorting reality.
Picture yourself packing your bag for a trip. You realize that everything is not fitting in as you planned. You get frustrated. You can’t remember what you already put in. Exasperated, you can’t make a decision about what needs to come out. That’s what my anxious moments look like.
Instead, I need to deliberately unpack the anxious thought, examine it, feel its weight, its qualities, and repack it so that each item takes the amount of room it needs to occupy and nothing more. This is a calming, conscious, deliberate, pro-active activity. You’ll find yourself less caught up in whatever has magnetized your tumbling thoughts.
See, you CAN make friends with your anxiety! Use it to your benefit, guiding it to decipher new solutions for the pressing problem.
After the Lord’s prayer in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus spent the rest of the chapter teaching on the subject of anxiety. He said that we are to set our minds on God’s kingdom and his justice before everything else, and all the rest will come to us. What is his kingdom? For me, it’s how I interact in the reality of the here and now in doing justice and loving mercy.
What item do you need to unpack today?
So, do not be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow will look after itself. Each day has troubles enough of its own.