8 Questions And Answers To Coping with Anxiety
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. Philippians 4:6, Living Bible
One of the reasons we tend to worry is that life can quickly get out of control. Someone you care about, someone you love, isn’t listening, isn’t responding, or just doesn’t get it. Say, for example, you are responsible for someone or something, and your best effort isn’t enough. You can’t walk away from the situation. Quitting isn’t an option. It may be a teen, an aged parent who depends on you for help, or a family business which seems to be going the wrong way.
What do you do? Pondering this situation, a woman who is the primary caregiver of her parents, both of whom are elderly and in failing health, quoted Philippians 4:6, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Then she wrote, “It seems to me that anxiety is inevitable. We love people and because we love them, we assume the care of them because they cannot care for themselves. At some point we realize we cannot make them happy or even comfortable, let alone meet all of their needs. Love and responsibility combine to become concern, then worry, and then full-blown anxiety. In some cases, added to that anxiety is lack of appreciation for what we are doing—the ‘never enough’ syndrome.”
Yes, life has its moments of anxiety and concern. So what do we do?
If you can relate to the situation I’ve just described, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Exactly what is my responsibility before God in this situation? Paul wrote that each of us “should carry his own load” (Galatians 6:5). So you have to ask, “How much is enough? Is too much expected of me, or am I selfishly hesitant to give when someone is totally dependent upon me?”
2. Am I doing what I’m doing out of love or a sense of duty?
3. Am I depending on a show of appreciation to feel good about what I’m doing? Some things have to be done as unto the Lord without an expectation of thanks or appreciation. Yes, I’m fully aware that hurting individuals who are on the receiving end of the care process often forget that sacrifice is required to be there on demand—something that merits gratitude.
4. What part must I do, and what part must I leave to God to handle? This, of course, is a judgment call, and it isn’t always easy to determine. Giving care grudgingly keeps you from being blessed as a caregiver and creates guilt for the one in need of care.
5. Could I enlist the help of others so that I have the resource to do what only I can do? Like rescuing a drowning swimmer who can pull you under water, you have to decide when you’ve given out everything you have to give and enlist others to provide care.
6. When anxiety turns to worry, am I turning this over to the Lord? You know the commands, like, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7), and “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers” (Philippians 4:6, Living Bible). The tough part is doing it.
7. Am I praying with thanksgiving every time I feel anxious? It’s OK to remind yourself that God really is in control, and thank Him that though you cannot see beyond the immediate problem, you know God will take you through the valley.
8. Have I focused on the fact that God cares for me? I am the object of His care, His interest, and His love, but never His anxiety.
One who is in control of what you cannot control cares. He makes the difference.
Resource reading: Philippians 4:10-23