So on this journey of exploring and overcoming anxiety, I also listened to the book ‘Free of Me - Why Life Is Better When It’s Not About You ’ by Sharon Holde Miller. There is also a devotional on Youversion too that I read.
This book was actually such an eye-opener for me and it also helped me to pinpoint some sources of anxiety for myself.
A lot of what I gleaned from it was that lack of control, especially for someone that is typically in control, can act as an anxiety trigger. For the most part when things happen, you may be able to handle it, sort it out, make things work but what about what happens when there are things that you can’t control i.e. the way someone is acting/behaving, the loss of a job or a relationship, a global pandemic (!) That can leave one who is used to being in control in a bit of a sticky situation.
For this post, I’m going to be focussing more on what to do when you can’t control how people are behaving/acting and what to do if it’s an anxiety trigger point for you.
Throughout lockdown, I’m grateful for the understanding I have gained in this area because I can admit it has been an anxiety trigger for me.
Don’t take it personally, is something that is said often but it’s like what are the practical steps that one can take to not take things personally? If you’re like me and can identify with being an empath, that is to say you can feel things, things that don’t even pertain to you directly, quite deeply, it can be quite difficult to not take things personally, but there is hope!
Don’t despair, you can unlearn and then learn new ways to manage this process better and in turn help to manage any anxieties, worries, fears and insecurities that may come along with it.
Understand that it’s not about you
One thing to really grasp and understand is that for the most part that is to say 9 out of 10 times, the way someone is acting towards you is nothing to do with you and everything to do with them and things pertaining to them. Whether that’s their own stresses or things worrying them, it’s more so something relating to them and not something about you.
Keep being yourself
In Romans the apostle Paul advises us ‘if it is possible as much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’ You can only keep being you and keep doing what you would do normally.
Just because someone is acting a way, doesn’t mean you now have to walk on eggshells around them. Be yourself but of course be wise. If you note and can discern and pick up that they don’t want to engage in anything then that’s fine, don’t force them but don’t stop talking to them or doing what you would normally do.
Carry on and do your thing, focus on what you want to focus on and don’t let it stop you or deter you from carrying out your activities etc. Easier said than done but practice, intentionality, perservance and the grace and strength of God will help you get there.
You can’t live your life based off the actions, approval, acceptance and affirmations of people. The Bible shares plenty on how the approval and affirmation of man is a snare (a trap). So don’t get caught up in the emotions of it all, think straight, be you and keep it moving.
One thing we do need to be mindful of is that we live in a broken world with broken people. As Lysa Terkeurst says ‘perfection does not exist on this side of eternity’ and naturally people are going to experience ups and downs in their lives. Whether this is down to things happening in their life or whatever it may be, no one can be 100% all of the time and unfortunately the main recipients of people’s mood changes are the ones that are closest to them.
Pray for them
Literally lift up the person in prayer, pray the Lord will strengthen them, uphold them, give them the grace to handle whatever it is they are dealing with. That they will recieve God’s gift of peace of mind and heart.
Gauge the situation
Depending on who it is, you would know them as they are the people that are close to you, do they like to be asked what’s wrong?
Sometimes people just need space and you just have to let them work through it. There is no reflection or anything on you. It is difficult especially if you feel as though they are shutting you out, but it’s not something to take offence over. You must remember that you as well are also capable of making people feel this way too in ways you may not even know. So show grace, be merciful, pray for them and don’t take it personally.
(If you know for a fact that it is about you then this is a different situation entirely)
Pray for yourself, affirm yourself out loud
Yep, pray for yourself.
Affirm yourself by saying things such as:
‘God has not given me a spirit of fear, anxiety, insecurity or worry but one of power, love and of a calm and well balanced mind’ (2 Timothy 1:7)
‘The Lord is my Light and Salvation, whom shall I fear?’ (Psalms 27:1)
‘The Lord is my helper, what can people do to me?’ (Hebrews 13:6)
‘God guard my heart, my mind and my soul with your peace that surpasses all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7)
‘Lord help me to think of things that are true, pure, lovely, noble, of good report’ (Philippains 4:8)
‘Lord help me to keep my mind on you as you promise to keep those whose mind is on you in perfect peace’ (Isaiah 26:3)
Where you can keep yourself occupied, go for a walk, watch programmes, read a book, do something.
Talk to others
It’s great to just talk to other people and engage your mind in other things. Reach out to someone, check in on another person. It takes the focus off you and how you feel and can really help.
Talk to them
If you feel comfortable doing so, talk to the individual once they are ready to talk. It sounds strange but honestly sometimes people are unaware of how their moods affect others around them. So in a loving way and of course once it’s a good time, talk to them.
One thing about anxiety, worrisome and fearful thoughts that I have found is that it draws me nearer to the throne of my Father because it’s in His Word and His Truth that I can find some solace. I come to the end of myself and literally have to trust in the Words that He speaks to uphold me, strengthen me, help me. This doesn’t mean that all the thoughts etc necessarily vanish but it’s something that I have been putting into practice ‘mental workout’ see my previous post and by building these in my mind, I have found them to be very useful and helping in the process.
It’s about letting go and letting God, which in itself is a process, that I can tell you for free lol.
You are not anyone’s Saviour, only Jesus saves and you can’t make people feel better, you can just love them.
Take your feelings, your emotions and your thoughts to the Lord and let Him help you work your way through them. It’s not a one day fix mind you, and there will be times you fall back but the strength and the courage and the lessons learnt come from getting back up after those bumps along the way.
Take heart, be brave, be strong and be courageous. You will overcome because Christ has overcome it all for you.