When you get right down to it, clearing out spiritual clutter is all about reducing anxiety. The Lord tells us to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14). That’s why I began this ministry in the first place!
God took my four-year battle with a clinical anxiety disorder and used it for His glory. Without that experience I never would have written a book or started a public speaking ministry, even though it’s not directly what I talk or write about.
Well, until now. So many women who have read the Organizing You books or have heard me speak share their anxiety struggles with me—from their everyday worries to clinical anxiety to panic attacks. In order to help, I’d like to share with you a few specific ways that I’ve learned to seek peace in my anxious moments.
Classic anxiety reducing… the Jesus way
Many classic anti-anxiety techniques are very helpful, but secular in a way they don’t have to be! Who wants to imagine themselves on a hot, sandy beach when we can imagine that we’re in Heaven, in God’s presence? When you’re looking to calm your spirit, here are some ways to reach out to Jesus, your Prince of Peace:
• Close your eyes and breathe deeply, meditating on the name of Jesus. Inhale on the “Jeeeee” and exhale on the “Suuuuuuus.”
• Sit in a comfortable chair and picture angels around you, protecting you and your family, while you slowly relax each part of your body, from your head to your toes.
• Lay down and imagine the Jesus is sitting beside you, holding your hand in His or placing His hand on your head.
• Focus on the presence of the Holy Spirit. Inhale deeply, imagining the Spirit’s peace flowing into your body. Then exhale, imagining your stress and worries being lifted away from you with the Holy Spirit’s power.
• Imagine yourself being cared for by your Heavenly Father, perhaps laying in the palm of His hand, sitting on His lap, or resting at the foot of His throne.
Time-outs with kids… the good way
When moms feel anxiety coming on, it can be really hard to address it and take care of our kids at the same time! We can’t exactly find a quiet place to relax without our kids coloring on the walls or doing other things that will give us more anxiety than we had in the first place. So, here are some ways to calm your heart while enjoying your kids:
• Look through old photo albums and talk about how the Lord has blessed you.
• Blow bubbles, seeing who can blow the longest continuous stream.
• Sit quietly and read books together, either individually or out loud.
• Take turns giving each other little massages, like back massages, hand massages, or foot massages.
• Get some exercise, like going out for a walk or doing stretches together.
• Sing Bible songs or praise songs together.
• Color or paint in time to praise music—first upbeat tunes, then slower ones.
• Do anything rhythmic, like push a swing, roll a ball back and forth with your child, or rock with your little one on your lap.
• Put on a classic children’s movie and cuddle up on the couch with your kids, holding them and feeling their hearts beat.
The bottom line here is to slow down your breathing. You have to take deep breaths to read those books aloud, sing praise songs, or blow bubbles. Breath slowly and deeply while looking at pictures, stretching, coloring, or watching a show. Intentionally relax your body, mind, and spirit while you enjoy being with your kids.
Turning to God’s Word… The Way
Many, many, many Bible verses tell us not to worry or fear, but to trust in the Lord. Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes meditating on God’s word, and our hearts are filled with the peace that passes all understanding. Here are a few of my favorites:
• When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul. (Psalm 94:19)
• When I cried out, “my foot is slipping,” your great love, Lord, supported me. (Psalm 94:18)
• I sought for the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)
• Be at rest once more, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. (Psalm 116:7)
• But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. (Psalm 5:11)
Everyone feels anxious from time to time. Sometimes that anxiety is useful and prompts us to act—to live intentionally—and that’s a wonderful thing! But often the anxiety is just negative, useless, and hurtful, and that’s when we need to lift it up to the Lord. If you have a plan, you’ll be ready for those times when anxiety rises within you.
So, print out these ideas and scriptures and hang them on your fridge. Be ready to claim God’s promises of peace and abundant life. And when you realize that your mind is racing and your heart is anxious, remember that it is well with your soul.
Giving Thought to Your Ways (a la Proverbs 14:8)
- Which of these techniques stand out as things that may work for you?
- When and where does anxiety most often attack you?
- What Bible verses bring you the peace that passes all understanding?
Would you like to learn more about conquering anxiety? Ready my first book, Organizing You
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