Let’s follow the story of Marie and see if it helps us begin to understand why anxiety and worry controls us.
Marie lives in a nice home, with a two car garage, three kids, and a husband. They make a decent income and the family is healthy. Marie’s family lives nearby and her husband’s lives in another state. They have the normal wear and tear of living on this planet and handling all the responsibilities that come along with it. There are constant car repairs, food to cook, bills to pay, the house to take care of and manage, situations at work, with family, and friends.
Marie attends church faithfully and does everything that is expected of her while she is there. She teaches a Sunday school class, brings her children to church on Sunday’s, attends church events, and bakes cakes. Marie reads her Bible occasionally, prays as often as she can, and tries to be a good Christian at home. For all intents and purposes Marie has a good life, yet on the inside she is a wreck. Only those closest to her would understand what she struggles with.
Marie often finds her heart beating a little faster than normal at the end of the day. Once she finally sits down she notices that she is anxious. She tells herself that it is because of the kids and everything going on. She sleeps pretty good, but during times of extreme stress she doesn’t get restful sleep and generally feels tired all the time. Marie notices that she worries about her children a lot and her health. She gets extremely excited when things don’t go as planned, but she deals with it and moves on. Marie has some secret ambitions that she doesn’t share with anyone. They are not wrong, they just aren’t part of what she is supposed to do right now. She would work on them, but she can’t take a break from the busyness long enough to work on her goals.
Marie is generally stressed about her daily responsibilities. She can’t shift away from the norm long enough to try new things and wouldn’t anyway because that would mean telling others about her plans. Marie has a hard time watching a movie, letting the shoes lay around the house, changing her schedule, and just enjoying silence. She can’t concentrate on one thing because she has too many worries and concerns running through her head. People find it difficult to talk to her and they chalk it up to her busy schedule, but in reality she simply can’t hold a thought long enough to talk about things.
My 1st meeting with Marie
Marie has come to me for help. She is tired and wants to figure out why all the good things she is doing are not helping her live a restful and peaceful life. She thinks that I might be able to help her plan her busy life better so that she can get more things done. Perhaps if everything was planned she would feel better about things. Marie tells me her story and from that I identify that she might be actually struggling with fear. She is over anxious and worry’s a lot about her responsibilities. This comes out from the fact she can’t stop doing. She is in a constant state of anxiety, but doesn’t realize it. Her church activities, Bible reading, and prayers don’t seem to be working. I notice she struggles to sit in her chair without moving.
Marie this is our first meeting and I don’t know you very well. I believe that we can identify some things that might be preventing you from getting rest and having peace in your life. I would like to start by identifying what may be causing you fear. She frowns and shakes her head, “I am not fearful”. I understand Marie, but let’s try this out and if this doesn’t work out by the 3rd session we will try something else. Most, if not all, people deal with some sort of fear. I think as we delve into this you might find that being fearful is not just about being scared of snakes, or spiders. It’s much more and can come to rule our lives in ways that we don’t see.
Fear gives us a general angst about life, or a specific part of life. It prevents us from completely acting as we would like to. It torments us as we go throughout our day. Speaking lies to us. It’s the root of anxiety and worry. If we can identify our fears we can work to rid them from our life. It’s not an easy three step process, but it can be done. Marie I believe that God wants you to handle the busyness of life with assurance, peace, and Christ-like joy. I also believe that He wants you to enjoy rest.
Marie I have struggled with fear my entire life. It took a friend to point out what the problem was before I saw it. Fear has been so engrained in my life that I wasn’t aware it even existed, but once I was able to see it I began to kill it and be free to live the life that God has for me. I think that the Holy Spirit working in you and me can help bring light to what concerns you and help for overcoming it. Will you be willing to meet with me and give this a chance? If we determine that it’s not fear, then we will move on, but if it is you will be on the way to living a truly free life.
Marie agrees to attend counseling sessions. Her homework is to fill out the following questionnaire and bring it back next time. I ask her to pray that God would reveal to her what she needs to work on and that He would empower us both to conquer that which is holding her back from living the life He wants for her. I ask her to commit to the process. It is a process. God sometimes moves quickly and He sometimes takes us through a journey.
In the next blog post we will go through Marie’s questionnaire. If you would like me to go through yours with you please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. That is my personal email address. I would be happy to see how you answered your questions.
- Make a list every day of what concerns you have? Ones that you keep having over and over.
- Make a list of what things you would like to change, try, or do differently.
- Write down a few sentences of how you feel before you go to bed and when you wake up.
- Describe a situation that you dread the most.
- How often in the past week did you? (Please be honest. I am not going to judge you. I just want to learn about your habits.)
- Read the Bible
- Take a nap
- Go to bed early
- Do something new
- Change your schedule
- Say no
- Tell someone something they didn’t want to hear
- Let work at home go and do something else
- Make a list of at least 20 words that describe how you see the future.
- Who or what causes you the most anxiety or worry?
- What time of day do you feel the best and the worst?
- Have you ever had a life altering event happen in your life? If so, be prepared to provide some information about that next time.
- If you could change your life how would you change it? (Really) Be prepared to discuss.
This information can provide a platform for us to work from. Looking forward to discussing this more next time.