How to Overcome a Negative Mindset and Sooth Anxiety

A couple of weeks ago God opened my eyes to my stinking thinking. He pointed out that I’m always looking at things from a problem point of view, expecting the worse and worrying for no reason. I knew I had anxiety, but I just couldn’t put my finger on what was bothering me. What exactly was this problem view-point? 
Well God answered that question for me one day while I was praying about all of the upcoming events and how they were obstacles in my future and I asked how I would ever overcome them to be the person God wants me to be. It wasn’t an audible voice, but I knew it wasn’t my own thoughts.
“The devil wants you to look at all the obstacles as problems and upcoming failures, but I say look at all the chances you have to try to succeed, for in your weakness, my strength is shown.”

I felt like my eyes had been opened in that moment. I was so anxious about everything because every opportunity or circumstance that came my way, I immediately thought about all the bad things that could potentially happen or how I would fail. These thoughts immediately lead me to fear the situation because I didn’t want to fail or deal with the negative circumstances that could take place. This fear lead me to avoid, neglect, complain, worry, or procrastinate really any decision, event or circumstance that I was unsure of the outcome.

While some things we can avoid due to fear without consequences, like not riding a particular roller coaster. Living this way, is not how God designed us to be.

  • This fearful avoidance will eventually lead to: our lives being fueled by fear in everything we do, think and pray rather than living through our faith.
  • It strains our relationships with our loved ones when we complain, avoid and procrastinate things because we are drowning in fear and worry from the unknown possible negative circumstantial outcomes; even if it’s just calling DTE to schedule our appliance recycling {Sorry, honey}.
  • We start scheduling and doing things according to the perceived problems and failures we think will happen to us, and in the process we push God out of our lives.

When I sit at my desk in the morning and worry: What is tomorrow’s schedule, how will we get everything done? When will our new fridge be delivered? What time should we go to church? Will we even be able to go? What should I do on the website today? Why is my ankle hurting? Should I go to the doctor? What should I do today, how will I get everything I need to do done? It takes God out of the equation.

Yes, I can pray once about these things, asking God for guidance and healing, but once I do that and I continue to ruminate and worry, it says:

  • I don’t think God will help me.
  • I don’t trust God.
  • I don’t think God hears me.
  • God doesn’t want to heal or guide me.

and,

  • It doubts God’s ability and power.
  • It says my God isn’t strong enough to fix this, care for me or run my life.
  • That I can do it all myself and figure it out.
  • I don’t need to wait on his timing.

Once I pray about something instead of continuing to worry about it, constantly replaying it to God or thinking about it from a problem view, I need to look at it from a God view.


Over coming a problem mindset in prayer

I pray about everything and anything going on in my life. With my problem mindset, the anticipation that the worst will happen and I will fail, I often worryingly repeat the “prayer” all though-ought the day and even week.

I start with a simple hopeful prayer like Lord, my ankle is really hurting and something is going on with it that I don’t know how to fix. If it is in your will Lord please heal it and take the pain away. strengthen my ankle and guide me in the way to exercise it. If it is not in your will, please guide me if and when I should go to the doctor. Let your voice be clear so that I can discern your guidance and not go ahead or lag behind your timing. But then, my mind takes off and runs with fear in hand, What exercises should I do for my ankle?What doctor should I go to? I wonder whats wrong with it? What is all the noise going on? I should look up these symptoms, Lord please heal my ankle.

Instead of continuing this negative conversation all day, I can choose to think from a God view when worry starts to march in. I can say thank you for healing me and guiding me Lord. Give me patience in this circumstance and discernment to hear your voice. Thank you for your peace and healing power. I trust you to heal and guide me through this situation in your timing.

Overcoming a problem mindset in our actions

Instead of

  • Searching for diagnosis and remedies online, causing unnecessary grief
  • Possibly wasting money and time
  • Habitually nervously nail-biting
  • Excessively planning
  • Going ahead or lagging behind Gods timing
  • Procrastinating
  • Complaining
  • Avoiding
  • Asking my husband what I should do

I can choose to

  • Trust God and be at peace
  • Refuse to search the internet for help and guidance
  • wait on his guidance rather than going ahead of him and asking other individuals input*

*Consulting with others is good and necessary at times but it should be when the holy spirit is guiding us to do so, not fueled by our anxiety and impatience to get answers or guidance from god in his timing.

  • Stop hoping that my detailed planning is optimal timing to get everything crammed in and relax and trust God’s timing and his planning and that everything will work out according to his will

Overcoming the problem mindset in our thoughts

Instead of thinking what if my ankle requires surgery? What if the fridge comes tomorrow at a bad time? will we be able to go to church? The dogs will probably be crazy during the delivery.

I can think,

God is healing me, he is good, he is good to me and he is good at being God. His plan and timing is better than mine. Whatever circumstances come my way, it is in Gods plan. His schedule is better than mine because he see and knows everything. So anything that comes my way, even if it is not what I expected, I can rejoice because he planned it and its in his timing. His ways are always better than what I plan, even If I think I’ve planned something better. 

Problem view: thinking that upcoming events will turn out to be bad because of my anticipation that the worst will happen and I will fail
God view: Thinking about the best possible outcome and expecting it to happen, anticipating the event as an opportunity for success.

Simplified Example:

Event: Posting a blog on my website for the public to read

Problem view: I don’t want to post a blog on my website because what if people I know read it and judge me or criticize the content and reject me and talk negatively about me and my site.

God view: But what if the blog helps someone in desperate need of faith. What if the blog succeeds.

  • the God view does not say that the negative things I am worrying about won’t happen, but instead focuses on the positive outcomes of the situation, which outweigh the possible negative outcomes.

What about when the event doesn’t involve a decision to do something but brings fear due to the unknown outcomes?

Example

Event: Unknown delivery time of fridge on Saturday, a long list of things to get done for the two-day weekend, church service at 4:16 pm.

Problem view: The fridge is going to be delivered at the most inconvenient time tomorrow, the dogs are going to out of control when the people arrive, we won’t be able to attend church and we probably wont get everything done we need to because we will be waiting on the fridge.

  • Notice with the problem view, my thoughts have already decided that indeed the fridge is going to not arrive when I want it to. The dogs are in fact going to go crazy and most definitely we will not be able to go to church. These are NOT facts but my fearful thinking has made them facts in my head which leads me to be anxious, annoyed, easily frustrated and upset about the entire situation and not actually even look forward to tomorrow.
  • Running from a problem view leads us to neglect what is right in front of us. If I am dreading the day and am trying to rush through everything so my to-do list is complete so I don’t feel like a failure, I’ll miss that my husband is needing some love and wants to connect with me. I’ll fly by the few quiet minutes I could spend with God. I’ll become easily agitated and push my husband away when things don’t go as I expected.  I don’t want to miss those moments or miss the things right in front of my face.

God view: God has our best interest in mind because he is good. The fridge will come at the perfect time and whatever God wants us to do, he will provide us the resources and guidance to do so.

  • The God view doesn’t rise hopes and expectations with false outcomes. It doesn’t say that the fridge will come at 10 am when I want it to and we will get everything done that I have on my to do list. It doesn’t say yes indeed we will get to go to the 4:16 pm service that I have planned nor will our day be perfect. Hoping for the outcomes WE want is optimistic but it excludes God and most likely what we want wont happen. The God view acknowledges that the fridge might not come at all, we might do nothing I planned and maybe we go to a later service.
  • If I truly embrace and live with this god view in mind, rather than dreading tomorrow and being easily agitated, I can spend the day at peace not worrying about what we get done or what will happen and go with the flow. When I notice that my husband is wanting to spend time with me by watching a t.v show, I can cuddle up next to him rather than saying sorry, I’ve got a 100 other things to do.

Whatever God has planned it is best for us because ultimately his agenda is better than mine. He may be protecting us, blessing us, teaching us, bringing a trial our way or being quiet so he can test us. Either way, whatever happens, I am prepared and equipped, fully capable because God is with me. He is in me providing strength and courage. I don’t need to fear today or tomorrow. I can trust that whatever happens will be exactly what I need, even if I don’t see or understand that right away. Whatever happens or is happening is his plan. he controls circumstances, we don’t. I don’t need to be worried or fearful of any circumstance or decision that comes my way or is surrounding me

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” {Matthew 6:33-34} NLT

The circumstances and timing of the things around me are what God has planned for me. I don’t need to be worried or afraid of whats going to happen, God is in control.

 

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