When Feeling Worried & Anxious

I am always amazed at how my child reveals the condition of my heart just by surveying me through the lens of his truthful, pure, innocent eyes.

It was a weekend, a day for the great outdoors. I was hurriedly putting my makeup on in the hallway when my three-year-old son suddenly appeared beside me and declared matter-of-factly, “Mom, you look worried.” It dawned on me that he had been observing me all this time.

“Worried.” A word I defined to my toddler when, on another occasion, he told me ever so softly, “Mom, don’t be angry.” I explained patiently to him that I was not angry at all, just a bit worried. That being worried was different from being angry.

I wasn’t entirely sure if he grasped the concept as I didn’t expand on it, and he merely uttered, “Mommy, be happy again.” But by my facial expression, the tautness of my body and the overflow of my heart, my toddler learned the meaning of the word and the emotion attached to it.

***

On this particular day in the hallway, he recognized the expression—-the contouring of the facial lines, the heaviness in my heart. He had seen it before. I was, in fact, more than worried. I was anxious that day.

I was anxious about the hundred things in my to-do lists which seemed to be hovering over my head and wearing me down no matter how much I promised myself to switch off.

Work felt like drudgery—dull and meaningless. I was worried I wasn’t doing motherhood justice by how much I fussed about the little things. I felt like I wasn’t connecting with the people outside my small family as much as I was meant to and even if I wanted to, where would I find the time?

The creative side of me was withering because I wasn’t intentionally making time to nurture it. I was guilty of spending so much time scrolling my phone mindlessly and getting lost in the rabbit hole we call the internet more than I would like to admit. I was running low on faith, joy and love, and clarity and purpose

What to do when worried and anxious

I knew one thing was needed. I needed to quiet my soul and rest my heart on Jesus. Matthew 6 is where I always find the antidote for all the worries and anxiety crippling my heart and soul.

I came back again to this chapter in the bible reading the words softly and letting God’s promises wash the worries away, melt the discontentment building up in me and redirect my heart to my purpose.

This verse always resets my priorities and always corrects the trajectory of my heart.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


~ Matthew 6:33

Reflections

As I was reading through Matthew 6, the realization dawned on me that I was trying to make all these worries the “first” in my life. That all these concerns were all trying to take the number one spot in my heart they weren’t meant to take. Thus, the gap, the empty feeling of chasing after the wind, the restlessness.

There is only ONE thing for me to seek, and this should not be at the mercy of the rest on my list. God promises that all these OTHER things—my dreams, my hopes, my passions—will be added to my life, but nothing should come above seeking God.

God also promises that my basic needs are taken care of—what I will eat, what I will drink, what I will wear. What an assurance! And this, too, is a beautiful reminder that worrying should never be an attitude to cultivate:

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 6:27

At the end of my quiet time, I completely surrendered to God all the things which needed to be accomplished and asked Him to give me the kind of focus I so badly needed to get things done in order of priorities. The blessing of surrendering is the peace that comes after it, the peace that vanishes the fear of not accomplishing anything and not moving forward.

I also surrendered all the concerns of my heart, from the little wishes to the big dreams. I asked for the pruning of attitude and habits which were not helping me live my fullest life for His glory.

I’m writing this reflection to serve as a reminder that whenever I feel worried, it’s a prompt for me to turn that thing I’m worrying about into worship, it’s a cue for prayer, it’s a reset of my ONE thing—to seek God first, and all the other things will fall into their proper place and priority level.

My encouragement is for you to try and do the same. 🙂

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