You’ve nearly completed this course on Anxiety and Worry. You can find the whole course by signing up here on the Fill In. Some of my favourite verses are from the book of Colossians, ‘so, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:12-14
The Greek word for “kindness” is chrēstotēs. It means “benignity, tender concern, uprightness.” It is kindness of heart and kindness of act.
One of the areas highlighted in my life recently has been kindness. In a world of cruelty and opinion and frustration, the universal and divine language of kindness helps to drown harsh updates, hungry humans, and wandering souls.
But it doesn’t just happen – in the garden of our hearts, we need to prune, tend, cultivate, and give away the fruit.
I imagine pruning looks something like this description in Ephesians 4:31-32, ‘get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’
Can you imagine if we lived like this?
There are whole lists of kindness we can follow, but we all know those don’t we? I believe it starts with this act of kindness, which, when applied, inevitably affects those around me – the act of being kind to myself.
It’s time to be vigilant on behalf of your own best self, which includes treating yourself as you treat a dear friend. You’re created by God, made in His image and loved beyond measure. God is calling you today to be kind to yourself, to acknowledge your beauty and God-given gifts.
Kindness allows silence and hears a whisper of worth over your soul.
Kindness allows questions, doubt, and grief.
Kindness rushes in like a parent over their hurting child.
Kindness takes the opportunity to free your baggage.
Kindness affects your whole being with both nurture (caring) and action (motivating).
Kindness recognises that you are created with qualities that are a blessing to others – what are yours?
Be kind to yourself today; it looks good on you,
Ok, so anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety for years.
Everyone is different, and I have had various forms of anxiety throughout my life. One form of anxiety I experience is what I refer to as ‘Night Attacks’ (not a technical term). For those who know me, you may be surprised to even hear that I struggle with anxiety. I’m told regularly by people that they are in awe of how much responsibility I can handle. But, the truth is, yes, during the day, I rarely experience anxiety. It’s not until everyone in my house is asleep, I’m left with my own thoughts that it begins. I am either trying to fall asleep or have fallen asleep, and my mind begins to replay many different things going on in my life. For example, I may start by thinking about what my teenager is struggling with and then feel like I am helpless and cannot resolve his situation. This then evolves into thoughts about work, how I am behind with different tasks and deadlines that are out of my control. This train of emotions then takes the same twisty negative thought process to my relationship and any insecurities I can cling to. I second guess all areas of my life, and without even trying my heart begins to race, my body is sweating, my chest and or jaw ache from irregular breathing, it almost feels as if I am having a heart attack. And the scariest part is how everything feels life and death.
My feelings about life at 12am can be the polar opposite at 8am. Waking up after experiencing a night of anxiety at times has made me feel crazy. When I think about the same topics during my morning coffee, I can’t believe how just a few hours before it felt like my whole world was falling apart, and I was indefinitely helpless.
For years I have strategically worked through each episode. Practicing getting out of bed and writing down all my thoughts, or walking to alleviate the shots of adrenaline my body is making. Having a warm bath, sometimes a cold shower depending on the season. Breathing exercises have been super helpful and reduced the length of attacks by half.
Recently, I was given a new, starter tool.
When I feel an attack coming on my first reaction now it to say Hello.
I know it’s cheesy. It sounds a little superficial, but honestly, it works, and I’ll tell you why. I have done a fair amount of research into why I experience these attacks, and one reason is because in the past I have had a lot of challenging, sometimes hostile situations I’ve had to deal with. God created our adrenal glands for such occasions. Adrenaline protects us, gives us the ability to decipher the best case scenario to keep us safe. Flight or fight etc. However, at 12am, my bodies natural reaction to a little stress translates into the mega amount of adrenaline. Basically, my body reacts as if I am entering a boxing ring and elevates my gloves ready to block and hit my opponent. The problem is there isn’t anything life-threatening, and my anxiety clings to all topics swimming around my mind.
I have had to give my body and mind permission to have anxiety.
I have learned to be thankful. My adrenaline has helped me through so many difficult situations, and I am very grateful for it. So at 12, 1 or 2am when I am jolted out of a deep sleep or simply feel the first signs of an oncoming attack taking place, I say Hello. Hello, adrenaline. Thank you for coming to protect me, but everything is ok. I acknowledge that this is a chemical reaction, and although I currently do not need the help, I appreciate that my body is designed to keep me safe. As soon as I start thinking these positive, affirming thoughts, it’s as if I walk out of the arena and back into the sweet, safe comforts of my own home. Don’t get me wrong, I can still have the symptoms of anxiety, but with the relief that this is very temporary and definitely not life-threatening.
Permission. For me, giving my body permission for adrenaline has changed my view and reactions. I feel the word anxiety can be communicated as negative, but this simply isn’t the case. And if we focus on only getting rid of it every time we have anxiety, it’s a perpetual cycle of already failing by experiencing it.
Don’t try and push your anxiety away.
Say Hello, say thank-you and give yourself time to be uncertain. God’s perfect design is there to keep us safe, and above all, you ARE safe. He’s got you.
Meditate and Memorise
‘I will praise the LORD who counsels me, even at night my heart instructs me.’ Psalm 16:7
Listen: Heroes by Amanda Cook