Finding happiness 

Happiness is a feeling; a deep emotion that comes hard for those with anxiety, those with depression, those who can’t say no to people, those who are stressed for whatever reason…happiness can be tough for a million different reasons. But when you find it, it’s an amazing feeling. 
The definition of Happiness reads as follows: 

1.the quality or state of being happy.

2.good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.

So if you’re one that’s struggling with finding joy in your life, I’m sure you’re wondering how to find that happiness again. As a person that struggled with all the above reasons (and still does struggle with some), I’m here to share how I found that happiness in my life again. 

1.prayer 

I pray daily for God to help me in all aspects of my life. One of my specific prayers was help with the anxiety, the depression, and lack of joy in my life. We all know prayer doesn’t bring instant results but prayer still works. Here I am today happy as can be. 

2.grace

Without grace, we are nothing. Without God, we are nothing. Combine God and His grace, we have everything, including happiness. 

3.prayer warriors 

When you ask for special prayer, be picky about who you ask. You want people to pray with you that believe in the same things you believe. You wouldn’t want a stranger’s help with praying that God heals you of a certain disease. Of course you’d rather have someone close to you, someone that knows you. For me, this meant my mom and those she entrusted to join her in these prayers. 

4.my husband 

If you don’t have your husband’s support, finding contentment in your life will be so much more difficult. I thank God that he gave me Luke. I never would’ve gotten through the rough patch I was in without him. Between his personality and God’s work through him, I knew (and always will know) that I’m in great hands. 

5.willpower

You can’t experience happiness unless you truly want it. You have to maintain the willpower and motivation. It’s like starting a healthy lifestyle; it’s pointless if you’re aren’t 150% committed to getting healthy and fit because you’ll eventually slide off the wagon. If you aren’t fully committed to finding your joy, it’s going to make the journey that much more difficult. 

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭”Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Proverbs 10:28 “The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.”

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Hopy Spirit.”


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Confessions of an anxious Christian

As Christians, sometimes the world expects us to be perfect human beings. I am here to tell you, that’s not the case. No one is perfect, but as Christians we strive to be. We want to please Jesus in every way possible. There are trials and temptations thrown our way no matter how hard we pray. That just means you pray harder, you work harder and you love harder. My trial is anxiety and I KNOW this is something I can overcome but only with the help of God. I’ve done it once; it will happen again. Until that day comes there are things I, as a Christian, go through that people may not understand or even know about. These confessions are what I struggle with, whether it’s spiritually, emotionally, relationally, or mentally.

Confession #1: I’m hard on myself.

As I said earlier, we all strive to be perfect in the eyes of God. Life happens. We slip up in some way. Then we beat ourselves up about it. For me, it’s like a continuous beating  emotionally. I keep apologizing, promising God and myself to be better. Acts 3:19 states “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Deep down, I know this verse to be true but the anxiety inside me continues to scream apologies and promises.

Confession #2: It’s hard for me to say no. 

Even when there are times I want to and need to (no matter what the circumstances), telling people no makes me feel horrible. It feels as if I am letting everyone down regardless of the circumstances. My husband even says “Just tell them no,” which sounds so simple but for me a million questions come to mind. What if they get mad at me? What if they stop talking to me? What if they think I’m a bad person? What if they think “saying no” isn’t something a Christian should do? Aren’t I supposed to be loving everyone the way Jesus does? Would Jesus had said no?

Confession #3: I’m a massive over thinker.

If you haven’t figured that out by now, I over think things. When I say overthink I mean I completely analyze every single situation. What could happen, what will happen (as if I can predict the future or actions of other people), what would happen to me…those are all questions that run through my mind for every scenario. As a Christian, that’s not my job. I shouldn’t be analyzing all the scenarios thrown my way. My job is to give it to God, but if I’m honest it’s not always that easy.

Confession #4: I take things personally.

It’s become hard for me to tell if someone is joking when they make a comment or if they are serious. This is hard for people with anxiety, especially me. No matter what the comment is, you don’t want to make it more awkward and say “Wait, are you kidding around or are we being serious here?” In person, I take comments, conversations, and situations in stride. Once I’m alone where my brain starts running 300 mph or I get home to my husband, it all comes out. I’m either stressing about it in my head, trying to figure things out or blabbing to my husband about it. After all, he is the reason I have learned I take things too personally. Again, just because you know that about yourself, doesn’t make changing it easy. It’s a process, just like controlling anxiety itself or should I say not letting anxiety control you.

Confession #5: I want to be left alone.

Let me explain this one clearly. I don’t mean everyone drives me insane and I want to be stuck in a room 24/7 by myself (although I do have those days). By this confession, I mean there are times my anxiety is so high I feel like I can’t function. I not only want to be alone so I can process my thoughts and get myself together, but sometimes I need that. One thing I have learned is that it’s okay to want and need time to yourself-time to think, time to rest, time to heal, time to handle the anxiety. For me, this can be as simple as a shower, a nap, reading a book for a bit, or just laying down. I think this is a difficult one for people who have never experienced anxiety to understand. As I still work through handling my anxiety, I try harder to make it known why I’m so tired or so stressed or why I have that look my husband says I have on my face when something is wrong.

Anxiety is not an easy fix. Being a Christian with anxiety definitely does not make it easier. But I know God is gracious and I can rely on Him.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” -Psalm 55:22

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” -Hebrews 4:16

 

 

 

 

How To Get and Feel Grace

grace (n): the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

A lot of times we (myself included) think we deserve grace, no questions asked. Sometimes in life, it’s almost as if we get in a certain situation or frame of mind and act before we pray about it. Our number one go to is God. He supplies our needs. It may feel as if our friends, our family, and our coworkers supply us with everything we need but I assure you those things do not come without that bond with God. As christians we don’t have rights to anything. Everything we are given is given to us by God. Yes, God gives us grace but that does not always mean we deserve it. Ephesians 4:7 says “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” God allocates grace for everyone who believes in Him.

Getting and feeling God’s grace goes hand in hand. Think of it as a grace-flow, as my Pastor puts it. Being generous allows us to experience things we never thought possible. This is through God’s grace. Avoiding generosity disheartens your relationship with God. As my Pastor said one morning, “Generosity is based on the overflow of God’s grace and love.” I know being generous is tough at times. Why would you want to be generous to that friend who blew you off by canceling plans at the last minute? Why would you want to be generous to the homeless person asking for help or money when you’re working hard and living paycheck to paycheck? Why would you want to be generous to that coworker that you know isn’t trustworthy? Why would you want to be generous to that person who always tries to turn your world upside down? We’ve all been there-in that situation where we just feel resentment or even hatred towards another person. Yet we still think we deserve grace. Why should we deserve God’s grace if we have these negative feelings towards others, some of those being people we really don’t even know?

So how can we get and feel God’s grace amidst all these things standing in our way? Simple: Love. Forgiveness. Tenderness. Helpfulness. Things we are all familiar with, yet often find it difficult to do. I struggled with forgiveness for months. I had that feeling of hatred towards a person that I knew I shouldn’t have. Yet, I still could not find it in my heart to forgive them. Each time I would feel God’s grace flow through me and God tell me to forgive (which took ALOT of prayer by the way), this person would do something else to bring back all those emotions, including anxiety, I thought were gone. So the cycle began again. I felt the anger, the hatred, and the refusal to ever forgive them. I kept praying. Prayer warriors were praying for me. Then it hit me. God poured his grace into me and I accepted it wholeheartedly. Everything after that was a piece of cake. Forgiveness came, resentment left. Love came, hatred left. Then grace-God’s sweet, amazing grace-it began flowing through me like never before and I find it so much easier to steer away from those pressing questions. I’m not perfect; I still have those thoughts, but they’re brushed away thanks to God’s grace.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  -2 Corinthians 12:9

How I Handle My Anxiety

Let me begin by stating that I am by no means a medical professional. These are things I have learned throughout my journey that I feel led to share with you.

I have been seeing numerous blog posts or videos about anxiety lately and it made me realize it’s more common than I thought. It also made me realize, after reading every single one I come across that I have yet to find one that shares ideas on how to manage anxiety. I’m sure there are some out there but, like I said, God has led me to share my tips.

Here are 5 tips on managing your anxiety:

1. Determine your triggers.

This was a tough one for me starting out on my journey to control my anxiety and quit letting it control me. You may only have one trigger or you can have plenty more. Me? I don’t keep count. Instead, I keep myself aware of these triggers so when they are happening I can do the next things on my list to manage the anxiety that’s coming.

2. Breathe.

Yes this sounds so simple to some. For me, breathing is hard, especially when I feel that tightness in my chest. I won’t lie to you; 99% of the time someone has had to remind me to breathe. That person now of course is my husband but there have been others: my parents, my sister, and friends. Breathing is more than just the natural act that comes to us to stay alive. Calm breathing is what I find to be beneficial. When you experience that trigger or begin to feel the effects of your anxiety, breathe. Breathe deep. Breathe in a way that when you inhale, your stomach comes up and when you exhale, your stomach becomes flat again. When you inhale, hold that breath for 5 seconds before you exhale. Continue this until you feel calmer. This also helps me relax my body so I can actually fall asleep so my brain doesn’t start running 500 mph.

3. Journal

Unless you are interested in hand lettering and a specific type of journaling, there is no need to go run to Pinterest. That was my first mistake. It made “making my journal” too overwhelming. Your journal is just that-yours. It does not matter what it looks like, if you write in it every single day, or log every detail of your life. I use my journal to help process my emotions and determine triggers for my anxiety. I also use it to vent or plan out things I need to say in a certain situation. If someone was to read a page in my journal I’m sure they’d be completely confused, but that’s completely irrelevant. It’s my journal remember? My journal doesn’t have cute handwriting (because I’m not an artsy person) and it’s definitely not organized (because for me that takes up too much time when I need to focus on writing what I’m thinking). Use your journal the way you want.

4. Cry

Yes, you read that right. I said cry. I never said to send yourself into a panic attack cry but crying is helpful, especially when your anxiety is so strong and overwhelming to the point where you don’t know what else to do. Sometimes a good cry is all we need. Just let it all out, whether it’s a sad cry or an angry cry. There’s a song by Matt Hammitt called Tears. This song truly helped me in so many ways learn that it’s okay to cry. Part of the lyrics say this:

“Just let ’em fall, like healing rain
Watch the walls, start crumbling
Let your heart beat, and feel the weight
You’ve carried disappear”

God made tears. They didn’t just appear because we have anxiety or we’re sad. So let them fall. Let them heal you. Sometimes that’s what we need to just feel the weight being lifted off of our shoulders. God doesn’t always need us to speak. Remember: He knows our needs before we even speak them.

5. Pray and read your Bible

I did not put this one last because it’s least important. If I was prioritizing these tips, this would be number one. Prayer is the most important thing in managing your anxiety. Even though God knows our needs before we speak them, we still need to be adamant about prayer. Pray for strength to overcome your anxiety. Pray for courage to handle it even when it’s at its worst. Pray that God will help you. It does not matter where you pray or how you pray. Just pray. I promise He will come through. There are tons of bible verses that talk about anxiety. Find one or use them all. Say them out loud when you feel anxious. Say them out loud when you don’t. Post them in your house in places where you will see them every single day. I am a sticky note person. I will have sticky notes everywhere and not think twice about it. I write scripture on the mirror so I see it every morning I am getting ready and every night when I prepare for bed.

With that being said, I will leave you with this:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7