Trading Anxiety for Peace

When was the last time a real threat triggered your anxiety?

Yesterday I faced a tense situation at work.  I had to keep my emotions in check to remain professional.  Yet my anxiety churned inside and I had a hard time keeping myself under control.  I was edgy, quiet, and humorless.  I’m sure my smiles looked forced.

After the situation was resolved, my pent-up anxiety leaked out in weird ways.  I felt inexplicably grouchy for almost an hour.  I got a little snappy, and I withdrew into a small project where I could block everything out.  During this hour of leaky anxiety, I didn’t really feel in control of myself.  My emotions were overriding my normal calm, composed demeanor in ways I didn’t understand, but I couldn’t stop.

Later in the day, I remembered something I heard on a recent Grit-N-Grace Girls podcast.  When your system is flooded with adrenaline, your body needs about 45 minutes to process it.  That’s why I felt so tense even after the situation was resolved.  My body was at war with my mind, screaming, “This adrenaline has to be processed one way or another!” The fight-or-flight chemical residue leaked out in my negative behavior.

I’m not beating myself up for how I acted yesterday.  I will apologize to those who I snapped at, and I know they will be understanding.  I can grant myself grace because God created my body to respond to anxiety triggers.  A quick burst of adrenaline-fueled energy will allow me to take cover or fight.  That’s okay because God wants me to protect myself.

And I’m thankful I remembered to shoot up some arrow prayers.  I prayed that God would reign over the situation and take control.  Prayer helped me carve out a peaceful space inside the tension.

When was the last time a perceived threat triggered your anxiety?

If I’m being honest, perceived threats trigger my anxiety more often than real threats.  I worry about money.  I worry about my children’s futures.  I worry about health.  I don’t have good reason to worry, but I worry all the same.

In January I wrote a post about our looming tax bill for this year.  I worried how we will pay it without going into major debt, and I committed the matter to regular prayer.  We normally pay several thousand dollars in taxes, and this year I expected the normal amount to triple. Yesterday morning my husband handed me the final word from the accountant.  All combined, we will pay only $102.00 in taxes this year!

I give God all the credit.  He heard my anxious prayers, saying, “I’ve got this.”  I don’t remember ever having a tax bill that small in the past 20 years.  Though I expected our 2017 tax bill to equal my yearly salary, God said, “No problem.”

After I wrote Christmas Peace for Busy Moms last year, I chose one of the memory verses as my theme verse for 2017.  Since January I’ve been repeating Isaiah 26:3 aloud daily:

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Because I am keeping God’s Word at the top of my mind every day, choosing peace is easier than it used to be.  Remembering to pray in tense moments is more natural now.  Trusting God to handle too-big situations is becoming my new normal.  I thank God for infusing my life with peace when I dwell in His presence.  I’m learning to bear the fruit of peace by abiding in Him.

Questions for you:

How can daily time with God grant you peace to face your anxieties?

Which memory verse helps you conquer anxiety?

 

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  • I love when people share things that help us experience grace in the difficult spaces, Sarah. Yesterday i found myself very upset about a perceived threat and I found that the beat of my heart picked up quickly, the desire to cry was close at hand and the urge to retreat made me want to move. And I noticed, too, as I prayed that those feelings dissipated till I could reason through what bothered me in the first place. 🙂 God is always good. Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings,
    Dawn

    • Sarah

      Thank you dear Dawn! You are a blessing to me!

  • Sarah, I love this post. I often feel anxiety in social situation that I have a hard time backing out of or saying no to because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’m forgiving in friendship, but am learning that there is a stark difference between forgiveness and guarding my heart. When I pray into the anxiousness of “that” text message I’m reading …He gives me a peace in the pause to reply. I wonder if, even though I didn’t know it took 45 minutes to process …He did! He was giving me that pause I didn’t know I needed! He’s so amazing like that. Happy Tuesday! #TestimonyTuesday Megs

    • Sarah

      I totally understand, Meg. Social situations often provoke my anxiety too. God helps me in those pauses too. Blessings to you, friend!

  • Love how God stepped up and reminded your anxious heart that prayer would bring peace… I can relate with this so much! And sometimes the smallest things are the things that trigger a bout of anxiety… I really do keep learning that the more I give it to Him to carry, the more I am free to move into my day free of it.
    Such a great reminder of grace too. Thanks for posting this today, Sarah! Visiting from #TeaAndWord and the #RaRaLinkup

    • Sarah

      Hi Christine, thank you for visiting! Blessings to you this week.

  • Sarah, this is so true! My imagination can run away with me faster than an Olympic runner! And most of what I imagine never comes to pass. Thankfully, over the years I have learned to get hold of my thoughts and most times, I am only successful as I remember a verse or two. Wonderful and truth-filled post!

    • Sarah

      Thank you Joanne! Blessings to you 🙂

  • I struggle with this a lot right now, while in the process of divorce. My go-to verse right now is Jeremiah 29:11. I am getting to the point where it is more natural to pray in these moments, as well. Thankfully I now know that God is always there for us!

    • Sarah

      I’m sorry for you in your struggle now, Elaine. Praying a blessing upon you today. Thank you for your visit!

  • Yes, our posts are similar. 🙂 My go-to verse in times of perceived threat is Psalm 112:6-7 – the righteous will have no fear of bad news.

    • Sarah

      Looking that one up right now, Jennie!

  • Naomi Fata

    It depends on what I am struggling with for what verse I run to. Sometimes Philippines 4 ‘I will be anxious for nothing.’ Or sometimes I have irrational fears and I feel anxious about moving forward, then God brings me to the verse in Timothy – the promise that He gives me a Spirit of love power and a sound mind – not a spirit of fear.
    But by His grace is I confront the anxiety with Scripture He helps me overcome!

    • Sarah

      Both of those scriptures you mention are so encouraging, Naomi. Thank you for sharing them!

  • Hyla @hylaandpeterechols.com

    I’m sharing this awesome post!

    • Sarah

      Many thanks!

  • Sarah, what an awesome post! Thank you for sharing your story. You are right – our body needs time to process things. Even when one isn’t flooded with adrenaline, there is still nervous energy that has to have an outlet. This is why people develop “nervous habits”.

    • Sarah

      Thank you Lauren!

  • Sarah, I loved this! Thank you!

    • Sarah

      Thanks Leslie! Love that you’re part of my FB group also!

  • Sarah,
    How encouraging; Praising God with you 🙂 Isa. 41:10 is a favorite.

    • Sarah

      Dolly, thanks for visiting. I love that verse too!

  • Thanks for that practical tidbit about needing 45 minutes for the effects of the adrenaline to wear off. That’s just good to know.

    • Sarah

      Yes, it has helped me so much since I learned it! Highly recommend that weekly podcast.

  • Karen

    I think sometimes offering grace to myself is the biggest struggle. Allowing myself time to process anxiety and giving my body time to respond is hard. I’m such a doer that I want things finished right away. Your blog is food for thought! thanks

    • Sarah

      Hi Karen, thank you for visiting today! I agree, offering grace to myself is often hard, but God is helping me!

  • Abby

    Hi Sarah, the candidness of this post is so refreshing. Thank you for sharing. That verse from Isaiah is one I’ve held onto during several stressful seasons of life. Congrats on your new book!

    • Sarah

      Thank you Abby! Honesty is one of my best qualities, and I’m glad God gave it to me as a gift. Blessings to you!

  • Debbie Kitterman

    Hi Sarah – I am behind in comments, we are neighbors this week at #WomenWithIntention I just wrote about peace this week, once on my video blog and again on my linkup. It seems, we are all needing a little more peace and grace in our lives at this time. LOL I appreciate what you said about needing to give ourselves grace and allowing our bodies to respond to the pressures it is exposed to. Wow 45 minutes, asure seems like a long time, but then again, not all that long either. Congratulations on your new book as well! That is fantastic. Plus its such a great topic to write about. Blessings on you and your book.

    Also, I would love if you would consider linking up to my
    NEW Thursday Party #TuneInThursday it stays open until Sunday. You can find it
    here: http://debbiekitterman.com/blog/

    (Please feel free to delete the link if you feel it is
    inappropriate to post here).

    • Sarah

      Thanks so much, Debbie! I love finding more linkups, and I am very glad my post resonated with you. Glad to meet you, friend! Adding you to my weekly linkup list.

    • Debbie Kitterman

      Sarah I am so honored you linked-up with #TuneInThursday this week, and I look forward to have you do so in the future. It was a good reminder to come read this post again and repeat again Prayer Nips anxiety in the bud! Thanks for sharing

  • I know this anxiety game all too well. Interesting about adrenaline taking 45 minutes to process through your physical system. Anxiety does work itself out in many strange ways that we sometimes don’t connect. Your posters got me thinking about this.

  • Meghan Weyerbacher

    Girl were you in my head?? Yesterday was like this for me whew. I love how God is calming, a perfect Father when we go to Him. Amen!

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