more thoughts on anxiety

September 19, 2013

Barn - Keely's photosGood morning to you!

I mentioned last week, that I would share a bit about my journey in dealing with anxiety. It has been surprising how often the subject of pride has come up in this process so far. As I have delved deeper into some of the causes of my encounters with anxiety, I really did not want to share them as they do not reflect the image I desire to portray – by the way that is called “image management” and is not a good thing.

A lot of good has come out of the last couple of weeks as well. As I have acknowledged the anxiety and began to push past my pride and image management to look clearly at the causes, I am beginning to better manage it when it begins to occur. I recognize it earlier, deal with it head on, and the “spells” are getting shorter and shorter.

Now as to some of the causes that I have uncovered so far. I am an INTJ by the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. That means I am someone who processes internally and thinks a lot – a lot. And I spend a lot of time planning and thinking about the future or reflecting on and evaluating the past (not nearly enough on the present). Sometimes that thinking on the future can become “what are all the things that can go wrong” – which is a long list by the way. Reflecting on the past becomes evaluating on past actions which becomes thinking of all the ways I could have done something better. Those two things not handled properly can cause a bit of anxiety.

A year ago, I left Life Action Ministries as I was a deputized missionary (I raised my own funding to pay my salary) and after eleven years the funding dried up, so I was forced to look for a job. Leaving an organization where you have served for twelve years, that you care about and are invested in and know how things work and then going to a new organization (Ambassador Enterprises) where you are the “newbie” among some incredibly smart and talented people was incredibly challenging. I went from knowing my job well and coaching others, to being the rookie – that was hard and much harder than I had anticipated emotionally. Ambassador has been great to me and very welcoming, so it has been my issue not theirs. Again, one root of this is pride as I did not want to be the rookie again, I wanted to be the one who had the answers.

The next cause I will mention today is the “fear of man” (click here to read an article on this subject). I have found myself overly concerned what others think of me, especially those that are my authorities. Here at Ambassador I work for the CEO who is a great guy. He has exceptionally high standards (more for himself than others), very intelligent, and not bashful at all about “coaching” you when you need it. His coaching is usually timely, needed, and accurate, but it still stings. I have often found my self anxious about what he (and others) think about what I have to say and how I do things. That’s not healthy. Of course we want to be doing things well and in accordance with what our authorities (bosses) want, but there is a healthy approach and an unhealthy approach that causes anxiety.

So, so far, I have identified three things impacting me:

1. Allowing my internal processing (future planning and the evaluation of the past) to take on a negative aspect. NOTE: This is, in my opinion and for me, rooted in how closely I am walking with the Lord at that point and how much I am actually putting my trust in Him.

2. Pride – plain and simple. When pride rears its ugly head, the consequences are always negative.

3. Fear of man – this is actually a subset of pride if you will. Overly concerned with what others think of me.

There are more things I am discovering, but this is where I am today.

Blessings on the rest of your week!
BG

One response to more thoughts on anxiety

  1. 

    Coincidentally, I listened to this last night:

    http://fellowshiproswell.org/series/trust/?video=video1

    It was simple, powerful, and timely.

    I find that much, if not all of my anxiety is rooted in self-trust: believing in my ability to control my destiny.

    Ironically I often struggle with regret at not having better controlled my destiny: the what if choices in life that you relive in your mind.

    I also tend to try to blame people in my life during my formative years for not having better mentored my direction in life. It would seem that much anxiety for me is also rooted in deep-seated discontent with, self, others, God. Then I talk to people who grew up without a father, and realize how blessed I am to have had a godly father, albeit an imperfect one.

    I was struck in the sermon last night at the context of David’s life when he writes this Psalm 56. The speaker points out that although David was anointed by God to be king, he spent perhaps 8-10 years in hiding, being pursued by King Saul. In many ways David went from being the hero to being the vagabond. So God’s anointing of him must have seemed like a double edged sword at times: “God, if I am to be king, why am I running.” and… “God, I can trust what you’re doing because you anointed me to be king and haven’t yet made good on that promise. But because I know you’re good and always make good on your promises, I can, and will trust you.”

    I’m am convicted that though I don’t understand most of the paths that life has taken me, or what God’s purposes are in them, the good that enjoy amidst the chaos is not of my own making, but is a gracious gift from a Father who is in control. The speaker also points out that the word “gracious” in the Psalm means to stoop. God is the strong, yet gentle father, who stoops to meet his feeble child. I’m reminded of this now every time my son waddles over to me and tugs my pant legs. He’s barely up to my knee, and can’t say intelligible words, yet I know what he want’s: “Daddy, pick me up.” I stoop and scoop the little guy up who so implicitly trusts his dad. Oh if he only knew my feebleness. So I must remember that I who am feeble cry “Abba” to the One who is Sovereign, and the feebleness that my son will one day recognize in his father is better not masked, but rather to point him also to The ONE:

    “This I know, that4 dGod is for me.
    In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; uI shall not be afraid.
    What can man do to me?”
    Psalm 56:9b-11

    Best regards,
    Joel

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