Anxiety and Community

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Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

In the world of Christianity, you will most often hear, just give it to God. You will also hear, these scriptures 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” and Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Here’s one more many recite in times of crisis, it’s found in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Although, these scriptures will give you peace (when you receive them) for all your concerns, they can also come across cold and churchy at times too.

My anxiety level for the past four months has been all over the place between trying to sell our house in Georgia, looking for a home church here in Florida, having one vehicle for our family of six, and wondering where in the world we are going to live.

It’s a weird place to be. If there was such a place as purgatory that is where I feel I’m at. Everything is on hold and I’m just sitting here waiting.

Cast means, to throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction. Yes, I’ve done this and peace comes, but after a week or so when I see no movement and no answers anxiety creeps in again!

I’ve learned when the feelings of anxiety overtake me I turn on worship music and pray. When the music isn’t penetrating my thoughts like I need it to I send out a S.O.S. to a few of my family members.

Don’t try to battle anxiety on your own! God did not create us to walk alone. He desires us to hold each other up when our brother or sister is too weak to stand.

My mama sent me this story a couple months back. It really shows the power of support.

When a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent and basically act like a pack of fierce bodyguards.

They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they’ll have to get through forty tons of female aggression first.

When the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things: they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and then they all start trumpeting, a female celebration of new life, of sisterhood, of something beautiful being born in a harsh, wild world despite enemies and attackers and predators and odds.

Wow, what a visually….and in the subject line of my Mama’s email, “I’ve got you Sissy.” Talk about the water works flowing!

God knew I didn’t need another scripture, I already knew His promises, but they weren’t piercing through my thick scull. Instead, I just needed to know someone was going to battle for me when I was down and too weak to fight for myself.

I’m sharing all of this to say, the next time someone shares their fears and worries with you, don’t be quick to blurt out a scripture. Instead, pause a moment. Only God knows what that person needs. Yes, it could be a Bible verse or it might just be open ears, closed lips, and a tight embrace.

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Perfection Can Be Toxic!

Perfection The church community has preached for years to strive for perfection. We are imperfect humans living in an imperfect world, yet we should strive for perfection because God is perfect and we were created out of his image. This image of perfection can be toxic. We will never achieve perfection until we reach heaven, so therefore we are continually setting ourselves up for failure.

If you would have asked me a couple of weeks a go, “Bethany are you a perfectionist?”  I would have replied quickly no, are you kidding me. I have four kids running around my house 24/7, how can I do anything perfect, but after spending some time with God…He revealed areas in my life I didn’t want to acknowledge and one of those areas was a hunger to be “perfect”.

I have personally learned that this desire to do everything perfect has added large amounts of anxiety and stress, not only to my life, but to my husband and children’s as well.

We are taught early on, “Practice makes perfect.” Does it really? I’m not sure of that. I like what my daughter’s preschool teacher taught her instead, “Practice makes better!”

Free yourself from this heavy burden! We are human, we will mess up over and over again, and that’s okay. Through our weakness God can be glorified. I say instead of perfection, strive for excellence. Excellence is the quality of being outstanding or extremely good, but not perfect!