I have been thinking lately about fear, anxiety and worry.
In fact, I've been experiencing this fun little trifecta quite a bit as I go throughout my days.
I am sure the world has felt this shaky and uncertain before but I certainly don't remember it during my lifetime.
A global pandemic ...
Fresh, painful, almost daily reminders that our country still bears the deep wounds of racism ...
A toxic political environment ...
All combine to create fertile soil in which fear can take root and grow like a late-summer weed.
This sentence that has stuck in my mind as of late:
"A relentless effort to seize control is a basic element of fear and anxiety."
I read that and a sly smile crossed my lips. "Who, me? Relentlessly try to seize control of the universe? Well, I never ..."
But of course it is true.
Is it true of you?
When the world spins faster and faster, when chaos reigns, when even the simplest of things no longer feel manageable, don't you want to double-down on control, too?
The problem with this very understandable plan is that it sets us up for even more fear and anxiety than we originally experienced.
If a "relentless effort to seize control" is a basic element of fear, then it certainly seems that the better strategy when we feel fearful is something that looks and feels like a softening, a yielding, a kind of surrender.
Ponder this today whenever fear, anxiety or worry bubble up in your soul. Remember that control is an illusion at best, and a thief of your joy and peace at worst.
Instead, open your hands, take a few slow, deep breaths and,
* What can I do to soften?
* How can I yield control rather than grasp for it?
* What kind of relentless effort do I need to surrender?
* What might God want me to learn in this moment of fear?