Our society is marked by busyness. Bursting schedules and activity-packed days squeeze out essential time for rest and rejuvenation. What suffers? Our sleep, peace, and healthy connections with God, self, and others ultimately pay. The high cost of loss mounts in our attempts to keep pace with the bustling world around us and can result in anxiety.
We sometimes succumb to the lure of multi-tasking, trying to recoup losses. Doing too much in too little time yields the opposite effect. Playing into the hands of “catch-up” drains energy, erodes focus, and elevates anxiety levels. It frays nerves like the loose ends of open and ongoing projects we don’t complete.
Does this sound familiar? It is a scenario for frustration, stress, and anxiety to enter and wreak havoc on an individual, a family, a business, a life. There must be something better, though it may contradict culture and much of what we have trained ourselves to adopt as “normal.”
God, however, has invited us, through Scripture, to harness the power of focus on “one thing.” This principle of “one,” that is a singular focus, builds an arsenal against the anxiety that would otherwise destroy us from the inside out.
The Father knows what we don’t, but He shares His wisdom freely. He welcomes us to ask, seeking the Word for Heavenly strategies and solutions for earth problems. It’s up to us to apply what we mine. Together, let’s explore those gems in today’s article.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5
The One Focus: Drop anxiety
The book of Hebrews tells us that when we are burdened, the one thing that we need to do is abandon the weight and sin that halt our progress. They trap us on the “hamster wheel” of redundancy, recycling dysfunction.
Sometimes, we don’t realize how we have stuffed our lives with preoccupations, whether food, activity, spending, or possessions. There is nothing wrong with enjoying these, but we deprive ourselves of the benefits and rewards of wellness when we deny the rest, recreation, and reflection that help us to balance and steward such gifts.
The compounded effects of excess serve to deplete our best resources of health, stamina, peace, and joy. Instead of replenishing, we find ourselves deluged under conditions that trigger and escalate anxiety.
Thankfully, when we release obstructions to our Savior, we receive Jesus’ invitation to refocus and narrow our gaze on the One who matters most. The cacophony of the world’s call may remain as background din, but we can learn to zone in on the Messiah, aligning with the sound of Heaven to reset our minds and bodies with Him.
Therefore…let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith. – Hebrews 12:1-2
Be Still and Know
Acknowledge His God-ness in tranquil moments where you deliberately pull aside in a lunch break or spontaneously pull over on the side of the road. Quiet your anxious heart by exchanging what perplexes you for what you do know. Allow yourself the following:
- rehearse aloud God’s goodness through scriptural affirmations,
- meditate on His character, and
- declare thanks, perhaps in a gratitude journal.
Stop striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted on the earth. – Psalms 46:10
Combat Anxiety: Return to Rejoicing!
When your life resembles a cyclone and you cannot incorporate another thing, worship! Turn on your music, lift your voice, and break out your best impromptu dance moves. Not only does this interrupt the frenzied spiral of anxious thoughts, but it defies the enemy who zaps your joy and strength while releasing life’s tornadoes to God.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. – James 1:2
This exemplifies an in-the-moment response to James’ admonition. He urged us to punctuate joyful moments into difficult seasons that are peppered with fear, anxiety, restlessness, and worry. Creating a worship-filled life, even in the moments of despair, recalibrates our hearts. The Psalmist noted this “one thing,” and we too can experience unrestricted peace and joy when we align our aspirations and actions with the Father’s Heart.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. – Psalms 27:4 (emphasis added)
The One Breath
Without the breath, and that includes the Breath of God, the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing. When we center our attention on Him, everything else aligns. It takes practice in this evolving relationship with God, but He welcomes us into the path of growth, one day, one moment, one breath at a time.
Being aware of your breath and its pace can serve as a powerful tool. It enhances awareness and underscores the importance of focusing on the “one thing” that matters most in the moment. Healthy coping such as breathwork trains our attention on the Lord’s protective presence while supporting and strengthening us. It calms the body, soothes the mind, and fortifies the spirit.
Embracing rest in God serves as an act of warfare against our enemy. Such practices, when rooted in the finished work of Christ, enable us to note the presence of anxiety and disturbing thoughts without being consumed by them.
Know this and recognize that you already possess the “one thing” needed to begin. God’s Holy power works in and through you to build your spiritual and practical armor in crushing all foes, including anxiety. Contact one of our therapists today. We want to support you with expanding your artillery, whether through a mindfulness practice or other anxiety-conquering strategies.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
For it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure. – Philippians 2:13
The One Action
As we reinforce the victory we have in Christ and over anxiety, we may need to redistribute the excess in our schedules and apportion it out for other times or seasons. Seeking God for wisdom will reveal “one thing” where God invites us to set aside anxiety-inducing encumbrances and focus our attention and efforts on what He wants us to pursue.
Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14
Cut anxiety’s influence in your life by implementing micro-changes. Your one action in any of the following three areas can result in noticeable shifts. Examine where you can modify what you do (the actual activities), as well as the how (the manner and method), and the when (the timeline).
- Consider the what of your activity. Is it necessary? Determine its priority and adjust as needed.
- Consider the how of your manner and method. Ponder how you can engage your circle to share the responsibilities and joys of daily rudiments, for example, with chores, caregiving, or carpooling.
- Consider the when of your timeline. Is this the appropriate season to pursue? Can your activity shift to another day of the week or a scheduled time when you can apply attention and intention to your project?
When anxiety heightens, we errantly perceive God’s blessings as burdens; but we don’t have to remain trapped there. He invites us to rejoice in Him and celebrate, in the gift of the present, all He has made for us.
This is the day which the Lord has made; Let’s rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalms 118:24
As we break our partnership with anxiety and reaffirm our covenant of peace, we may sometimes fall forward and toddle into new ways of being with God, ourselves, and others. We learn to vaporize the anxiety that would otherwise cloud our minds and view of our Loving Father. We feast on His daily bread, and thereby, grow in His grace.
We acknowledge you as our Provider of all we need each day. – Matthew 6:11
Gifted with fresh mercy and provision, we have access to the Father’s limitless supply for every need in every situation. We are privileged to live richly with an ever-patient God, blessed with His wisdom, peace, and compassion, one focus, one breath, one action at a time.
The Lord’s acts of mercy indeed do not end, For His compassions do not fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23
“How Are You Really?”, Courtesy of Finn, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Stressed”, Courtesy of Angelica Reyes, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Touch the Sun”, Courtesy of Marc Olivier Jodoin, Unsplash.com, CC0 License “Hope”, Courtesy of Carl Hunley Jr., Unsplash.com, CC0 License