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I admit to approaching this topic with a fair amount of trepidation. How does talk about anxiety without sounding either judgemental or too understanding? And I don’t know. I don’t know if I can approach this topic with the understanding that it needs. But I’m willing to try, but in the end … it matters.
I need to tell you that I can see both sides of this picture. I can see that meds play a role in recovery, but I also very much see lack of trust in God being a big issue. Sometimes both play a role .. you know? I know that it hurts my heart when I see people struggling and it seems (this from the outside looking in) that people don’t want to get better. That they want to keep moping about or working themselves into a frenzy of fret.
I know there are times that I could choose to mope around, or fret myself to sickness, I could. But having suffered as a young adult going to college, and seeing a shrink.. I’ve learned that I have choices.
I can choose to fret or I can choose to take one day at a time. I can choose to not overload myself, I can choose to recognize the signs that I am “getting a bit bent”. I have learned the feeling distant from God means I need to do some soul searching.
I have learned to say “tomorrow is another day, let’s put this one to rest” and to just let a bad day be a bad day and let it go, because in the end God has my back, he’s in control and he reminds me of that continually.
So I look at myself, and how I can struggle, and I look at others who have been checked over to know that medically there isn’t an issue… so I wonder… what have they not learned to let go of? What is making them sink into a hole? Why are they not turning every moment over to God.. cause trust me, I’ve had moments when I’ve had to give things over to God all day long. Struggling to get past stuff…. until I see a brighter picture…a picture given by the Lord. Or a smile or a bunny nose in my face or …. whatever it is that God gives to help me gain perspective.
If I can do it… why can’t others? What makes the difference?
And honestly, I don’t know.. but I do know that sometimes I want to give people a swift kick in the pants (not that, that helps) but it’s just I so want them to strive to find God just a bit more. And I recognize that sometimes having medical help gets them closer.
To see how sin either done to them or that they have committed can cause a hole inside that turns into fear or fret or distrust or guilt or whatever. Sin plays a huge role in us… affecting us in different ways. Sometimes that sin is evident in how our bodies are put together, making them not work correctly (chemical or hormonal imbalances). Sometimes sin is evident in how we are emotionally put together, unable to gain balance and perspective. Sometimes, having something to care for helps a whole bunch, for instance people who have PTSD having a dog to help them get through the day.. or the cat ladies we all like to joke about… but it helps them get through the day.
And that’s all you need you know… you need to just get through the day, cause tomorrow holds so many possibilities.
I cannot kick people, I cannot hurry people, I cannot ignore people struggling.
I can advise them though, talk to God, keep talking to him, all day long, tell him you are sad, ask him to help you see something, anything, that you can see and focus on other than the mental or emotional pain. Every single minute of the day if you must.
God hears our prayers, all we need do is listen.
Here I sit, thinking about how do I relate this to a homeschool context? Why, for instance, did I ever even bring this up?
Well…I have a lad who apologies for absolutely everything.. seriously. My friends think it’s hilarious, but I find it partially annoying and partially worrisome.. this lad often fears he’s messed up somehow. He’s a great young man, I kid you not. Kind, caring, eager to help because he wants to not just because he has to, smart and curious. So what am I doing to help him see it’s okay to mess up? To not have to worry about keeping everyone happy?
Teach your children that tomorrow is another day. God has this one covered, and one bad day doesn’t mean they all are. So just because you have one day where you felt like you messed up, doesn’t mean it needs to continue.
Listen to them. Ask good questions. Dig deeper. Help them to examine their lives to see if there is anything they need to bring before the Lord. When my lad says “I didn’t keep my promise”, that’s something to apologize for to me, but his lack of follow through he needs to confess to the Lord.
Help your child to claim what is theirs and to be aware of what is NOT theirs to claim. For instance, when my lad and I are not seeing eye to eye, he’ll apologize for making me angry. That’s not his to claim, that’s MY BAD not his. Regardless of anything else he may have done.. I am responsible for how I behave…not him. God wants us looking into our own hearts, not into the hearts of others. We are responsible for our faith journeys, and are to encourage others through theirs, not placing stumbling blocks in their path.
Teach your child (or even yourself) to talk to the Lord when you/he/she starts to worry on something. To do it immediately and to keep handing whatever it is right back to him, and focusing on what the Lord has done. Turning a concern or worry into a prayer.
Mind how you talk.. I’ve learned when I’m curious about why the lad does something to say “I don’t need a sorry, but just curious about why you did thus and such.” This opens the door to him explaining his thinking and helps me to see his heart a bit more.
If something is making you or your child anxious, how can you break it down for them? Can you give smaller amounts of work to make it more doable.. instead of having 8 pages to today, can you do two and spread the work load out over a week? Can you go to a play date for an hour and then go home again? Can you go for a walk instead of a hike (changing the terminology)? Can you take one bite of a new food (instead of insisting on a whole meal)? Can you learn to make one food item really, really well, with all it’s differences, in order to foster an interest in trying new things?
Take your time, anxiety wasn’t built in a day. It won’t disappear in a day either, give yourself and your children good coping skills, and develop your faith in God all the more.
The SchoolhouseTeachers.com has some links on anxiety as well AND is a great place for schooling your students. Right now the harvest sale is going on so it’s worth checking it out eh?
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