You know that feeling you get when the roller coaster is clicking up the long climb to the top of the tracks? Then it's multiplied 10 times over when you reach the precipice? What about the plummet to the bottom? Then, there is that feeling of weightlessness when your stomach feels like its going for a swim.
It’s all in good fun when you are at the amusement park but when it comes to everyday living, prolonged feelings of anxiousness are not welcome and they are not healthy for you. So what do we do? We all get anxious. How can we cope?
I recently went on a trip to visit my parents and when my plane was scheduled to depart, it just so happened to coincide with the arrival of tropical storm Cindy. As I continually monitored the weather reports, I became more anxious about flying than normal.
We boarded the small 70 passenger regional jet and I kept thinking they might cancel the flight or delay it, but the airline stuck to its schedule. As the plane was pushed back, I could see dark clouds hanging through the raindrops on the window. There was no turning back. The plane taxied down the runway and the pilot announced that there could be some turbulence on take-off, so we should keep our seatbelts pulled tight. Talk about a nervous flier, that was me.
To my surprise, the plane took off without any difficulty and the pilot maneuvered in and through the clouds without much turbulence. It was a relatively smooth flight. During the 2 hours of cruising altitude, I watched the bright white tops of the clouds pass by below and the deep blue sky above. I began to give thanks to God for the opportunity to travel and visit my loved ones.
I thought about how my life was so blessed and that my parents were still alive and healthy. My thanksgiving continued as I looked around the cabin at the other passengers. How many of them were traveling for leisure or family and how many were traveling for work?
One thing I noticed as I continued to give thanks, was my anxiousness had completely disappeared. It reminded me of the scripture found in Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This peace that came over me was a direct result of giving thanks to God. I tried it again on my way home and it worked like a charm.
On another occasion, I was given the opportunity to speak at my church. It had been 5 years since I had done anything like that. As the days drew near, my anxiety levels began to rise. I thought back to some of my conversations I had with God on the airplane and I remembered to give thanks even in the small things. Once again, a peace came over me and the anxiousness disappeared.
Let me encourage you today! The next time you are feeling anxious about anything, start talking to God! Tell Him about how you feel and what you are going through, then start thanking Him! Thank Him for everything, even if only for the air you breathe. Thank Him for His marvelous works of creation. Thank Him for your family and the fact that He loves you with an everlasting love.
It is amazing the difference that you will feel. When you get anxious, remember to simply give thanks to God for who He is, and what He has already done for you. The more you thank God, the more of His peace you will experience in times of anxiousness.