Rx for Anxiety

Worry. It’s the uninvited guest who kidnaps your concentration and causes your heart to race. It sucks the life out of your days and keeps you up at night.
Friday after Friday, I sit in a hard, uninviting waiting room chair, next to my Dad and trying for the life of me to think of something to do or say that will ease the troubled mind of this man who has been my hero my entire life. But, it’s not just his mind that needs quieting. No, it’s also my own. He’s the patient, but the oncology waiting room can hold us both captive.
We’ve been doing this ill-fated dance with terminal Cancer for 2 ½ years now, and to be honest, my head is starting to spin again. What will the doctor say today? What are the results of Dad’s latest scan? Is the cancer growing again? Will he decide to keep doing the treatments that are sapping the life out of him? Or worse, will he not, because they’re no longer working? Oh God, just please don’t let him cry – I don’t think I can take seeing him cry. And, please oh please, please don’t let me cry. Keep me strong for him, God. I feel like I’m holding my breath and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to truly breathe again. God…I think I’m running out of air.
Tenderly, God reminds me of a well-worn passage,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,  
 let your requests be known to God.” – Philippians 4:6
Now, my Bible doesn’t really record the phrase “WITH THANKSGIVING” in bold capital letters. The words are there, just not with the emphasis with which I see them. But, it’s that emphasis that God impresses me with over and over again when I start to rework worry in my head. It’s as if He’s saying, “Start your list, Vickey.” He doesn’t have to say anything else, because I know exactly what He means. It’s a little trick He taught me a few years ago…a prescription, if you will, to quiet my overanxious mind. It might not be FDA approved, but it has shaken me out of my negative preoccupation more than once: I just start saying, “Thank You” to God for every single thing that comes to my mind.
Many of my thank yous are related to my worry, but the gratefulness grows. Thank You, God, for doctors that know more about this than we do. Thank You for Heaven and the promise of a place where there’s no more death and dying, no more cancer and chemo and cells gone cookoo, no more tears and saying good-bye. Thank You that I’ve had a father to love and one that loves me. Thank You that no matter what does or doesn’t happen, You will NEVER leave me. Thank You that I can talk to You about anything at anytime. Thank You for being big enough to handle my questions. Thank You for pain medicine and promises from Scripture…
Amazingly, I find that when I “start my list,” my preoccupation does change – even when my circumstances stay the same. My breathing relaxes and the corners of mouth often even turn up into a smile. Instead of fighting tears of concern, I allow grateful ones to fall because I’m reminded that I have a Heavenly Father who knows my fickle heart better than I do, yet passionately loves me anyway. I’m encouraged by rehearsing His character and promised constancy in my life.
Yeah, I’m not a fan of the waiting room. But, you know what? The Great Physician is in. Every single day from here to eternity. And, what is the promised result when we take our medicine and start giving thanks?
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
Peace. Blissful, life-altering, hope-filled, breath-inflating peace. Ahhhhh, that’s a cure we could all use. I’m more than willing to take my medicine today. How about you?
What are you prone to worry about?
If you were to start your own “with thanksgiving” list, what would be at the top of it today? Let me know so we can thank God together.


6 responses to “Rx for Anxiety”

  1. For moments that cause me to have no other choice but to depend upon Him, b/c I truly don't want to keep wandering in any other direction. Hard and straight up sucks at times…and in the hard moments it may be harder to say this, but I will still say it. Bring me to complete dependence on you Lord.

  2. I'm thankful for my family. For my kids. For sleepless nights because it means that I have sweet babies to hold. For my husband that treats me way better than I deserve. For my God who is faithful, even when I'm not and who continues to call me back to Him time and time again. I'm thankful for friends that I can call on when I am scared, anxious, or hurting. And that I can count on those same friends to rejoice with me in the happy moments of life. Thanks for helping me to end my day reflecting on what to be thankful for. Love ya Vickey.

  3. Not a big worrier, just doesn't seem to be part of my make-up, but lately it has been about family members and circumstances that are so beyond my control that it's not even funny . . . and you are SO right. The moment I start telling God what I am thankful for – the worry ceases because I remember that I don't serve a puny, man-made god. I serve THE God, the one and only.So, topping my thankful list is for God Himself, for what an amazing creator He is, for His compassion on a flighty, flaky sinner like me, for the human body and the genius in how he created us and causes us to grow – watching my baby girl go from scooting to crawling and pulling up in one short week has been a good reminder of that! For my boy and his sweet, sweet heart and for a husband who grows with me and whose love just keeps getting bigger and better. Loving this blog. Thanks for writing!

  4. …that every single time I get my legs knocked out from under me, God sends me someone who props me back up for a while…

  5. I am thankful for an incredible wife who is God’s greatest gift to me on this earth. I am thankful for a wife who loves God with all her heart and who consistently dives deep in the truth of His Word. I am thankful for her commitment to being a life long learner. I am thankful that she is using her amazing gift of writing. I am thankful for a wife who pours her life into other women, passing along the spiritual blessings that God has entrusted to her. I am so thankful for a godly mother for our kids. I am thankful that she makes me a better man. I am thankful for 26 years of marriage and a love that grows richer with every year. I am thankful for the fact that I miss her like crazy when she is on a much needed get away with her girl friends. At the top of my list is YOU! I love you with all my heart. xob

  6. I am thankful that as I stumble along in this life-God never gives up on me. He still LOVES me and He actually still wants to use me in spite of all my fears, my doubts, and certainly my failures. How could I not be thankful for a God like that…

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