Mar 6, 2019

Be at Peace

"Peace, be still." - Mark 4:39

In February, I realized I needed to focus on specific struggles I regularly have in an attempt to get into better habits to eliminate them. To help with this, I decided that each month I would have a specific area of focus that I wanted to work on. For February, I wanted to try being more present in the things I did. Instead of constantly trying to multitask with everything, I tried to give my full attention to one thing at a time. Of course, sometimes multitasking is necessary, but as an example, I was struggling with this when reading my Bible and I would constantly go to grab my phone while reading because I remembered something I had to do. Sometimes I’d be in a middle of a chapter and just have to pull up Spotify to change my playlist instead of just zoning in on what I was reading. I constantly noticed this, but it took me a little while to actually try and stop the habit. I think I did okay for the most part, but now I’ve moved onto a new focus for March.

It’s possible that I should’ve dedicated a whole year to this area since it’s one of my biggest struggles and will take a whole lot longer than a month to work on, but it’s a start. For this month, I wrote down, “Be at peace.” I want to try to limit how much I stress over little things or become anxious over situations that don’t really matter in the long run. And most of the time it’s not even something that’s actually happening, it’s always just something I’m worried will happen based off of what I’m observing. It always ruins my day when I start to think about something for too long, but by the next week I won’t even remember what I was so scared about. I started writing this post a week or so ago and know I was worrying over things then, but now I barely remember what it was mainly because it didn’t even matter but also because I’ve moved onto other anxieties. There will undoubtedly always be things for me to worry about, but they’re never worth worrying over. It’s not going to change the end result if I spend the whole time anxiously awaiting something that might not even happen to begin with, and if I’m right and something bad does happen, quite honestly the worrying leading up to it just makes it all worse. I don’t allow myself to be present and enjoy good moments because I’m so anxious about how it’ll all end or how it’ll go wrong. I always think about them far too much to where my mind is racing and I can’t focus on other things and I let it ruin each and every day. The worries always return at some point and I get upset with myself when I can’t control it.

I think one of the biggest things I always need to remind myself of is that it really is all going to be okay and the world will not end if one certain bad thing does end up happening. And it’s not even just focusing in on getting rid of specific worries, it’s a problem that I have and I need to focus on snapping out of the constant cycle I put myself in. And of course, I’m being extremely vague here but honestly I have so many worries that any of them would fit with what I’m writing here. It doesn’t matter what I fill the blank with, the worrying won’t get me anywhere.

In my own experience, it takes me a minute to notice I’m getting anxious over something. I’ll start thinking of a certain situation and what people’s reactions to it were, but then I bounce off of that and think about how their reactions will change the situation and how it could going to affect me. It’s an endless spiral of “if this happens then so will this, and how will this person feel about it in five years and will this person react okay, but if they don’t then this will happen and if that happens then so will this,” etc. So, my thoughts start out harmless but I allow myself to let them go out of control before I can even know to stop them. So, I think one of the biggest ways I can try to be more at peace is not necessarily to try and knock out worrying entirely, but to at least recognize when I’m doing it and to evaluate if it’s something worth worrying over, and 99.99% of the time it’s not worth my energy to stress about it. Sometimes I do notice that what I’m worrying over is pointless, but that’s when the real struggle starts because I have to constantly fight against the worries that keep returning, even if I know they’re illogical.

I’ve also come to notice that my worrying not only affects me but it affects others as well. It affects my attitude towards them and at times they have to share my burden as I unload everything I’m worried about onto them. Most of the time they remind me that it’s going to be okay and that it’s really not a big deal, but I want to get into a better habit of reminding myself of that as well. I’m so blessed to have people who will listen and who help me through this, but I also need to find a better balance of my dependency on them but also independence when it comes to those situations I place myself in.

Putting these better habits to use in order to knock out the bad ones is so difficult. People spend their lives struggling with ending bad habits related to addiction of all kinds, and although I’m not necessarily “addicted” to anxiety (trust me I genuinely hate it), it’s still a difficult habit to really zone in on and quit. I will most likely struggle with it for the rest of my life (that’s one of the many worries I have, har har har), but maybe I won’t. Either way, it’s not something worth worrying over because I’m going to be okay. God is in control, and He’s taking care of me. It’s going to be okay and even though it constantly feels like I’m somehow justified in my worry, I’m really not. It only affects me negatively so I hope by the end of this month I’ve at least gotten a better hold of myself and can finally calm down for a moment.