This spiritual coping strategy can instantly calm anxiety, anger, worry and overwhelm.
I would not describe myself as a worrier, anxious, irritated, or angry. I can be overwhelmed from time to time. Can’t we all with all of life’s demands?
But lately, I have been swallowed up by every one of these emotions.
My husband’s Parkinson’s is starting to take a toll on him. Plus, he has had severe hip and back pain that has persisted for four months that we can’t get to the bottom of.
That means that I have been given the roll of caregiver. My daily routine consists of medication alarms that startle me and seem to go off every hour. (It’s really every four hours, but when I am in the flow of writing, it feels like five minutes.)
Then there are the various specialists to deal with, because there is no such thing as seeing one doctor.
My 32-year-old son moved in with us. He is unemployed and trying to find his way.
I’ve been consumed with concern and caring for everyone.
Added to these major concerns were the annoying problems that technology brings. Saturday morning I spent 2-1/2 hours chatting with tech support because emails were not being sent automatically.
I was irritated and had a very short fuse. I was finding it hard to cope.
Facing the Anxiety, Anger, Worry, and Overwhelm
Not liking these emotions, I journaled my concerns to God. As I wrote, Philippians 4:5-7 came to mind. I’ve read and quoted these verses many times, but these words spoke to me in a brand new way. They were a balm to my mind and soul.
I sing in our church’s choir. One of the things that our choir director will make us mindful of is when we are singing a familiar anthem that we’ve sung dozens of times. We know it so well that we can sing it on auto pilot, not paying attention to the phrasing and dynamics.
This got me thinking about Scripture. There are so many familiar verses that we know off the top of our heads. But how often do we meditate on those verses to see how they truly speak to us – personally?
The Spiritual Coping Strategy – Lectio Divina
I meditated on these verses, a process called Lectio Divina (divine reading).
First, you read the passage listening with the ear of your heart.
Then you read it again to see what words speak to you, allowing the words to invite you to respond.
Then wait and sit in God’s presence.
How God’s Word Can Calm Your Mind and Spirit
Philippians 4:5-7 says: Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The words that spoke to me were:
Gentleness: It was a reminder to let my gentleness be known, not my irritation.
Anything: Meaning – no matter how many.
Everything: ALL things
Thanksgiving: To be thankful for God’s grace.
Guard: God will guard my heart – guard meaning to protect against damage or harm.
When I bring all my worries to God, God will guard my heart and mind from stress and anxiety.
If I dwell in worry, I will harm my body, my mind will be muddled, and my spirit will be in a place of unrest.
Each week I give my readers a verse with the intention to apply it to daily living.
I hope that if a verse strikes a chord in you that you will do this same Lectio Divina practice. To not take a well-known verse for granted like a well-known choir song. : ) But to let it sink from your head into your heart.
Put this Coping Strategy Into Practice
Want to learn how to put this coping strategy into practice? I have a video, audio, and PDF on how to do a Lectio Divina practice in this FREE mini course on Four Spiritual Practices to Be Present with God. You can access all the free resources on this page.
This experience is an example of the power of journaling in gaining greater peace and dialoguing with God. It’s why I am so passionate about it and teach others how to journal. Find out all the details and enroll in this recorded class that includes two live class reunions per year with others who have taken the class.
May this spiritual coping strategy eliminate any anxiety, worry, anger, or overwhelm, so that you can enjoy God’s peace, love, and strength.