(Today’s blog is from guest writer Carley Spence. I am so thankful Carly submitting this article and am excited to share her wisdom with you today!)
These tables are too close together. I’m never going to be able to keep my students six feet apart.
Are we going to have enough substitutes?
How often should I clean our class bathroom?
What do I do if I feel sick but I think it may just be a cold?
As I write this post I am ten days away from starting school and these thoughts are swirling in my head on a continual rotation. I am not a person who’s typically given to stress and anxiety, but they are trying to be my constant companions right now.
As a kindergarten teacher, I take the safety and well-being of my students very seriously, even in “normal” circumstances. This year, however, is going to be anything but normal.
I’m glad my school is able to open and I’m thrilled to have a large class, but the pressures are starting to mount.
Yesterday I didn’t want to get out of bed. My brain kept telling me that I just couldn’t handle it. It was too much; everything was going to be too hard. We were crazy for even considering five full days of school.
All I wanted to do was lie down and pull the covers over my head. No one would know if I lay in bed all day.
It was a struggle, I’ll admit. After breakfast I did go back to bed. For a few minutes my body felt so heavy and my heart so bruised I couldn’t see any way out of the fog of anxiety. I lay there, telling myself I was never going to get through this coming school year. I might as well give up now.
Mercifully, God broke through my mental chatter and spoke truth to me. He reminded me that’s not how we are supposed to live our lives! The Bible tells us God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
After that, lying in bed, helpless in the wake of my fears, scared me more than the string of “what ifs” parading through my head. I made myself get up, take a shower, and face the day. It was time for action.
Four steps to Help you Fight Worry and Anxiety
Read your Bible
God has given us everything we need in His Word. He knew there would be days when we feel sad, lonely, scared, hurt, or worried, and he gave us verses to help us fight those feelings. That’s right- you CAN fight the feelings of worry and anxiety. You don’t have to become overwhelmed by them. Open your Bible and use it to talk truth to yourself.
Write out or memorize some key verses. Have them in places where they’re easy to access. Keep God’s Word close and recite Scripture whenever you start to worry.
Tell God how you’re feeling. Be specific. Don’t be afraid to ask Him for something you really need. One source of my anxiety was the spacing in my classroom. Kindergarten typically uses tables, which were fine until “social distancing” came into play. My students needed more space than a table could provide, but my school didn’t have any desks available.
So I prayed, asking God specifically for desks. The next day I talked with a pastor whose church had desks. They were getting ready to sell them to the local school district, but he said I could have enough for my classroom. The pastor told me if I had waited another hour to talk to him, the desks would be gone. The timing was perfect! God cares about what we need.
Turn up the music
One of the best ways to lift up a burdened heart is with music. Throughout the months of lock-down, quarantine, and uncertainty, I’ve found music to be a lifeline. It brightens our days and turns us toward God. Singing out loud is especially helpful. It’s hard to feel down and sing at the same time.
Yesterday as I battled my fears I put on one of my favorite worship bands. Their music is God-honoring, fun, and encouraging. I played their music throughout the rest of the day and it helped a lot.
For me, physical exercise is another great way to fight worry and anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins, which naturally help us feel better. Exercise is also a stress-reliever. Plus, it helps us master our minds. When my body is telling me it’s too tired and it just needs to sit, I can give in or I can take control. Maybe I can’t change the circumstances that are causing me stress, but I can change my response to them.
So yesterday when my brain said to stay in bed, I went hiking instead. I chose a spot of beauty that’s also a source of peace and comfort to me; by the end of my hike I felt much, much better.
Taking these steps may not change the source of your anxiety, but they can help change the way you view it. You can allow worry and anxiety to control your mind and your life, or you can fight it.
This is what God showed me in my own battle. He reminded me that anxiety doesn’t have to win. Look to God first. Let Him speak truth to you, and then take steps to recharge mentally. Through Him, you can have victory in your life.
(Carley Spence is a Christian, a brand-new blogger, and a “career single” who is passionate about the message that your life doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s life. She believes God created us all uniquely, with specific purposes and plans and wants to use you right where you are! Her blog www.everysingleblessing.com focuses on that message by encouraging single women to celebrate and love the lives God’s given them. You can also follow her on Instagram @sunflower_singleness)
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