Ecclesiastes 7:14 - When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.
When things are going well do you feel guilty because you’re having a good time?
For some people life has been especially rough. So, when good things begin to happen, they hold off on completely enjoying themselves, because they believe eventually something bad is going to happen. In addition, something may have happened in their past that is their fault, and they may feel like they don’t deserve to be happy.
Realistically we know that life will not always give us happy moments. However, mixed into those negative moments are some really good ones.
So how do we stop expecting the worst to happen all the time and start believing the best will come? Realize that you might be catastrophizing. Here’s a start, first, make a list of the things that are bad in our lives. Dwell on that list. Think about the bad things until they are crystal clear:
Now let’s turn our thoughts in the opposite direction and make a list of the things that are going right in your life to see that good can happen:
What are these areas?
Does reading this help you have a new perspective? It’s possible to turn your life around and believe you can enjoy life. I was stuck for many years in the muck and mire of blaming myself for everything wrong in my life, and this caused me to never fully enjoy life. I make a point now to pause so to speak during a family event or times spent with a friend and allow myself to take a breath and enjoy the moment. You can too!
Harleytherapy.co.uk in their article, “Catastrophizing – Always Assuming the Worst? Why You Need to Stop,” give us some advice on how to stop expecting the worst all of the time. Their ideas include realizing negative thinking can be a learned habit, it can be connected to a bad past, it is connected to anxiety and anxiety disorders, and it can be symptoms of a personality disorder. So how do they recommend stopping catastrophizing? By learning to tell the difference between a thought and reality. Write down your thoughts and see if it sheds light on what you’re feeling. Also, ask yourself what the feelings are behind catastrophizing and try to see how that feeling is leading you to expect the worst all of the time. Another way is to write down your thoughts and talk about them to a friend or a therapist.
Realize also, as the Bible verse above says, when times are good, be happy. And when they’re bad, know that God has made them both and he will help you find the joy in the midst of all of life’s up and down points.
Key words: catastrophizing, expecting the worst, good can happen, perspective
1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
There’s always talk abounding about the “haves” and “have nots.” This is especially a cause for stress and anxiety when you’re one of the “have nots.” One kind brings anxiety when doing their bills and the other finds relief that they can pay their bills.
Some people haven’t had any time when they were worried if there would be enough food for their family or if their bills would be paid. They grew up in a family where both parents had good jobs and they never knew what it was like to go without. For them, doing bills doesn’t cause them anxiety.
Then there are the fathers and mothers who feel guilty because even though they work hard, their paychecks are not enough to make ends meet.
What’s a parent to do? There doesn’t seem to be a way for either the “haves” or the “have nots” to find balance. It’s okay to want to give your family your best or at least provide shelter, food to feed their families and be able to pay their bills.
How do successful people balance family time and the ability to pay their bills? Do they feel relief when they sit down to do their monthly bills?
Industryweek.com posts the article, “12 Key Strategies to Achieving a Work-Life Balance,” which provides for us some ideas on balancing life. A few of their ideas are track your time. Make a list of all the things you do each day and how much time you spend using it. This will show your priorities and give you a bird’s eye view on how you’re spending your time. Another way is determining your priorities. As you review your list of what you do each day, it may reveal how your priorities are off. One way is making time for you. Perhaps spend thirty minutes off your computer to take a walk or write a note to a friend. Find more ideas in the article.
It can be difficult to balance work-life and finances. But if you follow some of the advice in the article above you may find areas where you’re wasting time that could’ve been spent earning income. This will help you feel like you are more in the category of “haves” instead of “have nots.” It will also help you relax your anxiety when doing your bills.
Look at the Bible verse above. Loving money can indeed pierce you with many griefs. Be careful to check your motives and actions.
Judges 7:3 – Now announce to the army, “Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
Right now, there are states who have or are considering lifting their stay-at-home orders.
How do you feel about that?
Will you leave the protection of your home?
Do you believe that it’s safe to go out in public?
Will you still fear contracting the virus?
Do you believe the officials that it’s alright to resume many of your daily activities?
Will you go back to work? You may need the money, but you may also fear for your health.
These questions and more are being answered as many are glad the stay-at-home orders have been lifted. But are they making the right decision?
Anxiety isn’t going to be put back inside a box with a lid on top. Anxiety may influence many to stay at home any way.
I have mixed feelings about going out once more.
But if you go out, will you wear a mask, or will you ditch it?
Just because stay-at-home orders may have been lifted you may still have social distancing when you go to the grocery store and it doesn’t mean you don’t have to wear a mask.
Be wise in your decisions. Be sure to find out what your state has to say about orders being lifted. Many don’t have an end date when they will lift the order. Abcnews.go.com in their article, “When Each State’s Stay-at-home Order Lifts,” provides a detailed list of each state’s decision.
People.com also provides information on the end of stay-at-home orders, in their article, “Here’s When States Under Stay-at-Home Orders Will Begin Lifting Restrictions.” However, it says to beware not to rush things. The U.S. has only started to peak in numbers of outbreaks.
Look at the Bible verse above. When faced with going into battle, the Israelites were given permission to leave and go home if they were afraid. Many did leave but some remained. The same kind of fear may come upon you. Will you remain indoors, or will you go out in public? God will help you make that decision. He is ready to give you his wisdom so you may confidently stay at home or venture out.
Proverbs 12:25 – Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.
We’ve all heard about the crazy things that women crave during pregnancy. But there is also another kind of craving. One that calms us when heavy burdens and fears are on our shoulders.
Food in this cause is one of the key “okay” things that we can use while facing challenges. Especially if we feel unable to do anything about a certain trial we are going through.
So, instead of looking at a possible toilet paper shortage, do we turn to food as our releaser of stress? Some do. But don’t be angry with the person who does turn to food.
At first, food can indeed provide an escape. Certain foods like candy raise your blood sugar and at first you feel a high in your body. But watch out! Soon after you finish your candy, your blood sugar will plummet.
Take a look at an article on healthline.com titled “16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety.” Here you will find some healthy ways to reduce stress and fear such as exercise, supplements like green tea and lemon balm, chewing gum which causes brain waves similar to those of relaxed people and promotes blood flow to your brain, laughter and learning to say “no.” Another idea is to speak kind words to others. This may help them feel better about themselves and allows anxiety to fly out the window.
These suggestions and others listed in the article are useful, and you won’t find your blood sugar going up and then crashing on the shore of more stress and anxiety.
Even as your anxiety weighs down your heart, a kind word from a friend or a Bible verse given to you by God can help cheer you up.
Psalm 139:23 – Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
With each day new numbers continue to climb as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
It used to be that if you were sick you could go to your doctor so he could treat you. But that’s not possible right now. Doctors don’t just not want to get sick, but they don’t want their patients to be exposed to possible Coronavirus (COVID-19) so they choose to close their offices.
More healthcare workers are due to arrive on the scene, at least in California, where its governor has elected to form the “California Health Corps” initiative. This will help ease the burden for health care providers fighting Coronavirus. You can read more about this needed help on Governor Newsom’s website.
This does provide us with some hope, but it doesn’t ease the anxiety that’s on the rise while waiting to have the doors open so healthcare providers can treat those who are ill.
What do you do with the anxiety that seems to now only be affecting those with mental health issues but even those who haven’t experienced anxiety in the past?
Part of the reason for the rise in anxiety is being bombarded by news outlets providing new numbers and which states have the most cases. If you have a smart phone, it can continue throughout the day news about those who are sick and those who have died.
There are real reasons for the anxiety. It’s not just someone who’s struggling with anxiety. It’s even resulted in hoarding at grocery stores. Just ask them where the toilet paper is and you’ll find them flocking in line to get even a small package of toilet paper.
It’s not just toilet paper that’s run out. There are many stores that can’t keep up with the demand for meat, soup, and other normal purchases.
And now they predict that we’re supposed to stay home until the end of April, which is the time when this article has posted. I do hope by then that things will be different.
How well you’re riding out this storm will depend on whether you have people in your life who are supporting you. Thankfully for me and others who have in home support we do have some contact with their workers, which can help shut that door to anxiety. God especially needs to be in your life so that he can calm your anxious thoughts. Anxiety can also rein in on our mental health. Here's a link discussing some financial possibilities on Also, here's a second link to find out about how finances are being affected at https://www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/coronavirus-cash-concerns-virus-spread/.
Exodus 9:15 – For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.
Recently the governor of California declared that because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) everyone was ordered to stay home.
At first, it didn’t seem like such a bad thing to do, but once we were under the order and home, it quickly became another form of fear and isolation. I understand the reason for the order, but it doesn’t make my emotions stable when I feel trapped.
I think of all the people who are losing their income because they can’t go to work, and my heart goes out to all the employers who are losing the ability to create revenue.
Where will this all lead us? Even after the order to be housebound is lifted, life will still not be the same.
Those businesses that were closed, will they open again? Can they bring about a quick enough turn around that brings customers back? And will their employees be rehired? Will the losses be so great that they must close for good?
A lot of questions that will need to be answered when life attempts to return to “normal”. I do know that this will be remembered in the history books. And the fear we felt will also be noted.
How long will it take for the shelves to be full again? Will people still hoard food and toilet paper? Will they be able to let go of the anxiety and begin to take a deep breath and move on?
According to politico.com in their article, “Coronavirus will Change the World Permanently. Here’s how.” One way is it could become second nature to avoid shaking hands or touching our faces, and we may still wash our hands frequently. Where we used to enjoy each other’s company, may turn to avoiding people for fear of getting sick by another means. Doctors and the medical profession doing their jobs has caused them to be on the front line putting their own health at risk. The virus may help us bind together as one nation instead of being fragmented into political parties. As we face one common enemy that lives within our nation, we may be united.
In the meantime, look at the Bible verse above. It was the time when Moses was to lead the people of Israel out of the land of the Egyptians and to freedom. For the pharaoh to agree to this, he had to be shown what God could do and Pharaoh couldn’t stop. In this present time, I believe that the virus is like a plague from days of old. But know that God is still in control. We are to turn to him and give him our fears and our lives.
Psalm 41:3 – The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.
Our world has always had threats to human life.
And then there’s chaos.
Recently our world has known the meaning of chaos where the Coronavirus has taken over every part of the United States and most of other countries.
It is tragic to see human life that has been lost. But there has also been loss of our way of life.
They have placed everything on hold for two weeks hoping that’s enough time for the virus to burn itself out.
How do we live in this time without it dragging us down into fear, depression and chaos?
One of the ways that you can help yourself is to be informed. Many of the fears that abound are because of the Coronavirus. There is information on the internet on sites like cdc.gov and health.harvard.edu. These sites provide us with information on what you need to know, what the virus is, the symptoms, if you think you are sick, preparations and community resources.
It’s important that if you are experiencing symptoms to contact your health provider and ask what you should do to find out if you have the virus and whether treatment or isolation should be followed.
Remember that just as the Bible verse above says God will sustain you on your sickbed and restore you. Yes, there have been many people who have died, but there is always hope to cling to that we will be made well again and our world find it’s way out of chaos.
Psalm 81:6 - He says, “I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket.”
Sometimes I feel like life is rushing. I feel so busy and need to move fast.
I imagine a Taskmaster behind me running after me chasing me lifting his whip to hit me across my back. And so, I run, and I run, and I run. But when exhaustion comes upon me, I finally decide that I’m going to turn around and tell that Taskmaster that I need to take a break.
So, I turn around and who do you think the Taskmaster is that’s chasing after me lifting his whip to hit me across my back:
It’s only me that’s Chasing Life
It’s only me that gets in the way
Take a look at the Bible verse above. God doesn’t give us more burdens on our shoulders. He lifts the burden off of us. He sets us free. Remember that when you feel like a taskmaster is pursuing you.
1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Sometimes anxiety fills our minds for a very good reason:
So we see that there are valid reasons for the unease you feel sometimes. However, sometimes anxiety comes on without any apparent reason. It surprises us. We can’t pinpoint where this anxiety is coming from.
But what we do know is that once anxiety has a chance to put its foot in your door, it can quickly move into a full blown panic attack.
Here are some ideas that may not completely take away your anxiety, but they can help calm you:
Whatever you choose, remember that though you may not believe it, anxiety is under your control. You decide whether you’re going to let your anxiety rule your life. Just believing you can gain back control may be enough to chase away your panic attack.
Heleo.com in their article, “10 Simple Strategies to Control Your Anxiety,” provides us with additional ideas on how to get your anxiety under control, such as avoid asking yourself, “What if?” The more time you spend worrying about the possibilies of what may happen, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action and calming yourself. Also, disconnect. Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline.
Whether we know the reason we’re feeling anxious or not, with the help of the ideas above, we can release our anxiety into the wind and let peace and calm take its place. And, remember, God asks us to cast all of our anxiety on him. He cares for us and will help us not just find peace for the moment, but will grow that peace into an everyday occurance.
Psalm 102:6-7 - I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof.
Whether it be due to chronic pain, illness, emotional pain or loss our pasts will often cast a shadow on our future. Plans. Habits. Time. All affected by our actions and those of others around us.
We’ve been used to doing things the same way and then the train of life crashes and that life will never be the same. Now that accident consumes our days and nights.
“If only,” seems to fly onto the screen of our minds.
But just because our pasts remind us of the train crash, it doesn’t mean that our futures can’t be fulfilling. It’s all about choice. Do you want to see yourself as a victim of your circumstances? A victim is someone who allows another person or life event to rob us of today. It pulls us away from what could’ve been, and forces us to live amongst the rubble scattered around our lives.
Now that we’ve established that I think the train crash has made my future seem impossible, how do I clear away the rubble and move on with my life? Lifehack.org in their article, “11 Things to Remember With Sudden Life Changes,” gives us some ideas. For one thing, feeling confused and upset is normal. Some people may make you feel bad because you feel that way. Don’t listen to them. Also, the haze you are in now will eventually lift.
So what am I going to do? I’m going to ask God to clear away the rubble I’ve been living amongst, and get on a new train. And this time it’s on its way to the land of hope. I will no longer feel like the owl, alone and ruined mentioned in the Bible verse above. So come join me and see how your future can be brighter even if you’ve gone through a train wreck.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.