“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7 NIV)
It’s the beginning of a new day, and my to-do list already has me in a panic. Making lists normally quiets my mind, but the length of this one is so great, there’s no way I’ll get it all done. I’m already behind, already failing. If I can just cross off one thing, the momentum will carry me through the list, but none of the items are quick tasks. My anxiety ratchets up, and I’m frozen in indecision. If I allow my feelings of overwhelm to envelop me, nothing will get accomplished. I’ll stay stuck and, in an effort to diffuse the negative emotions, will do something mindless and easy, which will put me even farther behind.
How can I put my worries and fears to bed and take a first step toward crossing an item off of my list? I know what needs to be done, but my mind revolts, trying to convince me that the action I’m getting ready to take will not only be unhelpful but will also take up precious time I should be using to work. The best thing I can do get back into a frame of mind where I can move forward with the mile-long task list seems unproductive to the inexperienced. However, this isn’t my first time in this dance.
I put down my phone, find a comfortable seated position, and close my eyes. I take a few deep breaths in and out to steady my mind. I then pour out my worries and anxiety to God in prayer. I share how my to-do list feels overwhelming and how I’m not sure where to start. I speak honestly and pray about anything else that comes to mind.
Sometimes deeper fears are brought to light during this time. My paralysis over my to-do list reflects my concern that I’m not doing enough as a parent or spouse, that I’m failing my family in some way. I feel inadequate for not contributing financially to the household despite knowing this is how our family functions best. An offhand comment I made to a friend the previous week has been niggling at my brain. I haven’t heard from them and worry that I’ve offended them.
Read the rest of this devotional over at The Glorious Table.