I have a confession to make.. I am that person who listens to CDs of nature sounds at night while I fall asleep. There, I said it! I love hearing crashing waves or babbling brooks or rain falling in the forests. A while ago when my anxiety was nearly unmanageable, I began listening to guided meditations on YouTube to help me fall asleep. I’d also been focusing on ebbing my anxiety by responding, not reacting. I’m an emotional gal and those emotions often lead my actions. A big no-no in the anxiety world.
It’s simple, what the nice YouTube man said during one of these videos, but for me it was profound. While I don’t think this current mediation I listened to was based in Christian values, it had a piece in it that was a simple, yet incredibly helpful, revelation for me. He said:
“When you look at medicine, the person taking it gets one of two results; if there is a reaction to the medicine, its negative, but if the patient is responding well then the medicine is working, its good!”
It was a well-put analogy that made it so clear the reasoning behind responding, not reacting. Biblically, we’re encouraged to respond, not react. We usually look to Proverbs for these topics, but the book of James even touches upon this in the New Testament.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19 (NLT)
Way easier said than done. I understand. I could blame my anxiety for my tendency to react rather than respond, however I have the capability to modify my thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Is it easier to overreact when my anxiety is at it’s breaking point? Absolutely. But when has self-control ever been particularly easy? Hardly ever. Yet as Christians, we are called to respond wisely. Which means sometimes we must quell our anxiety; we have to actively resist the temptation to react immediately to whatever silly thought pops into our heads. For some this will be fairly easy, for others this will be a lifelong struggle. You’re never alone though, I’m still slogging through the muck and mire as well.