The secret to stopping the anxiety spiral

Alli Worthington is a girl whose life for too many years was bound by fear – fear of something happening to the kids, fear of failing, fear of rejection. Until God took her on journey of discovering a new fierce faith and finding practical tools to use every day to fight back against fear, worry and anxiety. It’s a grace to welcome Alli to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Alli Worthington

I used to think living under the weight of fear, anxiety and worry was something we all had to struggle through.

That fear was just part of life, like laundry and those random hairs that grow on our chins, we just have to deal with it.

However, all through scripture we are encouraged over and over again to fear not.

I believe God in His gracious mercy repeated this command as an encouragement because He knew fear is the tool the enemy would use to try to derail us, distract us and depress us.

As I dove into the truth of scripture and began uncovering the practical tools we can use to overcome what weighs us down, I discovered something fascinating.

Both big fears and little fears work to steal our peace and our happiness.

Every day worries can be as crippling as catastrophes, but we are not powerless. We can overcome them!

Let’s dive into a certain everyday anxiety that tries to steal our confidence and how we can fight back and win every time.

Do you ever feel nervous before a meeting or event?

Do you ever worry about that upcoming social occasion and secretly wanted to just stay home?

When I feel worried or nervous about a situation, I use this little Fierce Faith mantra to keep me on track.

Show up.

Be real.

Love others.

Don’t quit.

I developed this mantra because when I feel fear getting the best of me, I tend to want to run and hide, put on my mask, bite the heads off of the people I love, and sometimes just flat-out quit.

Let me explain.

Show up

Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from showing up.

When we struggle with the fear of failure, the idea of hiding at home under the covers can sound really good. Sometimes half the battle is simply showing up.

One time I got a phone call from the principal at my son’s school, asking Mark and me if we could come in for a meeting. I had no idea what he wanted to talk to us about, but of course I assumed I was in some way failing as a parent. What else could he possibly want to talk to us about? It’s terrible how our minds go to the worst possible place so quickly.

I can laugh at it now, but at the time, I tried to come up with every possible reason why I couldn’t go. I prayed something would come up and I wouldn’t be able to go.

“There is nothing to fear here. You are going to show up to that meeting. Now get going!”

It might seem silly, but my “show up” pep talks to myself are inspiring in the moment. Positive self-talk for the win!

And as it turned out, the principal just wanted to talk to us about being a part of the fundraising team at school the next year. All that worrying for nothing (which is the way it usually turns out)!

Be real

Don’t let your fear of failure keep you from being who you are.

My defense mechanism when I feel nervous around others has always been to look around, see what everyone else is doing, and make like a chameleon to fit in.

If I feel certain I am going to fail as my true self, my logic has always been, why not be someone else, or worse yet, everyone else.

It wasn’t until around age thirty-five that I began to wake up to the fact that my fear of failing in social situations was making me disconnect with who I really was and who God had created me to be.

I had to decide to be my real self with others and live out of a place where I liked myself and hoped others would too.

Turns out, it was my uniqueness that opened doors for me professionally, allowing me to live out the calling God had for me. God doesn’t make us quirky or interesting for no good reason.

He gave me, and He gave you, your unique personality to share with the world around you.

To this day, though, when I feel tempted to try to make myself more like someone else to avoid that fear of failure, I tell myself, Be real, Alli. Be real.

Love others

Don’t let the fear of failure cause you to treat others badly.

For me this is a reminder not to let my own fear or worry cause me to be short-tempered with others.

My goal is to love others well, even when I’m a mess inside. I don’t want fear to control me and turn me into a big ball of nastiness to others.

This is the hardest for me behind closed doors with my family. It’s way too easy when I’m staring down a work deadline or even planning a happy celebration to snap at the kids, be demanding to my husband, and make everyone’s lives miserable.

When I’m tempted to treat others badly, I repeat my battle-plan mantra: “Show up, be real, love others, don’t quit.”

Don’t quit

Don’t let the fear of failure, or anything else for that matter, cause you to quit. We can only truly fail when we quit trying.

I find the temptation to quit occurs most often when I am in the middle of a project or job, fearing I will fail, and I decide that quitting (and being labeled a quitter) is so much better than failing (and being labeled a failure).

Like I said, fear is not rational and does not cause us to think clearly.

Have you ever said to yourself:

  • I didn’t know it was going to be this hard.
  • I can’t do this anymore.
  • I’m not good enough.
  • What was I thinking when I thought I could do this?

You are in pretty good company. The secret is to strengthen yourself not to quit.

When we remember to show up, be real, love others, and not quit, we don’t have to control anyone else or the outcome of what we do.

We get to bring our best to any situation with courage and love.

The results are up to God; He just asks us to be who He called us to be, love others, and do our best.

 

 


Alli Worthington co-founded multiple companies and has helped individuals, small business owners, and Fortune 500 companies be more successful. Alli’s no-nonsense, guilt-free take on business, family, and balance lead to appearances on The Today Show and Good Morning America.

She is the author of the new book Fierce Faith: A Woman’s Guide to Fighting Fear, Wrestling Worry and Overcoming Anxiety and also Breaking Busy: Finding Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy.

Alli knows all about the ways a woman can be hard on herself. In Fierce Faith she shares her own fear struggles with humor and honesty—while offering real strategies for coping with life’s big worries as well as those little everyday worries.

Sometimes Jesus’s call to “fear not” seems like the hardest instruction to follow. Some days you faultlessly juggle everything that is your life—kids, husband, house, job, church, friendships, school, pets, appointments, and on and on. Other days the very thought of which ball you’re going to drop puts your anxiety level through the roof. You’re afraid you’re forgetting something. And you are: God’s advice to fear not. Her goal is to help women live the life they were created to live. 

[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in today’s devotion ]

 

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