How Obedience Allows Me To Fight Unexpected Early Morning Anxious Thoughts
I wake up with a sinking feeling in my stomach and anxious thoughts running through my brain a lot of mornings. It’s not debilitating, but it’s something I’ve had to acknowledge and reflect on.
I’ll think about the day before and process if I said everything right, wrote everything clearly, did everything correctly.
The questions go something like this:
Did my tone sound kind on that phone call or text?
Was what I put on Facebook appropriate and Biblical?
Did I handle that change of plans appropriately with my family?
Even though it's natural for me to process everything, I’ve had to learn to stop the spiraling. With God, all things are possible, right?
NOT A GREAT WAY TO START A BRAND NEW DAY
Anxious thoughts are no way to start a fresh new day, but here’s the thing, it’s taught me an invaluable lesson.
I have to give my thoughts to the Lord before I even open my eyes. I am learning to hand the questions over to God and replace them with these four truths.
God loves me.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Obedience to God’s call on my life matters more than success.
His grace is sufficient for my shortcomings.
Ephesians 10:5 says, “We take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
I am never more aware of my need for a Savior than when I awaken to anxious thoughts.
ISN’T THIS BACKWARDS?
For a long time, I felt like it was all so backward. Wasn’t I supposed to wake up refreshed after a good night's sleep?
And then, the classic question of, am I weird? Am I the only human being on earth that deals with this first-thing-in-the-morning panic? I have concluded that I am not weird or the only person who deals with early morning anxious thoughts. Those thoughts are lies.
My anxious thoughts likely stem from the lingering effects of people-pleasing and the devil trying to stop me in my tracks through distraction. Add those things to the fact that the morning is when I am most still, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Isn’t it hard to be still? In stillness, we have to deal with our wild and crazy thoughts.
And so, in the early morning, the battle for my mind rages.
ANXIOUS THOUGHTS IN THE BIBLE
As I started writing this blog post, I began to look up examples of anxiety in the Bible. There are many verses. I feel like the Lord knew we'd need a lot of guidance in this area.
I love this verse in Proverbs 12:25.
"Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up."
Then, I came across the example of one of the most relatable Bible characters: Martha.
Martha was very task-oriented. She wanted everything in its place before she could relax, and I can SO relate. I struggle to sit and relax until the clothes are folded, the carpets are vacuumed, the dishes are washed, and everything is in its place. Basically, since I’m a mom to four kids, I hardly ever sit.
Luke 10:40-42 says, “Martha, burdened with much serving, came to Him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.’ The Lord said to her in reply, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her.’”
Martha was spiraling in anxious thoughts, and Jesus basically said (paraphrasing), “Martha, stop spiraling. Come sit with me and listen to my life-giving words.”
Sit. With. Me.
OK, Lord, I get it.
The prescription for early morning anxious thoughts is to sit at my Savior’s feet and remind myself of his love for me and grace over my life.
ANXIOUS THOUGHTS FLEE FROM PURPOSE
When you have a close relationship with the Lord and sharing the Gospel is your purpose, the enemy will try to distract and confuse you. He loves chaos.
Recently, a situation happened that should have sent me into a tailspin. History shows how easily I fall into the trap of questioning what I am doing with my life. It has happened a few times. OK, fine, often.
What was different this time?
I feel confident in my calling. My obedience to God matters more than any external factors.
Chaos, failure, and other people's opinions cannot wreak havoc when we rest confidently in the Lord.
My early morning anxious thoughts can be pesky, but they have taught me so much about myself and my dependence on a loving God who never leaves me on my own.
God truly can redeem my thoughts if I continue to give them back to him the moment they begin to swirl in my head.
We were made for so much MORE than getting stuck in our early morning anxious thoughts.
Really, there is no better way to start the day than remembering the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14) tucked around my waist to stop anxious thoughts dead in their tracks with God’s truth.
What is the first thing you do when an anxious thought comes across your mind?
What are some practical ways that you can make your thoughts obedient to Christ?
Does chaos, failure, or other people's opinions wreak havoc on how you live? If yes, why do you think that is?
Follow every anxious thought this week with a truth. Does this keep you from spiraling?