Today’s word: Plan
Defined: plan–method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance:
What it means to me: A plan is a way of seeing the future. It reduces the fear of the unknown.
Not long ago, I had a real struggle with anxiety. I don’t mean I was a little nervous. I lived in a state of fear all day long. I would have a full blown anxiety attack (shortness of breath, chest tightness/pain, thoughts of panic/loss of control), about 3 times a week.
Fortunately, I am free of all that. How did I do it? Well, that is a very long story. (Hey, you should read my book!) But I can tell you one thing that really helped me. You see, I had a handful of triggers that would set off my anxiety. Once I learned to recognize a trigger, I could understand what was happening. Then the problem became easier to manage.
For example, any thing associated with money, would freak me out. I’d get an unexpected bill in the mail and I would wait 2 or 3 days before I’d be brave enough to open it. So leave that in the back of my mind, mix in a stack of regular bills, taxes that need to be filed, and the car that needs an oil change, and I would be a walking bundle of fear. Once I started to notice my triggers, I could identify what was happening. Then I would force myself to examine the problem at hand.
Over time, I began to have less anxiety. I still have my triggers, but they don’t pop up so often. And when they do, I have the resources to shift gears.
So last weekend, I spent the day with a dear friend. She and I talked about an upcoming trip. We plan to fly out to see my daughter in Arizona and while we are there, we plan to run a vendor booth at a women’s expo to promote my book. I was fine as long as I was with my friend, gushing about our plans. But as soon as I was alone, my chest got tight.
The idea of all those plans and all the money that had to be found, and all the things to take care of!!!!!!! What was I thinking? I can’t afford to do this!!!!!! There are so many details to work out!!!! I will never get all the arrangements made!!!!
Yep. That’s me. It’s embarrassing to tell you these things, but hopefully, I’m helping someone.
Well, as I said, I now, (thank you, God), have the tools to get myself under control.
I took a deep breath and said my go-to mantra:
Be still and know. (ps.46:10) This helps me because when I force myself to be still and just breathe, I will remember that God is with me. I have all the answers I need. I just have to be still.
Then I sat down and made a plan. I drew up a budget that outlined exactly where every dime would go from every paycheck until our trip in September. Then I made a to-do list with each item broken down into bite-size tasks and mini-deadlines.
Suddenly, my anxiety was replaced with excitement. I could totally do this. If I stick to my plan, I will have more than enough money to do everything I want, and all the details will be taken care of.
There is nothing so beautiful as a plan. A plan will suck the fear right out of most stressful situations.
How often do we walk around stressed out about things that can be fixed?
Is there something in the back of your mind that causes you excess worry? You may think, at first glance, that there is nothing you can do, but you might be surprised. When you look at something from a different perspective, a simple plan might be all you need to reduce your stress. The problem is, we let fear distract us from the problem and all we see are possible consequences. Procrastination is rooted in fear.
Takeaway: Our minds make mountainous problems out of molehill issues.
Today’s goal: Today I will not worry about things that I can change. If something stresses me out, I will sit down, look at the problem honestly and objectively, and then come up with a plan to make things better.
Affirmation to go: 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”