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Parents, hand up who’s struggling with crazy anxiety, some explicable and circumstance based, some nebulous and hard to define, and some that just comes out of left field and is informed by the constant ‘noise’ around us.

How do we manage our anxiety as parents, given the world we live in and the current global atmosphere?

It’s a good question isn’t it, and one that doesn’t feel like it has a solid answer…

We’ve tried all the usual things to manage our anxiety (Google gives us lots of options): more mindfulness, better breathing techniques, delicious aromatherapy oils, healthier diets and sugar management, less TV, less social media, less talking with people who make us feel anxious, more exercise, better time management and scheduling our lives to the hilt, working from home, working from the office, not working at all, homeopathy, anxiety medication, hormone balancing remedies, less gluten, NO gluten, more protein, no carbs, gentle parenting, earlier bedtimes….and the list goes on.

Does anyone else just feel exhausted from the effort to try and reduce anxiety, worry and panic and live a life that is full of appreciating the joys, and engaging and experiencing our children with relish daily?

We’re living in a vortex and managing anxiety is the axis line around which we revolve, doing all we can to minimise, reduce, ignore, deflate and chase away the deep struggle that keeps threatening to suck us under.

Questions that regularly go through my mind are the What If’s…has anyone else found themselves catastrophe planning?

What if my significant other dies (insert all the various ways I’ve imagined it potentially happening (not by my own hand, that’s for another blog) so that I can be prepared for it) what does that look like, what do I need to do, how will I manage it, is the plan solid?

What if we lose our income and money becomes scarce? What if one of my children gets cancer? What if one of my children becomes disabled from falling out of a tree? What if the little one chokes on these grapes I’m busy cutting up for him (better cut it smaller…oh wait, too small!) what’s my plan to either get the grape out or resuscitate him? What if we have a car accident on the N2 going on holiday (insert I’m a nervous wreck in the car till we get there and my significant other is a seething ball of irritated flesh from all my constant protestations and warnings on how to drive more safely). What if he’s in a car accident taking the children to Jump for Joy and they all die?

See! VORTEX!

And this is how we try to navigate life on a daily basis.

When we STOP and really think about the reality of all the What If’s, when THAT thing happens that shakes your world to the core and the worst you’ve imagined and painfully worried about actually comes to pass, what happens?

We discover the ONE thing that doesn’t change no matter what happens – death, destruction, devastation, doomsday. The ONE thing that never leaves us, never lets us down, even (actually especially) in the midst of the unthinkable, the worst, the thing we fear happening the most.

Friends, of course, JESUS is the answer to managing our anxiety, He’s our safety net, our solid rock, our place of safety, our anchor…But how do we rely on Him, what’s the practicality of knowing, trusting and experiencing beyond a shadow of a doubt that He’s got you, even in the midst of difficult hard things?

Just like we practice mindfulness, yoga poses, breathing techniques, gentle parenting etc etc, we have to practice JESUS!

It’s a discipline to take up arms against our anxieties, but JESUS is the best shield for deflecting the blows that come with numbing regularity. Taking the thoughts captive as they happen, battering them with the TRUTH of JESUS and the Word of God, and standing straight and victorious with our fears and anxieties under our heels.

I’ve heard it said, but haven’t actually done my own test (although Google, O Most Reliable of All Sources, confirms it) that the phrase ‘do not be anxious’ is repeated in the Bible 365 times – one for every day of the year. If this is true (and even if it’s not, it’s still there a lot!) we have the best antidote to the poison of anxiety. An instruction, a command: DO NOT BE ANXIOUS. God knows this is possible because He is the one who makes it possible!

The reality of our world is that any of our What If’s can happen – today, tomorrow or in ten years’ time. We CAN’T control that, but we can control our actions now and how we respond to anxiety (basically we need to flip it the bird – in Jesus name haha!). And more than that, if those What If’s do come to pass, we haven’t lived chained to our fears and in a place of dark despair, but we’ve lived with fullness of joy and with the knowledge that whatever happens JESUS is our ONE thing that we can rely on, trust, and secure ourselves to because He will never let us down, He will never leave us and He loves us – even in the worst imaginable circumstances – and THAT friends is worth everything.