Day 2 of 7
“You are anxious and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41, ESV). – Jesus Christ
Step 1 – Become aware of the specific cause of your anxiety.
(Prepare some scratch paper or print out this study.)
Today, I would like to get to know you a little more. A good counselor always wants to truly understand his client. I would like to start by looking at another person who struggled with feelings of being overwhelmed. Let’s look at Luke chapter 10. If you read the chapter, you will see a person who has a lot going on!
Luke 10:38-42 (ESV): “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’”
Martha was obviously troubled by a lot of legitimate issues. What are some of the specific things you think she was worrying about?
List some here:
Would it be correct if I said that you are also anxious about a lot of things? Many of them are real and significant concerns, aren’t they? List some of them here:
Do you notice any similarities between the struggles that you and Martha have? Jot down a few ideas that you might have in common. There is no right or wrong answer here. The intent is to begin thinking deeply about your concerns.
The reason that activities like this are so helpful is that they help us identify what concerns are contributing to our stress. We can easily feel overwhelmed and scattered when we have not taken the time to really address our issues. This chart can be extremely helpful in listing specific areas of concern. I have included an example of another real-life person who recently completed this chart. Notice how specific this person was; it is extremely helpful to be this detailed.
Now let’s use Martha as an example of how to fill this out. Think about what she was going through. Do not be afraid to use your imagination by putting yourself in her shoes. Fill out as much of the chart as you feel is appropriate.
Now fill one out for yourself. Remember, the more authentic you can be, the more helpful this activity is. It may be helpful to listen to this song by Matthew West before filling out the graphic. Remember, we cannot change what we do not acknowledge.
After filling this out, pray about each line as specifically as you can. Remind yourself of the God you are praying to. Pray out loud, if possible. Let God know why this is making you anxious and ask Him for help. The more detailed and transparent you are, the better.
Next, if possible, find a trusted friend, family member, or elder in your church to talk to about these things. Research confirms that writing out your stressors, praying about them specifically, and speaking about them with others will significantly reduce your anxiety.
Check in on day 3 of the study as we discuss how to begin overcoming your anxiety. We will be moving on to Step 2: Decide to stop being anxious and intentionally replace anxious thoughts with God’s Word.
(Graphic taken from Jennie Allen’s book “Get Out of Your Head.”)