Anxiety and Stress: Can You Control Feeling Out of Control?

by Delena Stuart Watson

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-8 NKJV

Philippians is so simple in its command to be anxious for nothing. So why does it often feel so complex? When we’re going through tough times and everything seems out of control, we might feel stuck, and unable to find peace. We’ve all been there.

Through the years, as a wife, a mother, a leader in the corporate world, I often felt overwhelmed and out of control, but no more than the day I gave birth to our baby girl. At that unexpected time of delivery, the doctors shared the news no mother wants to hear—that our child had multiple health concerns and might not survive over the next few hours. This brought unimaginable shock and pain, and I felt the hospital room spinning out of control as workers swept her away to the local children’s hospital.

When those chaotic moments occurred, it was easy to stay in a cycle of stress and worry, which led me to be consumed by the need to control every detail of what was happening. Eventually, though, I had no choice at all but to cry out to God.

Our unanswered questions and lack of clarity can put a chokehold on our lives. When this happens, it is important to shift our need for control to our need for Him—the One who never changes, who walks with us through all our storms, who provides clarity and direction when we don’t know what to do.

Too often we try to solve our problems on our own, spending much time in thinking, without even realizing it. But a more helpful way to cope with things out of our control is to stop seeing our situation as negative by practicing thankfulness and acceptance, which is hard during times of chaos. 

I try to keep in mind Ephesians 5:20, “…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (NIV).As I begin to focus on God, what He is doing in my life, and thanking Him, I turn my negative feelings into empowerment. Shifting that focus gives me assurance that He will guide my every thought, emotion, word, and action so that His will and purpose for me will become evident.

To find your refuge in an unshakable God, you must first begin with gratitude as your way of worship. To help regain some sense of control, find two moments in your day for which that you can be grateful and write them down. Do the same thing tomorrow. In the days to come, this record will help you remember that not every moment has been bleak.

Dear Lord, My mind and heart are consumed with what is happening around me. I have lost control of everything, and I don’t know what to do next. Even though I may not be able to feel You with me right now, I am thankful I can depend on Your faithfulness and Your Word, which promises You will never leave us nor forsake us. Please step into my life and guide my every thought, emotion, word, and action so that Your will and purpose for me might become evident. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA). About the author:

About the author: Delena is a wife, mother, grandmother, Corporate/Christian speaker, published author, and founder of Ragan’s HOPE. When asked about her proudest accomplishments, she answers, “my family.”

Delena enjoys speaking on topics like overcoming adversity, leadership, various corporate topics and the power of faith. Her debut memoir, “Finding Hope During Uncertainty,” was written to encourage others as they go through difficult times. Her inspiration comes from her own story and experiences, which she hopes will inspire others to not only endure, but embrace what they are going through. Delena and her husband Dan live in Texas and love spending time with their grandson, Ethan. 

Join the conversation: How do you deal with feeling out of control?

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