Address Your Anxiety Symptoms with 2 Boxes and a Jar

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

We all know what it is like to lose our peace of mind. Perhaps you wonder if you ever had it.

Mass shootings, dirty politics, and world conflict naturally grab out attention.  Nasty rumors and fear-mongering are all the rage these days.  That’s not counting what is going on in your corner! Family issues, work stress, and more all stir our minds until we either escape or run.  Anxiety is triggered for many of us by runaway thoughts.

A practical means of capturing those thoughts was told me this morning by a friend. “B” meant this figuratively, however the tactile use of actual boxes and a jar will be more be helpful for some anxiety sufferers (and especially if you can be forgetful like me). 

(1) Set beside your bed a lidless box that is big enough to hold several sheets or slips of paper. Have a notebook and pen handy too.  At night, when a worry keeps you awake, write it down and throw it in the box.  

Once you have done this, give yourself permission to worry about it tomorrow. Put it off. You can retrieve everything from the box in the morning. Often, what seems overwhelming at night appears more manageable the next day.

(2) Take a second box and draw a prison fence on the outside.  Retain the lid, cutting a slit in the top large enough to put sheets or slips of paper inside. Place this wherever it will help you most. Keep another notebook and pen nearby.  

We are daily surrounded by problems that do not belong to us.  People may try to make them our issues, but it is neither possible nor is it our responsibility to fix everything laid at our feet. Internally, give other people permission to come up with solutions. Whenever you start to stress about a problem that is not yours to fix, write it out, place it in the prison box, and leave it there forever. Let it go.

(3) Using a dark-colored glass jar or bottle, place it wherever it will catch some light. Keep it open, and have slips of paper and pen available. This is your mystery jar.  

Life has mysteries, some of them are very painful. Why do children suffer? Why did I get hurt? Why  does God allow bad things to happen?  These deep questions and others like them may cause us alarm and doubt. It can be difficult to feel at peace when circumstances seem so random.

Write out what mystifies you and place it in the jar.  You will see a dichotomy, one that is better addressed with faith than human logic.  Inside the jar is a great problem surrounded by shadows and light. By faith we can accept that we do not know all the answers. By faith we can believe God is always good.  

Isaiah 55: 6-9 reads, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55: 6-9)

Notice how rays of light sometimes shoot out of your jar. This represents hope to which we can all cling.  Somehow, glory is going to come of what we do not understand. Trusting God’s process and plan will not remove all pain from our experience. It will however, give us a solid footing  in the middle of it all. 

Today’ Helpful Word

2 Corinthians 4:16- 18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.…

To learn more about Eternal Hope, click here.

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

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