Devotion: When You Can’t See Your Options, God Can Cast Out Fear
Posted Nov 20 2011 10:00am
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
As I am learning more about ADHD, a diagnosis my son received earlier this year, I am beginning to see why he reacts the way he does to certain situations. One noticeable response is when something is different than his typical routine he emotionally freezes up. I recently heard a a wonderful explanation of why it may be hard for him to see another option as being viable, despite our best attempt to present him with multiple choices.
For example, if you always drive to the grocery store a certain route, and one day there is construction, the average person may instinctively just drive around the block looking for another entrance or follow the detour signs. One with ADHD, however, cannot even see that these other options exist. They put their brakes on, refuse to move, and start to feel anxiety, maybe even having a type of panic attack.
Observers may see this behavior as stubbornness or strong-will. They present other options, but they are all turned down. Until the person can come to a reconciliation in his own mind that another option exists, and he is willing to take the risk of trying it, they are at a standstill. Stuck.
As I read this, I wondered how many adults are coping with this hurdle and spiritually beating themselves up because they know this scripture about not being anxious, but even the simplest changes in their daily routine leave them floundering.
Yes, God does tell us to be “anxious is nothing . Oh, how much harder this is to practice then it sounds! While some of us may have a medical condition that makes it exceptionally hard for us to avoid anxiety, others of us can still struggle with it in our every day life. The fears of the unknown, the costs involved, and even the uncomfortable medical procedures all are reasonable excuses for being anxious, but that doesn’t mean we can give into that natural instinct.
But feeling anxiety is not a reason to think, “I am such a terrible Christian. I should be better at this.” Don’t allow yourself to feel guilt and shame, bringing the focus back onto yourself. Instead, cling to God’s promises and put the emphasis on His ability to cast aside fear.
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” (Matthew 10:28a)
“Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” (Mark 5:36b)
Prayer: God, sometimes no matter how hard I try to hear your voice clearly, I just see roadblocks everywhere. Teach me to clearly see my options and teach me not to fear alternatives to my typical routine by casting out any fear that is not from you.
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop .
Does a small change in your routine throw off your stress level? When other people tell you that you have plenty of alternative options do you tend to not be able to see them as real choices? How do you get past the anxiety so you are able to make a decision?