I believe that sometimes God presents us with certain challenges in our life to lead us to exactly where we are supposed to be. There were times in my life where I was given obstacles that I thought that I would never get past. I was so overwhelmed that it felt like I was swimming in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight. But instead of giving up and drowning into the water, I became a better swimmer.
In John 13:7, Jesus exclaims “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” When I look at any challenge that has ever been thrown my way in retrospect I can clearly see that it has made me into a stronger person and led me exactly to the path that I was meant to be on. I had to learn to shift my perspective. I was asking God to change the situation that I was in without realizing that God put me in that situation to change me.
Of course, I didn’t just wake up one day and stopped having intrusive thoughts but I did learn how to control them. I came up with tools that I could use whenever a bad thought entered into my brain. One of the most helpful tools is reciting a set of affirmations within my head whenever I am feeling overwhelmed.
“I am bigger than whatever is making me anxious.”
“I have everything I need to overcome this challenge.”
“I am blessed and watched over.”
Another helpful tool that I have learned to use is actually physically stopping what I am doing in that moment and taking the time to breathe and be present. As I breathe in and out, I imagine all of the tension releasing from my body. We often don’t notice all of the tension we are holding within our body that is causing us physical distress. I sometimes even start at the top of my head and slowly relax each muscle until I am all the way down to my feet. It is amazing how taking just a moment of mindfulness can set you on a completely different path for your entire day.
And lastly, I learned to lean more into my faith. I wanted to start reaching for God the same way that I was reaching for my phone. When I feel bored, when I am uncomfortable, when I need answers or entertainment, or when I am lonely and need someone to talk to. I stopped venting and started praying.
Romans 12:2 states, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”