What're You Letting Land?

Anxiety.

It's a dirty word. It's a common word. Sometimes we don't know whether to use it. Sometimes we have no other word to use. 

Last week we talked about anxiety in a practical sense and we're back at it again because we feel this concept is very important and needs to be highlighted.

Today I want to bring two thoughts to you: You are not alone, and what are you letting land?

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Even if you "know" that you're not alone in this because you know of one or two other people or you know the statistics, let it sink in today. You are not alone.

Almost everyone deals with anxiety on some level. Some have clinically diagnosed anxiety, some have crippling anxiety, some aren't sure whether they're allowed to call it anxiety, some worry a lot. But almost everyone lands somewhere on the scale at one point or another.

I was surprised when in a room with some of my closest friends, I realized that almost all, if not every single person in that room identifies with struggling with anxiety or depression. People I live with, walk with, work with, and care about. And I had just never thought about it.

Sometimes it's easy to begin to feel like a freak. "What's wrong with me?" "Why can't I just get over this?" "What does it take to fix this?" 

I think when we begin to realize we are not the only ones who think these things, it takes a weight off our shoulder. 

Life is difficult. The past is heavy. The future is scary. The present is running away fast. That can be overwhelming, and we're all trying to hold that all up in our lives. 

But know, you're not the only one. This knowledge doesn't fix anything, but it often helps comfort.

I encourage you: start a dialogue. Open up to your friends or coworkers about it. Get a conversation going in which you and others are able to open up about what you're struggling with. 

Talking through things doesn't erase problems, but it helps. You've heard people say that bottling emotions is bad for you and it's so true. Being vulnerable can be scary, but it's the first step on the path to healing and understanding.

Especially as a leader, start this conversation. PLEASE start this conversation with your team. Most people won't open up about this because they fear that it's not appropriate or not their place, so it's up to you.

What you're doing matters, but nothing will matter more than the individual lives of the members on your team. We do what we do for people, ultimately. This conversation can allow your team members to feel seen, feel less abnormal, and begin to reach for health.

WHAT ARE YOU ALLOWING TO LAND?

Sometimes it seems impossible or hopeless, but in a world where we have little control, we DO have some control over our thoughts. 

We can't necessarily control what pops into our brains, but we can practice controlling what we allow to stay, sink in, or "land."

Hear me, I'm not saying this is a fix all-that if you master this, you'll never feel anxious or depressed-but it's a tool. It's a fantastic tool to try to conquer these issues. 

Often these battles feel hopeless, especially because it feels like there's nothing we can do. And honestly, there's usually not much you can do. But there is something: exercise what amount of power you do have over what you allow to stay in your mind.

Biblically, we are taught to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)." Practically, we are taught to take control of our lives. 

Fighting these things is difficult, but at least it is a fight. It can feel like a punishment, like you're chained up and lying paralyzed in a corner while anxiety, depression, and life kicks you repeatedly, but that's not true. Sometimes, we have to wake up to the fact that while we may be lying crumpled in a corner, we can fight to pick up our legs, stand up, and punch back.

It's not easy, it's HARD work, but it's possible.

My worship pastor told me recently, when a negative though tries to land, try this:

1. Write the problem you're experiencing in one sentence.

2. Write a biblical promise (or if you're not Christian, maybe it's a proverb or a mantra that you know is true)

3. How has God worked in the past that shows you His goodness? (Or if you're not Christian, what beauty or goodness have you seen in the world points out something better than your thoughts?)

Here's a real life example from my life lately: "I am feeling anxious about the uncertainty of what I will and even want to do with my life. God walks with me through every choice, leading me on toward His perfect Will as I walk with Him. I have come through so much uncertainty to an amazing life I never could have pictured myself in."

It's not perfect, it doesn't always resolve your problem, but it puts your mind on better things and that's a start.

It's important because these issues keep us from operating at 100%, and when we operate at less, we are able to give less to those around us and what's in front of us. 

Healing can seem far off, and maybe it is, but even though it may not feel like it, it is possible and it does exist. 

As an individual, consider: do I struggle with anxiety? If so, how can you take a first step toward managing, healing, or addressing that issue? What are you letting land? How can you change your thought life?

As a leader, consider: does my team struggle with these issues? How can I create a dialogue with my team where they feel comfortable discussing this? How can I encourage my team in their struggles?

Mental health is key, and I think this society is finally starting to realize this. Let's figure out what we need to get mentally healthy.