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Emotions Reflections

Where Do You Turn To Feel Better When You’re Anxious?

Hi there!  How are you today?  Are you hanging in there?

In my last post, I mentioned feeling anxious about a medical procedure and it seemed to strike a chord.  Many of us have anxiety, related to all kinds of things, so let’s talk about it!  When you’re anxious, and want to feel better, where do you turn?

More about my recent experience: 

I’m at relative risk for skin cancer.  I’m blonde.  I’ve gotten too much sun on many occasions.  And there is history of skin cancer in my family.

I couldn’t get an appointment with dermatology when I lived in California.  But when I moved to Arizona, my new primary care doctor referred me right away.  And they suggested a blue light treatment for my face.

Blue Light Therapy

When the dermatologist explained the procedure, she said they’d apply a chemical cream all over my face, and only the pre-cancerous cells would absorb it.  For an hour, it would soak into worrisome patches, even those too small to be seen.  Then, they’d put me in front of a blue light for 16-17 minutes, which would activate the chemical, and treat all the pre-cancer spots at once.

She said I’d need to stay indoors for several days after the treatment and the date they suggested (this week) was relatively clear on my calendar.  I left there feeling grateful.  Finally, someone was going to take care of the spots I’d been concerned about!

They prescribed a medication to take, starting the day before my blue light treatment.  I think that’s where the trouble began.  One side effect I noticed was a racing heart.

Quest for Information

You know how you can get a whiff of a fragrance and you’re suddenly whisked back to a memory?  I think my heart palpitations worked the same way and recalled some past anxieties.  In response, I turned the wrong direction. 

I went to the internet.  I aimed to arm myself with information.  I wanted to know exactly what was going to happen to me in front of that blue light.

All I found was clinical information.  It said I might experience burning, itching, and stinging during and after the treatment.  It said my skin could swell, turn red, blister, and crack.  And usually when a medical professional says, “this might sting a bit”, you know what that really means!

So, I looked for more personal story.  I wanted to hear from someone who’d undergone this treatment.  There must be some accounts out there, but I didn’t find even one!

Feelings of Anxiety

With my heart already racing and my breathing shallow, I felt anxious.  I began to wonder if I’d be able to sit through the duration of time I was scheduled to be in the light. 

What if the burning was excruciating?  And what if I couldn’t work while my face festered all week?  (Thankfully I work from home, because at the very least, it promised to be ugly!)

My turning point:

And then I realized I’d gotten way off track.  Instead of turning to God, who knew exactly what lay ahead for me, I had taken my anxiety to the internet. 

In essence, I knelt at the altar of information instead of taking my worry to the cross.

I’ve noticed a pattern in my life of turning to information.  When I get anxious about unknowns, I study to understand them.  Armed with knowledge, I feel stronger.

If you could schedule 5 minutes with someone who knows everything, would you take it?  What would you ask?

I don’t remember where I heard it, or what the exact words were, but I remember someone asking if I would take advantage of an opportunity to sit for a few minutes with someone who had everything figured out.  Talk about valuable information!  I would absolutely take that opportunity and could immediately think of topics to fill hours of conversation. 

Of course, the point was that I have 24/7 access to God, who knows everything.  And yet, I often neglect my prayer time.  How foolish!

I hadn’t yet taken that lesson to heart.  My anxiety and subsequent turn to information had proven that to me.  So, I did an about face. 

A Bible verse on a picture of the sky.
God knows our hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him.

I turned to God, to whom nothing was unknown.  He not only knew my anxious thoughts, and the offensive way I had taken, he knew what I would endure during my blue light treatment and after.  He was going to be there with me, in the dermatologist’s office and at home while I healed.

I prayed Psalm 139:23, 24, as I shared in my most recent post.  And peace came flooding in.  My heart was still racing from the medication, but my mind was able to rest as I trusted God to lead me to and through what I was facing.

I suspect I’m not the only one in the habit of turning to information to make me feel better.  When I exclaim about how foolish that is, I’m speaking to myself.  Maybe it hits home with you too.

Information can be valuable, sure.  But I don’t want to worship there.  Do you?  How much better to go directly to God, who created all things, understands all things, and from whom nothing is hidden!

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 34:4

What are you anxious about right now?  Do you believe God has the answers?  Have you placed your hope elsewhere?  Do you find confidence in information before you turn to God?  I think we can do both, but there is a correct order and I, for one, have been getting it backwards.  What about you?


Please join me next time to discuss the general topic of anxiety.  What is it?  How should we handle it?  I expect it will be a worthwhile conversation for us all!

Once I am on the other side of this whole blue light therapy experience, I will share about that too. Maybe it will help the next person who wants to hear from someone who went through it.

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17 replies on “Where Do You Turn To Feel Better When You’re Anxious?”

Oh how I love this! I have recently found myself in the same place with God saying to me “you aren’t looking to Me first.” Ouch, that hurts. I love your phrase “In essence, I knelt at the altar of information instead of taking my worry to the cross.” Beautifully said and this is something I am working on. Thanks for sharing your perspective. Best Wishes Always! Leigh

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And thanks for sharing yours! I know there is a place for independence and all, But I think I wish God gave me a smidge less. Feeling like I can, or should, be able to start handling things my way gets me into trouble. Have a great day!

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I understand. Many time we look to the world for answers, but the world isn’t all-knowing and all-seeing, is it? I generally cry out to God. However, I know many people who either don’t believe He exists (horrors!!!) or don’t think He has time for their little problems (even worse!) or want to be self-sufficient so that He will be proud of them. Ummm…hello? If God is our Father, what kind of misguided crap is that thinking? Take EVERYTHING to the Lord!!!

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Right you are! What’s so foolish about my run for information is that we all know information is incomplete or incorrect or both. We are constantly hearing new information and that will continue. But God knows the whole truth. Best to go to Him and let Him lead the first time, every time!

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Mama Lava, sorry for your ordeal with skin cancer. I have many similarities, I’m fair-skinned, have been overexposed, and skin cancer runs in my family. I had some surgically removed from my forehead this spring. Sad to say, I’ve been there, done that––went to the alter of information. Grateful we have a God who forgives when we repent and change our ways.

A scripture that helps me is, “Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul” (Psalm 94:18b-19, NKJV).

I’ve written this verse on the corner of my bathroom mirror with a dry-erase marker because I need a DAILY reminder.

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When my son was in kindergarten we discovered he had a blocked sinus and needed surgery. During the cat scan the tech pointed out a tumor in his brain by the optic nerve. I didn’t sleep for two days and spent my time reading the internet — which made my anxiety worse. When my son and I arrived at his ENT, I asked the doctor about the tumor — because he didn’t mention it! He said it was a harmless cyst and promised to have a word with the tech who pointed it out to me! I should have turned to God instead of WebMD.

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Oh my, I can relate! I’m pale skinned, too, with family history of skin cancer! How Satan loves to use our fears to turn us away from trusting God. The internet’s instant accessibility to boatloads of (often conflicting) information doesn’t really help either. Will pray for a successful treatment and anxiety-free experience…may you sing psalms of praise once this is past!

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Yes, the internet can be an idol in so many ways! But it is a foolish one- like you said, full of conflicting, inaccurate, and incomplete information. I’m so grateful we have the ultimate Source open, available, and absolutely infallible! I’m sorry you can relate to this skin cancer risk. Thank you for sharing.

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I’m so glad you’re finally getting proper treatment and attention on this! I also understand this anxiety you’ve described, and your message is so valuable. The internet is a great source for information. But it is NOT a great source for comfort. And I think most people confuse the two. And when you are anxiety-ridden, you need comfort first. Thanks for such a great post! 🙂

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Oh my, I have promised myself never to look up things on the web medically wise after scaring myself to no point of return. Knowing that God knows the answers and outcome is out of my control and yes that can or should be a scary thought but honestly that is comforting to me. Thank you for sharing your procedure you had to go through I hope the results was good news .hugs my friend.

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Yes, there are certainly pros and cons with the internet. It should moms with a warning label
“Wisdom required”! Haha! Good for you to know where to and not to turn.

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