The Link Between Anxiety and Control

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”

– Psalm 37:7a

I’ve always been a careful planner. I like to know what to expect. As a result, I love organizing things, making lists, and creating plans. Although these are good qualities, I think that sometimes control is actually a coping mechanism for my anxiety.

There are so many unpredictable things that happen in life. And I feel safest when I try to control what I can.

My desire for control affects the way I plan my week. I’ve noticed that I can be fairly inflexible about my daily and weekly schedule because routines make me feel safe. As a teacher, this also impacts my classroom. I spend too much time over preparing for lessons and often miss out on spontaneous moments of fun with my students. Control impacts my relationships as well. I regularly rehearse difficult conversations with people in an effort to be prepared for any possible outcome. My desire for control even affects my relationship with God. I struggle to just be quiet and let God speak to me whatever He wants to say.

I can say from personal experience that controlling my own life is exhausting. It leaves me tired, weary, and discouraged since I’m living out of my own strength.

However, I’m learning that God doesn’t call me to control and manipulate situations just so that I can feel better.

He calls me to be still.

He reminds me that He is God and I am not.

He invites me to surrender control because His ways are so much higher than mine.

He helps me to open my fists and let go of the things that I think will make me happy so that He can show me true joy.

I’ve been discovering that solitude is a powerful tool for releasing control. This can be as simple as taking just 10 minutes a day to be quiet before God. During this time, I don’t bring my own agenda or questions. Instead, I ask God to speak to me whatever He wants to say. Sometimes He encourages me to pursue an activity that I hadn’t planned for that day. Other times He invites me to reach out to someone in my life. And most of the time He simply reminds me of who He is and who I am.

In these times I feel truly secure in the love of my Father.

And I remember that out of control is actually the best place to be.

19 thoughts on “The Link Between Anxiety and Control

  1. Wow I can totally relate to how tiring it is to do things in our own strength though mine isnt through controlling. Continue learning and growing sis. God is a good God, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Allowing Word of God to dwell richly within us has a way of working away at our weaknesses, and keeps our eyes focused on Jesus, relying on Him

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I recently started trying to make sure I’m taking time to listen to God during my prayer time too. I tried to listen for 15 minutes. At first my mind kept wandering but then once I settled down, scriptures would come to my mind, and thoughts of Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a pastor I experienced huge burn-out, with social phobia. In addition to what you have written, I found a mild antidepressant for general and social anxiety very helpful. As a committed believer I personally don’t have any tensions between prayer and medical help. Just saying…

    Liked by 1 person

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