“Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about EVERYTHING.”
In this week’s episode, we talk about something that’s burdening more people than ever – anxiety. Anxiety can be overbearing but rather than letting it take over, get some tips from Alan and Pauly about how to cope and manage your anxiety.
Note: Below is a transcription of this Walking Our Talk podcast. Please excuse any grammatical or punctuation flaws, as the transcription is a written version of our fluid conversation.
Pauly [00:00:07] Welcome to walking our talk with Alan and Pauly Heller, join our conversation as we discuss practical ways to apply spiritual principles to your everyday life and help you walk your talk one step at a time.
Alan [00:00:25] Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. This is Alan Heller, and we are walking our talk. I have Pauly in the studio with me.
Pauly [00:00:36] Hello.
Alan [00:00:36] We’re going to be talking about anxiety, which is not a fun subject. So Philippians 4:6-7 says this, “Tell God what you need. Thank him for all he has done. Then you’ll experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds. As you live in Christ Jesus.”.
Alan [00:01:03] What causes you to be anxious? We are in a life threatening position sometimes and that can cause us anxiety. That’s the easy one if a car is coming right at me. I feel a little anxious. Could be physically or emotionally. Sometimes a person that we are with can make us feel insecure and have anxiousness because we don’t feel accepted or loved. You know, there are all kinds of things. So for you, Pauly, because you tend to be a little that just seems to be one of your things over the years that you overthink or get paralyzed. Was that an analysis paralysis?
Pauly [00:01:53] Yeah. Well, you know, it’s interesting, Alan, I’ve been thinking about this because I’ve always gotten very adrenalized when I was facing a competition or a big test or something. And when I was a kid, that adrenaline would drive my performance to a higher level. So I was always a good test taker. When I used to swim in the summer, that adrenaline would push me harder. When I was doing gymnastics the adrenaline would push my performance to a little higher level. But something has happened as I’ve gotten older, something where that adrenaline just turns into a jittery, upset feeling that then feeds into my thoughts where I think something disastrous is going to happen. I’m not sure where that switch took place, but it has become I as I became an adult anxiety, a worry, a fear. And it’s interesting because, you know, here I became a Christian in my early 20s. And so the first thing I felt as a new believer was this amazing relief and lifting of my guilt. And then, wham, I start getting hit with all of this anxiety. And I think sometimes Satan, our enemy, takes those jittery feelings and turns them into anxious thoughts. And we start looking at them and paying attention to them and drawing our attention away from our trust in the Lord.
Alan [00:03:50] So some of this stuff is just personality. I mean, I think there are people that just in general feel anxious and there are other people that have nerves of steel. I mean, we were watching that documentary of the guy who’s climbing without ropes up Yosemite you know, up the face of this, you know, and I mean, I could not do that. I would have been paralyzed before I started. And even though I was a gymnast and I would get jittery before a meet or before my floor exercise routine, and it was 50/50, whether it would work for me or work against me. But in general, you know, you want me in a crisis. I tend to be sort of the steady put my own stuff away and just move forward, you know.
Alan [00:04:41] With covid and all this stuff going on that’s caused a lot of people to be anxious. Our political situation, all this stuff, because there’s been a very difficult time of finding, you know, what is true, what is right, what you know, we used to be able to sort of rely on the experts and now the experts are being stumped and saying, you know, Fauchi at one point said one thing and then another. And then pretty soon you’re trying to figure out. And so that will cause anxiousness. So here in this verse, it says, don’t worry about anything, but it gives you an alternative. Instead, pray about everything, tell God what you need and thank him for all he’s done.
Alan [00:05:26] So one of the things that helps me is to focus on him, his word, and then thank him for what he’s done in the past. That has shown me his faithfulness and of course, his words as he’s the same yesterday, today and forever. And so I know that he’s my rock, he’s my fortress, he’s my deliverer in him. Can I trust he’s my high tower? I can run into him and be safe. And so those verses, first of all, you have to read the word in order to have those verses in there.
Pauly [00:06:02] Right.
Alan [00:06:03] But I tell people the reason why I have so much scripture in my head is that I’ve been through so many situations where I needed that scripture to the point where it’s helped me and then it’s just there for life. And then I’m helping others with the same help that I you know, Corinthians talks about comfort, those with the comfort whereby you’ve been comforted. And so I think that can help. And it says then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. So the truth is, we can’t understand it all. And we need to rely on the Lord who has infinite wisdom and has the ability. I think of first, Peter, cast all your anxiety upon me because I care for you when I know somebody cares. That helps me not be anxious.
Alan [00:07:00] So Henry Cloud from the Boundaries book Henry Cloud and John Townsend wrote Boundaries. He was giving a little talk, a podcast, and he says, here are things that go on that cause us anxiety. It’s fear. And so he says, face the fear. And he says sometimes you need to ignore the fear. And then he says, do the thing that you’re afraid of. Now that takes courage to do what you’re afraid of. You know, we have a friend who. On his 16th birthday, wanted to face his greatest fear, and so he went up in an airplane and jumped out with a parachute that did open.
Pauly [00:07:47] I’m not going to do that.
Alan [00:07:48] Yeah, he faced his greatest fear and I’m glad he faced his because I’m not going to do that either.
Pauly [00:07:53] Well, that’s not my greatest fear. You know, I’m not afraid of jumping out of an airplane, but I’m also not interested in jumping out of an airplane. But I worry about so many other things. And I think that, you know, Henry, that you’re this quote from Henry Cloud. Your fear is real and your feelings are valid. Some of the things that I fear I have had to face, we had to face our son dying of cancer. And I remember times when I was in the hospital with him or when he was going through treatment and I would just start shaking, like just literally shivering so hard that I could hardly control it. And it was just this overwhelming. Even as I was trying to talk words of encouragement or say positive things, this shaking would be so profound. It was just overcoming. It was a real fear. And but ultimately, I had to trust God with that real fear. And our son did die. And the worst thing we could possibly imagine as parents did occur. But in the midst of that, God proved himself trustworthy. He did calm those fears. But even since then, I’ve had a lot of anxiety about things that I absolutely have no control of.
Alan [00:09:35] Like What? The whole world situation?
Pauly [00:09:41] Yes. I mean, the political situation, even when they started talking about covid overseas, you know, kind of imagine the last scene of one of those disaster movies where this tidal wave is going to be engulfing New York City. And it’s like, OK, this is coming and what am I going to do, stand on the shore with my dad and face it? You know, like at the end of that movie, there’s nothing you can do to stop something that disastrous from happening. But in the meantime, how am I going to live my daily life? How am I going to face what’s happening, the real relationships that I have right in front of me?
Alan [00:10:31] Right.
Pauly [00:10:32] So I do have to recognize. Yes, there there are situations in this world that are completely out of my control, but those things are in God’s hands and always have been.
Alan [00:10:46] And if we can remind ourselves, you know, I remember you telling me that when the kids were small and they were all dragging, you know, I picture you at the kitchen sink and and they’re all clawing at you and and you would say, I need somebody to tell me the truth, but I’m just overwhelmed. And I think that’s one of the things that causes anybody to get anxious when we’re overwhelmed either internally or externally with physical things or emotional things. Or, of course, the psychologists and research says, you know, 90 percent of the things that we worry about aren’t going to happen anyway. And yet we do. And certainly Paul would not have said don’t be anxious if we weren’t so. So he knows we’re going to be anxious. That’s the human condition. But we can more of the time is what I say, be able to overcome that with the truth and by his spirit. So what can we do about, you know, what can our response be? Certainly, Paul says pray about it and tell God what you’re feeling and what you’re fearing and then thank him for the answers of prayer that you’ve had in the past, as well as thanking him not for the pain that you’re feeling.
Alan [00:12:10] Certainly when we were going through the worst experience of our life with Josh over a 10 month period, we basically, apart from a miracle, were going to see him die. And so we knew that was, from a human standpoint, the end and you’re just waiting, you know, what’s going to happen between that time and that caused tremendous anxiousness to the point where there was a breaking. And, you know, for me, after a year later, my adrenaline and all that stuff caught up with me and I went into a depression. And so emotionally, you know, if you said, Alan, don’t be anxious about anything that really didn’t help me a whole bunch. Mostly what helped me was actually somebody empathizing or getting into the boat with me. And just like Joab’s friends for the first week of Joab’s experience, they just sat and were silent. And for the person that put his arm around me and just said this, this stinks, and this is really hard. That’s what helped me.
Alan [00:13:18] And so facing it, James 1 says this, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of all kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy, for you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow. For when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect.” And what that word perfect means is whole and complete, needing nothing. So all of us love to be whole, complete, needing nothing. I don’t know too many people that come in my office for counseling and say, boy, I really would like some pain and trials and tribulations, but that is what gives us endurance and helps us to deal with our anxiety.
Alan [00:14:06] Matthew 11:28-30 in the Living Bible says this, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me, get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it. It’s talking about Jesus. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitted on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lively.”
Alan [00:14:48] And that sort of brings me to John 15, you know, “Abide in me. If my word abides in you and you abide to me, then you’re going to bear fruit.” And so anxiousness will start to go away when we’re able to, one, give God the fear, the anxiety to actually talk to him and admit it. You have to admit it before you can get rid of it. If you keep saying, I’m not going to be anxious, I’m not going to be anxious, those are some of the most anxious people I know.
Pauly [00:15:19] Yeah, but you say abide in me and I think, you know, abide that’s not a word that we use a lot. So what does that mean? Like when when you tell somebody to abide by.
Alan [00:15:36] The original word means to make my home with. And so it speaks of a relationship. And I think we talk a lot about relationship and religion and the need to relate to God, not just check him off our backs. OK, we did our you know, everybody’s into, you know, reading the Bible in a year and I got my fifteen minutes in and OK, there we are. Instead of spending some time soaking, listening. But it takes an effort. I mean, Heber says be diligent to enter into his rest. So in order to get anxiety free, we have to be diligent to enter into the very rest that God says we will have if we take his yoke on us and learn of him. But the key is taking his yolk on, learning of him and knowing what his word says about the truth of if you abide in me, if you if you make your home in me, when the winds come and the storms blow, it’s like the man who built his house upon the rock.
Pauly [00:16:45] Abide and make yourself at home. It kind of makes me the word came to my mind, settle in like how you settle into a comfortable chair or something like that, and how you can settle into a chair and really be comfortable there. Or you can sit on the edge of your seat and even though chair is comfortable and meant for you to be at home in. You’re still sitting on it like, you know, like you don’t really belong there. And it made me think of how some friends at one time allowed us to use their condominium in Hawaii. And it was just this beautiful place. And I was just overwhelmed by how luxurious it felt and we walked in and of course, the carpet had just been vacuumed, everything was spotless and and and you kept telling me, just relax and enjoy it. They said, make yourself at home. And I was always worried that every footstep that I made was I’m going to mess it up because I was making marks on the carpet. I was spilling things on the counter. I just wanted to keep wiping things up. And I wasn’t at home there.
Alan [00:17:58] Yeah for about three days.
Pauly [00:17:59] It took a while to actually abide in that place. And I think sometimes that’s the way we are with God. It’s like he says, make yourself at home, you know, just live here with me and we can just be on the edge of our seats trying to perform for him. Not really feeling comfortable there. And God says, settle in, be at home with me. Let me carry you through this. Let me walk with you through this thing you’re going through, because I’m here for you and you can just relax and be here with me.
Alan [00:18:36] That’s a good word. And that’s what we want to do as we walk our talk. And we’re excited to do these podcasts. You know, if you go to our website, you can find more resources for you at: walkandtalk.org. You can find podcasts or articles and all kinds of help. So Pauly, thanks for being here and we hope you will take his yolk upon you and learn of him so you don’t have to be anxious in the midst of this world that’s going bananas. That’s why we’re here to walk our talk.
Pauly [00:19:21] This has been walking our talk with Alan and Pauly Heller, where we put into action those principles. We know from God’s word one step at a time. You can find more help at our website: walkandtalk.org.