A Defense Against Anxiety
On the shelf behind my desk, just over my head, I keep an inscription that serves as a helpful anxiety defense. It is something that I have to read to myself often. It simply declares, “Give us this day our daily bread.” You will recognize it as part of the Lord’s Prayer. It serves to remind me to stay focused on today. When I get anxious, my mind has usually jumped into the future. I begin to wonder about what might happen “if.” Whenever I begin to focus on the future “what ifs” in my life, fear and anxiety are not far behind. I have to catch myself in the moment and ask, “Do you have what you need right now, in this moment?” Of course, I do. Right now, in this moment, I am fine. But then I hear the chorus of “what ifs” and my mind goes straight into anxiety again. So, I have to gently bring myself back to the present moment. “Do you have what you need right now, in this moment?” I will look up to my inscription and pray, “Give me today just what I need for today.” When I am able to focus on the present, I discover that not only can I calm my anxiety, I can turn my anxiety into gratitude. I am not only less afraid of the “what ifs,” but I am aware of what I actually do have.
I frequently have people in my office who are struggling with some anxious fear. It is almost always about something in the future. It may be related to their health, or the economy and their careers, or their children. I will have them focus on the inscription behind my desk and read the words, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Then I will ask, “Do you have what you need for right now, in this moment?”
If you need an anxiety defense today against the uncertainties of the future, here is a simple prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Try it.