Is It Really Terrible?

by Joan C Webb on June 29, 2011

Our anxiety level increases when we believe statements like: “Disappointing my parents would be terrible” or “If I make a mistake in front of others it would be awful.” The truth is: it would be distasteful, painful, annoying, inconvenient – even sad, but not the end of the world.

  • What if your mother was angry because you couldn’t come to Sunday dinner?
  • What if your spouse retreated in pouting silence when you said No?
  • What if you did make a mistake delivering your next presentation? (Okay, I’m stepping on my own toes here and it hurts! Just saying…)

So, here’s a suggestion: The next time you feel anxiety balloon in your stomach (Well, that’s how it manifests for me. Where does it show up for you?), ask yourself: What is the worst thing that could happen to me? Listen carefully for the answer and then ask another question: Will that worst scenario ever cause God to withhold his love from me?

I invite you to pray with me today: Lord, if I made a mistake, I’d be embarrassed. If my mate got mad at me, it would be extremely unpleasant. If I lost a parent, I’d be grief-stricken. But with your help I would endure, knowing that one day I’ll be with you and everything will be perfect.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam C in Canada June 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I like to live by “If you make a choice that doesn’t please your mate, friends or whoever, the world will not fall apart” (Oprah, 2001), and your ” ‘No’ is a complete sentence”. Very good words of advice & to remind ourselves that just because we didn’t make a choice that made *everyone* happy. Sometimes you just have to please yourself…..

Oh – my anxiety shows up everywhere -nervous, stomach issues, headaches…the list could go on for awhile….

Diane Markins June 30, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Such good and timely advice…summer vacations can often bring about discord as each family member and friend might have different expectations and desires. Moms/wives are ususally the coordinators trying to please everyone. What makes some happy may disappoint others. Sometimes we just have to concoct a plan and let the trip/event/activity end up where it ends up. We can’t please everyone and worrying or feeling guilty and anxious are a waste of precious energy. Thanks!

Joan C. Webb June 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Hi Pam! Yes, thank you for the reminder that “no” is a complete sentence. I like being reminded.
It’s strange how our “anxiety” even tho’ outwardly hidden has to have a place to go–and it can show up in many ways. And Oprah and you are right! :-) The world doesn’t and won’t fall apart if/when someone gets upset with us. Another good reminder for me.
Along these lines, one of the most powerful things I ever read and internalized was: Other people have the right NOT to agree with or believe in my God-given calling and decisions. So living out who I believe God wants me to be doesn’t hinge on whether someone supports and agrees with me. Again, your words reminded me of this. God used you in my life today. And I’m smiling. Thx for your comments.

Joan C. Webb June 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Yes, there is no way we can please everyone, Diane. And when I try I sabotage myself and what God has asked me to do. Thanks for reminding me of this again. Happy 4th of July celebration to you. Have fun with your plans–whatever they are!

MaryL July 1, 2011 at 9:03 am

Anxiety over never ‘making a mistake’ or having someone disspleased with us really is terrible. It kills us slowly and manifests itself in headaches, digestive problems, sleeping problems, memory problems, and so on. Underneath is often the belief that we are what we do. This is one of our enemies greatest weapons I think, ‘you are what you do’ is such a worldly view isn’t it? We get so caught up in doing and doing and doing it perfectly… But this is not the truth. The truth is that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus and we have great value in who we are. Our value is intrinic and can never be diminished or changed by what we do. So when we relax into trusting God with defining our worth – when we operator out of who we are and not what we do; it is amazing how much anxiety is lifted from our heart and mind.

Joan C. Webb July 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm

In our current culture we do get bombarded with messages that “we are what we do.” Indeed, it can be quite draining. Thanks for your comments, MaryL!

Kathleen smith July 7, 2011 at 11:06 am

Thank you for this! My anxiety level soared at church last week when one younger Christian didn’t give me two minutes to say hi to everyone as we moved back to the states for six months…just thrust something in my hands to carry from her car into the church hall while asking me if I would help her. I couldn’t even think to say, “I’ll send someone to help you, this is my first day back. Can you give me a minute to catch my breath?” I upset her apparently, and I hadn’t even made it through the door. Though she has made remarks and those remarks hurt and embarrass me, I am so glad to come across your blog as I know my Lord would like me to gain strength when it comes to others demanding what I may be momentarily unable to give. Thank you for your timely message!

Joan C. Webb July 8, 2011 at 12:20 am

Kathleen, your story and words touched my heart. That must have been a jarring experience for you, to say the least. Your phrase “my Lord would like me to gain strength when it comes to others demanding what I may be momentarily unable to give.” amazes me. Yes. And thank YOU for your timely comments. I appreciate you taking the time to share.

Kay July 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Joan, thank you for the prayer at the end. I think I’ll suggest some of my clients come to your website and read this post. Too often I “catastrophize” situations that are really normal parts of life. Thanks for decreasing my anxiety today.

Joan C. Webb July 30, 2011 at 3:26 am

Hi Kay! Thanks for your affirming comments. I’d love to have your clients stop by. :-) Glad we could both breathe a little deeper with this prayer. Relief-blessings to you this coming weekend.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: