Giddings-Lovejoy Transitional Presbytery Leader

Rev. Dr. Craig Howard


Responding to Anxiety

One of the many joys of my work is meeting with pastors of the presbytery. Once a month a group of pastors who serve congregations in Illinois gather for lunch, fellowship, and a little bit of business. The Eastside Pastor fellowship are men and women, young and old, serving primarily small or rural congregations. However, they are not immune to the challenges of urbanization, declining oil prices, and farms struggling to hold their own.
These are anxious times for small and rural congregations. These are anxious times for all of us.
David Marshall, a retired pastor shared the following document with the Eastside Pastors. It is a list of how to handle anxiety. David created the document for one of his children, who is having a difficult time during this anxious political climate. When I read the document, I knew it was something to be shared with the entire presbytery! I hope you find it enjoyable as well.
Craig M. Howard

Living Well in Today’s World

                                                                          Expressing anger physically 

NAILING BLOCK:   The standard version is a cedar block 4”x4”x1’, a sturdy hammer, a bag of nails, and safety glasses.  Tap the nail in about a half inch, avoid knots, put on the glasses, now drive the nail with your particular anger cause in mind.  Repeat as necessary, but be cautious not to just rehearse your anger.  See more positive expressions.
PHYSICAL EXERCISE:  Physical exercise is a constructive outlet for anger.  It is clearly established that physical exercise is good for your health and emotional life.  Pick what you like and do it.
YELLING:  Yelling may also help if it does not disturb others.

                                                                                      Positive Action

CHOOSING YOUR RESPONSE:  When a crisis happens the future is determined by how we choose to respond.  If we choose to hide and nurse our anger, we will become depressed and sick.  If we choose a constructive action, we will heal more quickly and make the world a better place.
THE GOOD DEED:  Pick something to do every day for someone else that will put a smile on their face and make their life better.  Repeat as often as the opportunity presents itself. You will feel better.
MUSIC:  Music is healing and comforting. Select a justice song you love. Listen to it. Sing it to yourself.  If you are sharing with a group, make copies and have everyone join in singing it.
YOUR GROUP:  If you are fortunate enough to have a group of like-minded friends, help the group create a safe space where ideas and opinions can be shared without judgment.  In the group seek to understand and be understood.  Name calling is off limits.  Respect is key to a safe group.
VALUES:  Take time to identify your core values.  This is important when you are in conversations with other people.  When you have a conversation where the individuals own their values it will be easier to build a bridge rather than a wall.
FOR PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THERE IS A HIGHER POWER:  The simplest thing to do is have a one-way conversation with your God.  Talk it all out.  Dump your load.  Forgive and ask for forgiveness.  Think about how loving and forgiving your God is.
If you think of yourself as a follower of Jesus, read Matthew 5:38-48.  Think of “perfect” as being complete and whole.
HUMOR:  Laugh, but be kind.

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