Faith When You Don’t Have Control

My dad was a Methodist pastor and is now a chaplain in the army so I have always grown up in church. I watched Veggie Tales when I was little, joined youth group when I started middle school, and went to church almost every Sunday. It has always been a big part of my life. As I got older, I started to look at it as much more than just a routine. God is incredibly important in my life. While that remains true, it doesn’t mean that my faith journey has only been smooth sailing.

Over the past couple years in particular, I’ve had to wrestle with my faith. I mentioned in a previous post that my family seemed to be getting hit with one thing after another. A cousin in her thirties being diagnosed with ALS and my granddaddy declining in health; both of them recently passing away in a span of three months. My classes becoming more challenging and overwhelming. The realization that I’m only a little over a year away from graduating and the fact that I need to start looking towards the future. A lot of concepts that I have zero control over. During these events, my anxiety has only increased. All of this has been difficult. I often find myself knowing that God is the only one who can help me through this period, but resenting Him for letting everything hit me all at once. It’s a constant tug of war in my mind between relying on Him fully and questioning whether He is really working everything together for good.

I’ve been trying to work on prioritizing God like I should. I pray every day and read my Bible, looking to Him to make sense out of the chaotic nature of my life. I still find verses that I like and that help me when I’m feeling anxious. God is still incredibly important to me. I don’t doubt that He is with me. I know He is. But I also don’t think it’s wrong to question why things are the way that they are. If everything was going perfectly in my life, I would have no reason to dig deep and try and grow in my faith. Not having control is something that I struggle a lot with, but it helps me to think that there is someone who loves me who is in control. That doesn’t mean I have found all the answers I’m looking for. In fact, I’m not even close. But, it does mean that I can lean on Him when I feel myself spiraling out of control. He will be there to walk with me on my journey, wherever it may take me.

I thought I would share some of my favorite verses that I look to when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed by life:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” – Psalm 56:3

I would love to hear about your own journey with faith. What do you struggle with? What are some of your favorite verses? Let me know. Thanks for going on this journey with me!

Rachel (:

Apps for Your Emotional Toolbox

Over the last few years I have discovered several apps that have helped me with my anxiety. I found most of them on my own and others were shared with me by my therapist. Some are games that help calm me down and others provide tools to track my anxiety and improve my outlook. Below I give a run down of what each app offers. Bonus: They’re all free!

Fear Tools

This app is specifically designed for people with anxiety. This one was recommended to me by my therapist and has been beneficial for me. I use it for the “thought diary” feature. It allows you to write down exactly what is making you anxious and work through the thoughts in order to lessen the anxiety you’re feeling. There is also a breathing feature that you can follow along with to help you calm down. It’s a great way to keep track of the emotions you are feeling.

Smash Hit

This is a game that I started playing about two years ago. The goal is to get through as many stages as you can without running out of balls. There are various glass obstacles in your way that you smash by throwing balls at them. There are various things to hit along the way to give you more balls. The reason I love this game so much is because it is so soothing. The graphics are great, the colors are muted, and the ability to smash things lets off some stress. If you like playing with the sound on, the music is low key as well. I play this game sometimes when I’m struggling to fall asleep. That should tell you how calming it is. This is the game I most highly recommend.

Happify

This app tailors their approach to you. There are games, meditations, and goals to work towards in order to reduce stress and overcome negative emotions. I’ve only been using this for a few days, but I really like it. It gives you tasks to complete everyday to increase your positive thoughts and emotions and lessen any negativity you are feeling. It also includes articles to read about mental health and forums to share with others who may be feeling some of the same things you are. This is the most well rounded app that I have found.

Kami 2

This game is one of my favorites mainly for the aesthetic. Like Smash Hit, the colors in this game are also subdued. The goal is to figure out how to make each level end with just one color on the screen. It’s a strategy puzzle game, which are some of my favorites, and it is also one that does a good job at calming me down. There is an origami feel to the end of each level that is also satisfying to watch. Visually relaxing.

What’s Up?

This is an app similar to Fear Tools with a couple of other features. There is information on mental health within the app, coping strategies, forums to talk to others, breathing control, helpful websites, and a diary to work through your emotions. The design is a little less crisp than some of the others, but the information is great. For a lot of these apps, you just have to figure out which style you like the best. I personally like Fear Tools a little better, but this app is still great!

Colorfy

This is basically an adult coloring book in app form and is a great way to unwind and take your mind off of all the stress you are feeling. There are all sorts of things to color: mandalas, animals, flowers, and various other drawings. There is a new feature that lets you draw your own pattern to color in. A great way to calm yourself down.

These are some apps that have helped me when I’m feeling particularly anxious. Try them out and let me know what you think! Also, let me know about the apps that you use! Thanks for reading!

Rachel (: