On pins and needles I seem to be,
Fretting with cares too great for me.
Each move I make may cause pain,
I can’t move forward or back again.
On pins and needles I seem to be ,
Afraid of what is, what isn’t, and what might be.
Struggling I stand and take a breath,
Here–where I am–I WILL not rest.
On pin and needles I seem to be,
But that is not the whole truth for me.
With courage in my step and hope by my side,
I move ahead–pins and needles collide. -HM
What a pesky annoyance anxiety is. It really does feel like we are on pins and needles–just enough discomfort to make us afraid to move.
Many of us have struggles with anxiety–whether a slight hum in the back round or flat out fear. It paralyzes us with an inability to move. We become stuck or frozen right where we are. The questions and doubts pile up all around us until we cannot see anything but the causes of our unrest.
On pins and needles is NO place to live.
We have been talking about the idea that we can use something so small, like a needle or pin, as a way to remind us that even the smallest step or change toward the positive is powerful. (Check out the two previous posts: Into the Fray and Repairing the Breach.) We are not helpless or hopeless in our lives. Healing and hope go hand-in-hand. We have been learning that even if our circumstances don’t change we can learn to be hopeful. Even if things happen beyond our control, we can learn to craft a more HOPE-full life through being intentional. Here is a little surprise for those of you who struggle with anxiety…
Anxiety is a step away from hope.
One way to look at anxiety is to see it as our heart’s way of telling us that we need to deal with an issue or person. Anxiety reveals to us that we desire or expect more or different than what is evident now. Anxiety can be a small seed of hope–immature, undeveloped hope–and where there is room for growth–there is room for HOPE.
We can learn to use this as a tool to hep us recognize the areas where hope is needed.
Websters 1828 dictionary defines hope as: (boldness in definition added by me)
“(noun.) a desire of some good with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it.
Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.“
“(verb.) to cherish a desire of good, with some expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. To place confidence in; to trust in with confident expectation of good.
Hope is confident expectation.
In my life I have yet to change a person or the people around me. I have, however, changed who I hang out with, the level of negativity in my life, how I view success, and I have learned how to apply hope to each and every situation that causes me anxiety. I cannot change the fact that I have made mistakes in my life–some rather large– but I can embrace the hope that I have grown from them and am a better person for it. A side benefit is that, sometimes but not always, the people and circumstances around me change because I have embraced hope. Hope opens up the possibilities and helps me to see them whereas fear( anxiousness) keeps me focused on the negative possibilities.
Here’s the best part: a small change, like a needle or pin, is where we start.
Intentional action: list your top 5 causes of anxiety from greatest to least.
Contrary to human logic let’s not start with the biggest source but the smallest. Sometimes our anxiety is a bunch of smaller things and by sorting them out we can make the needed adjustments.
So we ask ourselves what can we do to relieve that bit of anxiousness?
- Is it a change in a thought pattern? –like replacing “I am afraid that__” to ” I hope that doesn’t happen but if it does I know that I will be okay” or something like that. Anxiety has it’s roots twisted in truth and lie. Sometimes we have to sort a bit before we can choose the intentional action that will work. It takes practice but it is worth the effort to be able to get unstuck.
- Is is a change in behavior? –like deciding to stop watching the evening news because it leaves me unsettled and choosing to read or listen to music instead? I’m not denying that the world is a rough place but choosing to not end my day with stressful news, and fear-based reporting.
The thought behind starting with the smallest source is that as we find some relief from the weight of our stress and anxiety, we gain strength and hope to tackle the bigger sources.
Remember, anxiety is the way our hearts point out the places in our lives that are in need of some attention–areas where there is a need for some hope.
The journey towards a more HOPE-full life is the journey of small steps that can lead to big changes over time. I know this may seem insignificant for those of us in pain right now, surrounded and overwhelmed with hopelessness. If this is you, I very much encourage you to start right now with just believing that there IS hope even for you and your life… and just breathe and say “There IS hope for me and my life.”
Open your heart to the God of hope who does all things well and is waiting to be invited in…
If you are in a better place but still struggling with pesky anxiety, I encourage you to do the same. We need all the help we can get as we learn to be intentional in our journey towards a more HOPE-full life.
Let’s do this thing.
Let’s start making those pins and needles collide.
With courage in my step and hope by my side, I
move ahead–pins and needles collide.
Heidi Mull, having hope, causing collisions.