Let’s face it; one of the biggest problems affecting homeschooling families is anxiety.
If not addressed, our fears can paralyze us and even draw us away from the Lord. Unlike fear (which is simply an emotion), the act of worrying is a conscious action and represents a lack of trust in God’s providence.
Even though Jesus clearly tells us that worrying is useless (Luke 12:25) and instructs us not to worry (Matthew 6:25), we sometimes feel like it’s a losing battle and can’t be overcome.
Fortunately, even though I have been a chronic worrier for most of my life, I have discovered that there are some steps that can be taken to overcome anxiety and experience peace.
With that in mind, here are 5 ways to ease anxiety – even if you’re a homeschooler!
1. Admit that you’re weak
Although it may sound crazy, admitting that you’re weak is a great way to gain strength. Do you ever feel like you can’t stop worrying or that you’re not strong enough to homeschool all by yourself? Admit it! In his second letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul not only admitted that he was weak, he boasted about it (2 Corinthians 11:30). How can this be helpful?
The answer can be found in the Lord’s words to Paul:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
When we accept the fact that we are weak and continually turn to the Lord for help, we will experience, just like St. Paul, that when we are weak, we are strong!
2. Focus on today
Two of the most feared words in the minds of those who are anxious are “what if”. If you’re a homeschooling parent, there is an even greater chance that you are affected by these words. In all honesty, the thought of an unknown future can be very unsettling. Fortunately, while our future may be unknown to us, it’s not unknown to the Lord!
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds us of the importance of taking one day at a time (Matthew 6:34). Easier said than done, right? Sometimes—but only if you don’t ask the Lord for help. If you request it, the Lord will be happy to give you the grace to help you focus on today.
While I’m not recommending that you ignore making plans for the future, I am recommending that you stop worrying about what may happen in the upcoming days, months or years. If the Lord allows suffering or difficulties to occur in your life, rest assured that He will give you the grace to deal with it.
This step is so obvious that it’s often forgotten. Whether we’re prone to anxiety or not, we need to pray every day. Not only is this one of the best ways to experience peace, it’s also the way that we’ll get to heaven. More than just asking for things, prayer is a conversation with the Lord.
No relationship can grow without frequent communication. In addition to asking God for all of your needs, make it a point to start and end your days with prayers of thanksgiving.
After all, the fact that you’re able to read this means that God hasn’t given up on you. And that’s definitely something that warrants a “thank you”!
4. Ask “Mom” for help
Just before dying on the Cross, Jesus gave us an incredible gift. Speaking to the “beloved disciple” (who represents each of us), the Lord presented us with a spiritual mother (John 19:26-27) who will help us to remain close to Him always. Mary wants to help you with your daily struggles, just as she helped the bride and groom at Cana (John 2:1-12). If you present your needs to her, she will immediately take them to her Son. Make it a point to lean on your Blessed Mother every day and you will notice a big difference in the amount of peace you feel.
5. Amazing Grace
One of the best ways to combat anxiety is through grace. While prayer can certainly help us to receive grace, we should never forget about the power of the sacraments. Instituted by Christ to provide grace, the sacraments are a tremendous gift and can bring us peace even in the midst of chaos.
While it’s not always easy, especially for homeschooling families, consider starting off your day (even once a week) by attending daily Mass. And, while we don’t often think of it as a help for overcoming anxiety, the sacrament of confession can be a powerful tool for helping us to achieve peace in our lives.
As someone who struggles to control my words, I know just how helpful the sacramental grace received in confession can be. While I’m still a “work in progress”, frequent confession has made it easier for me to say “what I should” and avoid saying “what I shouldn’t”.
Although it’s true that some of us are predisposed to anxiety, we can still experience a great deal of peace in our lives. Don’t let the fact that these steps sound simple fool you. They can be very effective. Give them a try for yourself and see what happens. I’m confident that they will work as well for you as they do for me.
How can I be so sure? The main reason is that these steps are designed to bring you closer to Jesus. That always results in increased peace.
After all, He isn’t called the Prince of Peace for nothing!
Mother & Child photo © zergkind / Dollar Photo Club