Ep. 4.18 How Should We Manage Anxiety as Christians? with Whitney Hare

Whitney Haarh of Abundantly Yours joins us on the AU podcast this week to talk about managing anxiety as a Chrisitan. Is it possible? Is prayer the only answer? How can we pray to reduce our anxiety? It’s okay to sometimes feel uncomfortable but how far is too far? All this and more on today’s podcast.

13:56-14:07 Being uncomfortable

14:28-14:49 Who am I?

26:38-26:48 Live your today

27:07-27:14 What’s the Lord inviting you to?

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Hello and welcome to today's episode
of the Authentic Uprising podcast.
I'm your host Jill Simons, and I'm so
excited to grow in the radical art
of standing in what God says
about you with you today.
The show is a place where we
pour into the sense of who God is
who we are and how we can live
more in the freedom that He
has for us every
single day.
Hello and welcome to the Authentic Uprising
podcast. As always I'm your host,
Jill Simons, and I am happy to be
spending this time with you today.
I am so excited for us to talk
more about how anxiety fits
into the puzzle in light of our
identity as beloved children of God.
And that's what we're always
looking at, Really, What is it?
That God wants to speak into
us in all of these situations
that we face in our lives and
how do we interpret and
really interact with these
things we struggle with in light
of how we know God
created us.
So to have this conversation with
me today, I have Whitney Haahr,
who is going to be talking with
us about how she has navigated
this in her own life. And also
she has crowdsourced some really
wonderful advice that she's gonna
be share with us about just
managing anxiety in your
everyday Christian Life.
So thank you Whitney so much for
being here with me today. Yes.
I'm so excited to join me.
It's gonna be so fun.
So go ahead and start by just
telling us a little bit about
you and where you're at
in life and really,
you can kind of wrap up with where anxiety
has showed up in your life so far.
Yeah. Absolutely.
So I'm Whitney.
I have experienced tons of changes
of life in the last year.
So I am married, expecting my first
baby in April of 2023,
which is just crazy. I'm so excited
Yeah, recent college graduate,
so navigating that.
I'm an entrepreneur.
I do design work as I have
a graphic design degree.
And then I also run a Catholic
podcast and shop called Abundantly Yours.
And so kind of just letting the Lord
do His thing in the season.
And so, yeah, like I said, and
the last 2022 was a lot.
I, you know, finished
my last semester.
Or school living actually
in my college town,
and then I moved home with my parents
so that was moved number one.
And then my husband and I got married
two months later, so then move again,
you know, and then whole
transition of marriage. Right?
Like, figuring out how
to live with a man,
And then we found out we're
expecting our first baby.
And then we ended up moving again, and
I'm finishing my last semester school.
And so just a lot
happened last year,
and they were all such
beautiful and good things,
but it also brought
about so much change.
And so much you know, things that
I'm like, okay, Lord, like,
what's happening.
What are You doing?
And so I think a lot of our anxiety
comes with a fear of the unknown,
and that's at least what I've experienced
is when I get to this place of,
like, I have no idea
what's happening.
I just, like, start to have those spiraling
thoughts and I grip for control.
Like, I take the Lord, and I just
say I got this like, you know,
I just get tight and intense
and I'm like, okay.
I got gotta take
a deep breath,
and that's where I struggle with
anxiety do the most is when,
you know, I don't know what's
coming next. So with a business.
Right? You know that's an entrepreneurship,
you know, running a business.
I'm like, okay, Lord, you
know, this is what I desire,
but is this what You want? And I don't
know what the next thing in business.
I don't know if I'm ever gonna hit
that certain goal that I want.
Or... And that's kind of
with anything in life, you know,
stepping the motherhood and having
no idea what to expect.
You know, I can either choose to, like,
freak out and choose to just you know,
kind of cripple into those
thoughts that the enemy gets us
to believe or I have this option to
you know, let the Lord do His thing.
Right? And so as I kinda of
navigated all this change and
the anxiety that came with it,
instead of choosing to freak out.
Like, I have had my moments.
Okay. I'm human. I'm not perfect.
But I had this option of choosing
the Lord and choosing freedom
and choosing freedom with Him
in the day to day life instead
of worrying about what's coming
next week. What's coming tomorrow.
And in high school, three
years ago, I was, like,
the Type A planner, planned everything
out. Yeah. I was that girl.
And now I'm to the the person
that's, like,
someone asked me what I'm doing
tomorrow, I'm like, I don't know.
We'll figure that out
tomorrow morning.
And it's hard to do that, but it
comes with a lot of surrender.
So I kinda guess that's where I've
kind of experienced anxiety is with...
Just that fear of the unknown. And
through that, I've learned a lot of...
Okay. We have the two
choices. Right?
Just go down that path or to just
choose Jesus. Yeah. Absolutely.
And I think that that's it's
a really interesting conversation to have
because I think there's a lot
of people that want to think
they are whenever authentically choose
Jesus, but still struggle with like,
the physical manifestations
or just kind of that, like,
emotional physical
side of anxiety,
where there's kind of hypothetical
spiritual act of like,
Ok I'm going to give this to Jesus,
but then there's also like...
But I'm still really tense.
You talked about that, like,
tightness in your body and
things like that.
And I think that that's really
interesting to talk about,
should we expect that to go
away or is that always gonna be
piece of the puzzle or like,
where do we interact with that?
I know, for myself, that's kind
of what is lingering Is that
as I've grown and you know,
really didn't start focusing on
things like this until I was much
older than you, so good for you.
But I have been
really, you know,
emphasizing putting things in
the Lord's hands and things like that.
But so often I find that I still
have, like, the physical feeling.
Like, especially about I'm gonna
say less about things like
you're talking about, like,
moving and change and more like,
a customer is angry
or there's like,
a situation where something is
coming at me that feels like
it is very anxiety-inducing and and trying
to manage that in the physical,
with the spiritual acts, how...
And so I'm just interested.
If you know what I'm talking
about first of all,
and if you experience
something like this.
And if you have methods
or you talked to...
We talked before you got on
the podcast about people sharing
with you really helpful strategies
for dealing with anxiety.
If there's anything in that that
kind of speaks to that. Yeah.
Absolutely. Yeah. I feel like I definitely...
I definitely relate to that.
You know, like, Okay.
Okay. Like, anxiety.
And I think, yeah,
we tense up. Right?
Like, our heart our heart rate
rises, our brain just starts to,
like, spiral we're like, sometimes we
just get into this, like freak out mode.
Right? Like, I experience
it we're all human.
And so what's helped me the most
is getting rid of kind of
worldly things in that I'm like
that near me. So my phone.
That's when it gets the worst is
when I'm on my phone because,
you know, I can see... I'm scrolling
through everyone else's social media.
Right? That's what
what social media is.
And so I've learned to put my phone
down. Put it on, do not disturb.
That's the first thing I do
because that's typically does not
do anything for me when I'm anxious.
I just need to, like, chill
and take a deep breath.
And I think for me, what helps
me a lot is I go sit in our
recliner and I put my feet up. And then
I just sit and process it with God.
And so one of the girls, I didn't write
hers down, but I know what she said.
She's, like, I gave myself twenty
minutes to feel these thoughts.
She's like, if it's anger, if it's
anxiety, if it's whatever and,
she's like, I set a timer for twenty
minutes, let myself feel those feelings.
And after that, I take it
to the Lord and I say,
this is not does not have
power over my life. Right?
He just, like, these thoughts
don't have power over me. You do.
And I... And you are truth, beauty,
and goodness. That's who God is.
And so even for me, just coming back to
Well, what is this that I'm believing?
What is that what am
I struggling with?
You know, maybe I'm anxious about where
my next orders are coming with my shop?
Or maybe I'm anxious about
something that the Lord is calling
me to do that I'm so nervous to do, but
I know it's what He's calling me to do.
And so coming back to
the truth of who I am,
who who I was created
to be as a daughter,
because I think for me anxiety files
a lot with those enemies the lies.
Right? And so just coming back
to the truth of who am I?
And so one of my friends Maya... She
said a couple of different things.
So she's like, one
what am I afraid of?
So identifying this, what is it
that's causing me this feeling
and get down to the root of
why you're feeling that way.
Get out the journal
and write it down.
Because you're gonna have
thoughts going everywhere.
And so just writing that down and
seeing why you're feeling that way,
What is the cause of it? And then
after that, ask yourself this.
This is what she said. And I this
is one of my favorite things.
Does Jesus love
you. Yes. He loves you.
Would He ever turn away
from you? Absolutely not.
Therefore, the only person making
you feel fear is Satan because
Jesus will take care of you. And
I was like, girl, I needed that.
I needed that in that moment
of just like, you know,
I asked for this advice when I
was in a moment of just anxiety
and feeling like
the world was gonna end,
and everything was
just falling apart.
And I'm, like, wait, coming back
to the truth is so powerful.
And so that's, I guess,
what's helped me a lot.
Physically is just taking a deep
breath and really identifying
what it is that's causing this
feeling. So I guess that's what I got.
Yeah. I love that. And I think that
that's been one of the strategies
that's been most helpful for me is
like, a lot of times as Christians,
there's this especially, I
think, so interestingly,
when we only know who we are and
our identity like intellectually.
When it's something
where it's like,
I know that God loves me or I
know that I'm a child of God,
but that is very much like
a head knowing only.
And I haven't experienced this
in a way that I've connected
tangibly with my emotional heart
based experience because I think
that like everything, so much
of it is about how do I live
and what is real versus
what is perceived.
And so that's exactly what
you're talking about is where we
have this situation
where it's like,
perceived that I'm in danger,
perceived that there's something
that's gonna come at me and be able
to overwhelm me when in reality,
the situation is that I if I do place
myself in this place of surrender to God,
then there's not... Then that
fear just is irrational.
It's not based on the real
reality of the situation.
And so I love what you said you know,
when you ask yourself your...
Those questions, it's basically... I'm
gonna actively tell myself the truth.
And I think that
that's something...
You know, we see that in Second Kings
when Jesus excuse me, not Jesus.
David, in Second Kings
says, you know,
when there's a huge loss in battle
that talks about David consoling
himself with
what he knows to be true,
and not that we don't go to prayer
with that, but we also don't,
like, rely on consolation and prayer,
like the voice of God being,
like, you're okay, though He can and will
do that and does do that sometimes.
I think a lot of times, especially
as we mature as Christians.
He's like, no. You you know
that you're okay, like,
you tell yourself
that you're okay.
I think about my children
learning to ride their bikes.
And, you know, the first couple
of times that they fall.
It's just this
cataclysmic event.
But then as time goes on, my
husband and I have less like, oh,
oh, my gosh. Are you okay? And
it's more like, no. You're fine.
Like, you know that
you are okay.
Let's let's keep this growth
going that opens you up to being
able to do things at a level that you
weren't able to do things before.
And so I think that that is
such a valuable practice.
And obviously that's what
at Pink Salt Riot.
That's kind of, like, what our
products are supposed to help
you do is be these
touchstones of, like,
how do you tell yourself
the truth in the moment.
And so I'm obviously really
passionate about that.
But I think that there's also
so much judgment that we will
attach to ourselves in just, like,
even feeling those feelings at all.
Like, you were talking about
the woman saying I'm gonna give
myself twenty minutes. It's really
hard for us to be uncomfortable
a lot of the time and to, like, accept
that that's something that like,
that that multiple things can be true
at one time. You know what I mean?
Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And I
think sometimes we attach anxiety
to our identity, of
especially, you know,
if you are someone who struggles
with anxiety, a lot, like,
coming back to who who we are
as a daughter of God. Right?
Of who He says that we are,
who be you. Who who who am?
Pray with that question. That
is such a powerful question to
come back and ask
the Lord of who am I?
You know, like, when you introduce
yourself, what do you say?
You know, at the beginning of
the episode probably do the best
introducing myself. Right? But
kind of like praying with that?
Like, Lord, who do you say that I am?
You know, Who what identifies me?
And I think so
much of the time,
society puts so much pressure
on us in the sense of your
identity comes in your grades
if you're in college.
If you have to have a 4.0 or
your identity comes in your work,
like, that's so false. And I
think we get so wrapped up in
serving these quote unquote,
worldly identities that we become
a slave to ourself. You know,
Like, I become, you know,
back when I was finishing my
last last semester of school,
I was becoming a slave to this
design work that I had to do in
these projects because I felt
that they were controlling me
and that was the first priority
in my life. So I got up and I...
First thing in the morning, I would
start that and not even pray first.
Right? And so really coming
back to the root of who we are
and praying with that every
day and reminding ourself.
I was just thinking of
this the other day.
So I babysit my nephew
until my baby arrives.
And so I've been watching
a few days a week,
and I was also talking to a friend
on Instagram about how her
baby loves of the mirror, like,
looking in the mirror at herself.
And I was like, okay. Like,
these little infants, you know,
her baby's two months old. My
nephews is four months old.
Look look in the mirror and they just
giggle and laugh it themselves.
They don't look at themselves and say,
oh, you're ugly. I don't like you.
They laugh and giggle. And babies vomit and puke, they're just messy.
Right? And so they look in
the mirror, they don't care.
They don't care about these
things that are happening,
they just looking
they're so happy.
Looking at themselves in
the mirror and I'm like,
why don't we do that
as grown adults?
Why can't we look in the mirror,
especially zoom in and say,
you are beautiful, you are loved and
you are so known by the Father.
But instead we say, oh my gosh
you have a pimple, you know,
I don't look skinny enough
today. My hair is crazy.
Like, why do we do
that to ourselves?
Because that's just the first trigger
to letting the this, you know,
Satan into our lives. And so
coming back to who am I?
I think that's just such
a huge part of this,
at least for me with anxiety
of not letting something else
identify me because that's when I
start to feel those feelings of who am I?
Who am I? It's just
it's as easy as that.
I mean, it's not easy, but that's... I
mean, a question we have to pray with.
Right and ask the Lord. And
if you struggle with that,
put the pressure on Jesus
to tell you who you are.
You know, He loves you, He
wants to hear from you,
and He wants to
fill your heart.
And if you're really struggling with
that, say, Lord, I don't know who I am.
I'm gonna pray in demand, for
an answer from You until I hear
until I know that because He doesn't
want us to to know anything else,
but truth, beauty
and goodness.
And so yeah, I
got fired up,
but we have to know who we are
as daughters of the Lord. Yeah.
And I think I love the baby
analogy because I think that that
also not only how they
interact with themselves,
but that tells us something
valuable about how God is inviting
us to interact with Him. I wouldn't
necessarily go all the way
like two to four month old. But I have
a two year old, and I try and like,
sit in the same space with the Lord
as my two year old does with me.
Where he's just like, hundred percent
all in, like, mommy, watch me.
Mommy, watch watch
me, you know, like,
just wanting me to be so engaged in his
life as one thing, how he is just so,
like, unfiltered with me the mother
things where it's just like,
my favorite moment the other
day, he was like, mom,
you have to walk behind
me down the hall.
And I I started walking, like, too
quickly, and that was not okay.
And so he was, like, no,
slow down, walk behind me.
And then he apparently, like, stubbed
his toe or something like that.
And he immediately just like wailed and
was like, ah. And then I was like,
oh, Robbie, what happened? He's
was like, oh, actually it's fine.
And I think he just like, had such
a, like, strong, authentic reaction,
but then was able to just self
correct because of sort of
the the nearness of help
should he need it.
And I think that that's kind
of the if he felt like there
wasn't somebody close
by to help him.
I'm pretty confident that that would
have been like an ER emergency like,
on an ongoing basis. Because it
was such a a time when he was
so aware that there was what
he needed was right there.
And and so he's just able
to be that, you know,
kind of at the authentic emotional
awareness level with me,
even though so often it's
irrational and these things like
that and I'm sure you've seen the meme
of like, the picture from the office.
It's a, like, Jim Halpert
character from "The Office",
where he's just staring
at the camera,
and most of you watch on Youtube we'll
be able to see where he's just that,
like, really look
on his face.
And there's this meme where it's
constantly, like, you know,
me telling my kids you know,
why do you keep doing something
I haven't I've told you not
to do over and over again.
God looking at me, like, really,
what what of you've been doing,
you know, is doing... What I've told
you not to do over and over again,
and I think that having that
emotional vulnerability with God
is something that doesn't
alleviate anxiety necessarily,
Though I think over time
it does diminish it.
It is something that makes it weatherable,
something that doesn't become,
like a problem in life and
something that, you know,
in another episode we're
chatting with a therapist about kind
of what is that point where we
really do need intervention at
another level because sometimes
there really are other issues
going on that this isn't something
that is kind of self-diagnosable
or self something you can walk
yourself through with prayer.
Sometimes the Lord really wants
other people to walk with us
who have the specific
skills to do that.
But a lot of times for your kind
of pedestrian, non-diagnosable anxiety,
this is something that God
wants to use to invite us into
deeper relationship with
Him. Yes. I totally agree.
And through our sufferings
we grow in the... The most...
We get to experience the Lord the most
intimately because we're at our weakest.
Right? We're just like, you
know, we're at our weakest.
And like I mentioned earlier,
we have the two choices.
So when we are at our weakest
and we choose Jesus,
that is when we
experience Him the most.
And that's where I've experienced Him
the most and experienced the most peace.
Another little thing that I... That
I... That's helped me is Okay.
We know that the Lord knows
our healings. He knows...
We know that He knows our
thoughts. He knows, He knows.
We know He knows every action.
That was a lot of words.
But He does, but He also
takes joy in hearing from us.
And so for me, when I'm feeling these
emotions instead of just saying,
like, Lord, you know
how I feel. No.
I get nitty gritty with the Lord, I say
Lord, I'm am struggling with this.
I'm struggling, like, so hard with this.
I can't handle it. Please help me.
And so telling the Lord,
for me, I'm very much of a,
I think through things out
loud kind of a person.
And so most of the time, like,
my husband just hears me ramble,
but it's... I'm
just thinking.
But even in prayer of, like,
reminding myself that I can...
Like, I need to tell the Lord what I
feel and how I feel, And then I mean,
it helps me to release some of those
emotions and make me feel not alone.
And I do have a few other pieces
of advice that I wanna share
from other women and she talked
about, you know, asking for help,
so Catholic counseling. One of my
friends from college is, like,
Catholic counseling
is awesome.
So don't don't feel guilty for,
you know, asking for help.
Like, we... It's okay. We're
built for community and built,
you know, for relationship
with others as well.
And so another person said praying
and asking others for guidance.
So if you know if someone who
struggled with this, like,
go ask them or a trusted adult, a roommate,
a friend finding someone because it...
Once you can get those feelings
off your chest, most of the time,
like, we can just breathe. Right?
Because we internalize so much of it.
So I'm gonna kinda
read through my list.
So praying the rosary and or praying
fifty-four day novena, if you're Catholic,
that's a great option. Another
person said, remembering that it...
There is nothing that our all-powerful
Father has not already planned,
which I thought was, like, my drop
staying off your phone, like,
that's a good Good
good piece of advice.
Realizing God has something in
store and I need to be patient.
Another couple Catholic ones is
frequent sacraments or going to adoration.
But even for me, worship music
and just keeping Jesus active,
in my ears all day
is huge as well.
So in the last the last one that
I have was another quote from
someone and it's a it's kind of like
a little prayer she says to the Lord.
And she says, my sweetest Jesus, I am
Your servant, where You lead I follow,
just make it very clear. And
so I thought that was cool.
Just so much fun advice
that I received.
And so I just had to share it with
you guys today. Nah. I love that.
I always pray, especially when
there's something that, like,
the general trend has been, like,
yes. You're supposed to do this.
I'm always just
like, okay, like,
this is this is where we're
driving and you're gonna have to,
like, reroute the road if you
want it to go somewhere else
because I'm doing what we've been
planning, You know? Yep. Like...
And I don't really have anxiety about
that, which I think is you know,
obviously been a journey
to get there,
But I think that that's something
that can be really revolutionary
to a lot of women is the idea that
you don't have to necessarily
like exhaustively discern
every individual decision.
You can you know, really be
walking with Jesus over a long
time and and have that relationship
with Him where you're like,
okay, this has been something You've been
leading me to do on a regular basis.
And so far, it seems like this
is just kind of the open door.
And so unless You say, like,
unless You close it on me,
I'm going to continue
walking that direction.
And I think that
that's, you know,
a decision that I made with my
speaking career actually was to just,
you know, it was so clear
the timing and how it worked out,
and I asked for someone else to
be involved in the process so
that I wasn't kind
of in the...
My own driver's seat,
and so there's actually,
like a woman that He
sent me that, like,
more or less kind of runs my speaking
career for me not because I asked her to,
but because she felt
so prompted to do it.
And so because of that and lots of
other things, I'm just like Lord,
I'm just gonna say, yes, to every
opportunity that I get to speak.
And so You need to, like, send
me a feeling a very specific,
like, interjection if
You don't want me to do that
because this has been like
a ten year journey of like,
getting to the point where
You're asking you to speak.
And now You've been,
like, go play, have fun.
And that's what I'm gonna do
until You tell me to do something
else. Just like we think about our
children, you know, it's not like,
the rules are
different every day.
And like, they have to, like,
constantly be like, oh, this...
But is that right today? He just
lets us go in a lot of times,
and that is also something that can be
really freeing on their anxiety friends.
Yeah. I totally agree. And I think
If I have one piece of advice,
I can give, that would be to just live
in your today and not in your tomorrow.
That's where I found most freedom
with anxiety is being able
to just focus on this
present moment.
It's something that the Lord has
been teaching me is just kind
of something that I'm like,
yeah. That's a good thought.
So What is the Lord inviting me to do
today that's gonna get me to heaven.
So just kind pray
with that question.
I'm like, what is the Lord
inviting me to do today
that's gonna get
me to heaven?
And so instead of worrying about
tomorrow or what what's planned is...
Okay. You know, for me, as
a business owner that's, you know,
marketing work. Maybe that's my goal
for today or I have podcasting today.
You know, what is it today? And
just just work on letting go
of of the future because you'll
be able to experience so much
joy and just so much peace. And
you'll be able to just experience
the Lord even more when we can
just invite Him into these small
little intimate moments. So if
you're having coffee in your
kitchen and invite Him to sit on
the share with you next to you,
and then picture Him there with
His coffee in His hand reading
the newspaper hanging
out with you.
So bring the Lord into your
life, into your intimate day to
day moments and just letting go
of... Letting go of the future.
It's so hard. It's a constant process
for me, but my truly truly...
I have experienced the Lord. So so so
freeing and just so fruitfully with Him.
So Absolutely. Well, thank you, Whitney
so much for being here with me today.
It's been so nice
chatting with you.
If you wanna check out what
Whitney's up to online.
All those links are gonna be in our show
notes, so you can check her out there,
both on Instagram and
through her podcast shop.
I hope that you guys have
a wonderful Tuesday.
Thanks for being with me
Whitney. Yes. Absolutely.
Thanks again for the invitation
to be here. It's been such a joy.
Thank you so much for joining
me on today's episode of the
Authentic Uprising podcast. It
is always a joy to be with you.
I encourage you to subscribe to our podcast,
subscribe to our Youtube channel,
whichever place you most
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If that is what
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We would love to continue to get
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The two big things we have going
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I love you. I'm praying for you.
I hope you have
an amazing week.