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Anxiety can hit us all from time to time. Like an blinking light on our body's dashboard, our anxieties are telling us it's time to pay attention to what's under the hood. A new Project Connect booklet by licensed counselor AmyRuth Bartlett offers wisdom and hope for those who struggle with anxiety.

Bartlett writes, "If you've been a believer for very long, chances are good you've heard at least one sermon on Jesus' words in Matthew 6: 'And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?' ... However, this passage has also been misused at times to shame those who struggle with anxiety and fear. ... If you have been clobbered with the idea that your anxiety is a result of not having enough faith ... I invite you to explore with me the promise and power that God has invested in you beyond the pain."

For far too many, anxiety is a daily peril, gripping the individual in a chronic state of tension and fear. It can undermine self, sabotage relationships, and test our faith. Often driven by fear and shame, our anxieties' root causes may run deep into our past and, left unaddressed, can have negative long-term effects on our well-being.

Bartlett provides ten exercises to help readers develop skills to explore their anxieties. Moving forward often requires a deep dive into the past. to uncover and understand those things that make us anxious. The author's valuable exercises include recording our fears and anxieties, identifying messages of shame, examining how our avoidance can exacerbate our anxiety, slowing down to make better decisions, and learning to confront our anxieties. For those at an impasse with their anxiety, consulting with a doctor, counselor, or pastor is a good place to begin.

Though we believe God has given us a spirit of power, love, and self-control (see 2 Timothy 1:7), we may find ourselves thinking that His peace is unattainable in our lives. In this, our anxieties can actually point to something that needs our attention, inviting us into creative learning. Bartlett writes, "Ask yourself, 'What is my anxiety warning me about?' and 'What skills would make me less anxious right now?' ... The journey through anxiety can certainly be harrowing, but a substantially different way of life is possible!"

To learn more about Project Connect booklets, go to our website at lhm.org/projectconnect.

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