It’s hard not to become anxious as we face the difficulties of today and the uncertainties of tomorrow. As a woman of faith I rely heavily on this passage from the Bible to find peace and happiness:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds… Philippians 4:4-7 (NKJV)
We are told twice to rejoice. Sometimes that’s hard for caregivers to do. We often find ourselves in stressful situations, wondering how we can even just get through the day. With so many problems to solve and decisions to make, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and depressed. This passage tells us to ‘let our gentleness be known to all men’. If we temper our response to challenges with gentleness we will be able to slow down and act with wisdom. Caregiving devoid of gentleness, kindness and tenderness can potentially do more harm than good to the one you’re caring for and to yourself. Caregiving without love is not caregiving at all, and can lead to bitterness and resentful feelings.
So how do we rejoice?
Being able to rejoice under any circumstance, good or bad, is the key to being a good caregiver. Accept the way things are and try to make them better. Look for the good and the positive. Be the good and the positive. Even if it feels like everyone else has abandoned you, the Lord is at hand. You can rejoice because He promised He would never leave you or forsake you.
Be anxious for nothing.
Don’t let worrying about tomorrow rob you of enjoying today. Talk to God and ask him for strength and wisdom, as it is written: “Ask, and it will be given to you.” (Matthew 7:7). Rejoice that God hears your prayers and thank Him for what He’s about to do. Then trust that God’s timing is perfect and that He will guide you and do what’s best for you. Walk in faith! If you do these things, you will have peace, regardless of your situation, and that peace will guard your heart and mind.
I find it interesting that spiritual truths often manifest themselves physically as well. Studies show that unmanaged stress may cause high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms and damage to your arteries.
Another study shows that people with a history of major depression are twice as likely as others to eventually develop dementia. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/193951.php
It’s clearly important for caregivers to protect their own health, both mentally and physically. Don’t become the second victim.
Guard your heart and mind!