I only have 15 minutes to put my thoughts on “paper” before I have to head to an appt. But I just don’t think I can wait until I get home to write. It keeps writing itself in my head. Last night, as I spoke the words out loud, I remembered something I had forgotten to remember: there is a big difference between Relief and Solution (I know you must feel great relief knowing that I am going to finally clear this up for you 😉).
Relief: “the feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress.”
It’s a wonderful feeling—when the pressure valve of our emotions has been opened and we can just feel the steam escaping, deflating us back down to our normal, sane, stable selves. I love that feeling. Some ways that this can happen for me, and maybe for you, are by talking (venting) to a safe, close friend or by attending a group that allows me to puke all the emotions out to people who have been through something similar. Those are pretty healthy ways to get relief. And often necessary for me so I don’t explode. Sometimes it might look like me screaming at the top of my lungs at God, going for a walk in nature, sitting in the hot tub, or even taking a nap. (Some of you might say you go for a hard run to get some relief. Just THINKING about running gives me anxiety so that would be a “no” for me!) Again. These are all good things to get some relief for feelings that have risen out of circumstances that are stressing me out.
Maybe, like me, you also do some things that aren’t quite as good. Oh, they FEEL good for sure. I really like them because they are quick to effect me. Things like having a glass of wine to take the “edge” off, shopping for something I don’t need, or eating (I was going to say ice cream, but really you can just insert your own “go-to” food of sinful proportions for this illustration).
While these may help us feel less anxious immediately, they ultimately are not a good, final answer to our anxiety, and often produce some extra emotions to deal with (shame, guilt, regret, etc.). Even in the dictionary the word relief is also defined as “a TEMPORARY break in a generally tense or tedious situation”.
So (in 5 minutes or less), the alternative is SOLUTION. When you seek a solution to something, you use a “particular method of solving; an explanation or answer.” This is an answer to WHY you are feeling so anxious. A solution helps you get to the root of your need for relief. If it is used right, it can be permanent. In math, if you solve the problem once with a certain equation, you can solve that same problem the next time by using the exact same equation. It’s not complicated after that initial “working out of the problem”.
When I looked up the definition of solution, I found an interesting definition (I LOVE it when this happens!) hidden under how it is used in medical terms. It says, “the termination of a disease.” And isn’t that what we suffer from? Anxiety, worry, constant fear and intimidation and lack of confidence and on and on it goes. But that is the good news, people. There IS a solution to this “disease” that has plagued us, possibly since birth. And alcohol, drugs, food, sex, exercise, over-achieving, shopping and YOU are not IT. I know it sounds almost too simple to believe, but God and His ways are IT.
- He asks us to live trusting HIM and letting HIM be in control. This is the SOLUTION to anxiety.
- He asks us to forgive others the way He forgave us and love those who harm us. This is our SOLUTION to hate and resentment.
- He asks us not to fret about tomorrow but live in today. This is our SOLUTION to fear of the future and regret over our past.
- He asks us to love and serve those around us, especially using our brokenness to do so. This is our SOLUTION to self-pity.
- He asks us to “count it all JOY when we face trials of many kinds”. This is our SOLUTION to despair.
I could go on but I am already going to have to throw on some sweats and put a hat over my crazy hair and head to an appointment! But as you can tell, the proposition of seeking and finding a SOLUTION excites me. Relief is good and necessary sometimes, but it doesn’t last. I am tired of trying to find new ways to put a band-aid on a gushing wound. The only way to stop the bleeding once and for all is to find a SOLUTION. May you seek and find yours today.