Much has been said about how to deal with our own anxiety- we have to attend to it when we own it. We feel the tearing at our own hearts and our own minds, and we bear the scars. But what if the anxious heart in your care is not your own? What if your husband, child, sister or friend is the one who is struggling?
Loving well, always begins with prayer and seeking God's heart for another, but it is also hands on, practical and intentional. Here are some thought on how to support those who might be struggling in your life, from someone who has been on the other side, and back again.
Learn How to Be a Cozy Blanket, Not a Smothering Pillow
Be present. Join them in the kitchen, on a walk, at the gym. . . but try not to hover. Your presence alone will be a comfort, and your ease of availablity will build trust for your loved one to share.
Be Willing to Not Understand
Anxiety, and depression as well, are often irrational, but the emotions they produce are very, very real. Listen when someone who you love opens up about their struggles, and be okay with simply loving them with your attentive ear, even if you don't understand all they share.
This may seem like an obvious response, but don't neglect it. Coming before the throne of God on behalf of a friend or family member will tie your heart to them immensely, and God will also transform you, giving you insight, understanding and his heart for his child.
Prepare Them Room
Fluff a pillow, pour a cup of tea, offer a plate of scones, or a cozy guest bed for a nap. Hospitality isn't always tidy and its never perfect, but it is all about extending kindness and providing a place where healing can begin.
Share Your Own Struggles
Be authentic about the ares where you experience weakness. Create a safe emotional space to share by being vulnerable first.
Struggling with anxiety can be draining spiritually, emotionally and physically. Help your loved one fill up with hearty and healthy foods, freezer meals, a community meal train or a night eating out. And, don't forget to help fill up their heart, mind and soul, as well as their body. Share encouragement from God's Word, drop handwritten notes in the mail, pray with them. Help feed them hope.
Offer Practical Support
Formerly simple tasks can feel overwhelming to someone with anxiety. Ask if you can help with laundry, school pick-up, babysitting or house cleaning. These acts of service can be significant in helping someone make room in their life to recover and heal.
Support Their Path to Recovery
Offer encouragement about speaking with a liscensed counselor or doctor about anxiety. Support the plan they put in place whether with medication or therapy and let them know that you see bravery and courage in their decision to ask for help.
There is no greater gift than to walk with one who feels alone. I pray you are all blessed to be a blessing to those hurting or struggling in your lives right now. Any other ideas to love well? Please share them with our community in the comments, we'd love to learn from you!