Finding Ways to Combat Anxiety

As the unrelenting anxiety continues to grow, my best defense is to sit and write and focus my mind on something unrelated to the sadness and emptiness that inevitably grows inside me at that this time of the year.

This morning, as I reviewed the passages that the boys (9 and 7) are going to read in church this evening, James and I started to discuss all the benefits for our children—aside from spiritual—there are in going to church.

Tonight, the boys will both practice reading (something other than Pokemon) and public speaking.  This is the first year that Eric has done any presenting in school and it was a book report in front of his classmates.  However, he has been reading something called the Minute for Mission in church for two years now.  They are short stories about the problems people must deal with in different parts of the world, and the efforts by others to make a difference.  He is learning integrity, caring and all of this through the real life examples of others.  This is particularly important because the boys are in French school and this gives them a chance to practise in English.

The kids learn so many other important skills that truthfully I don’t always have time to teach them because I am often too busy.  Sometimes they set up for coffee time after church, help serve the treats, pour coffee, tea or juice, do the clean up afterwards and put away chairs.  They seem to do this enthusiastically and with no complaining—even when it comes to washing countless dishes.

They learn to be respectful of their elders and how to interact with all ages, including seniors. Working together in the church gives them something in common, and helps them to get to know each other.

Most importantly, they are appreciated for their efforts.  They are recognized and made to feel like an important part of the group—not just the little ones who are dismissed.  They are listened to and heard because people truly care about them.

Feeling important is the deepest non-biological need we have as humans and our children always feel like important members of our little church.

Their reading improves as they sing along to the hymns and Christmas Carols. Confidence is boosted as they participate in plays put on by the youth. Being surrounded by kind people simply rubs off.

Kids won’t go to church on their own. They need their parents to take them.  James and I thoroughly enjoy one hour on the weekend when the kids are busy doing all of the above and we have time to center ourselves and refocus our thoughts.

Church doesn’t have to be a place where we are made to feel guilty or as if we are being judged.  I have never felt that way nor would I ever make anyone else feel that way—another fantastic lesson for the children to learn.

As adults we can learn all these skills as well, but usually won’t be motivated enough to do it for ourselves, but might for our children.   Most of us put our children in sports for the exercise and life lessons learned through team sports.  But when Eric is as confident to stand up in front of a bunch of adults and speak as he is to take the faceoff in hockey, I am proud to have given him equal opportunities in both.  With less and less being offered in school these days, as parents we need to find ways to help our children become well rounded adults, from sports to math, to basic human decency.

There are many types of churches and most do not fit my life.  I need one that is inclusive and open, that is relevant today and not just 2000 years ago, one that offers realistic advice and doesn’t expect me to follow blindly.  I don’t want to be told what to do or what to think, but rather to have some guidelines pointed out and then choose how to best implement those in my life and the lives of my children.

I’m not trying to “sell” the idea of church to anyone, but I wonder if many people see it differently than what it actually is, and don’t realize the benefits.  Check it out. Try a few different ones and see what you think.  What do you have to lose?

Tonight I will sit in the warmth of a familiar place surrounded by people who truly love me and the anxiety I am feeling now will lessen knowing that I can trust them to hold me up, if I can’t stand alone.

Our service is at 7pm tonight at Presteign-Woodbine United Church, 16 Presteign Ave at St. Clair and O’Connor and you’re all welcome.  If you do come, be sure to seek me out and say “hello”.

To everyone else, from my family to yours, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the best for 2013.


This entry was posted in anxiety, Grief and the holidays, Relieving stress. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Finding Ways to Combat Anxiety

  1. Barb says:

    Many Thanks Patti, to you and your Family for allowing me to “tag along” all the years that my Parents weren’t “into it”. It was something that has stayed with me more than 30 years. I wore my pin from Presteign church last Friday when I attended a Christmas service with a dear friend, along with my Family. I still have the beautiful Bible I was given attending that same church when we were little in Sunday School.
    Sundays at church were something I really looked forward to, and it gave me a sense of community and belonging just like your writing above states. It helped my memory and public speaking…and singing! What a glorious feeling to be able to sing the praise of God. I will never ever forget being one of the 3 Kings in the pageant and carolling outside at Christmas time with the church choir. Wonderful, Wonderful memories. Big hugs to you today from freezing cold Calgary, know that if I was there, I would definitely come and say Hello! and Thank You. Merry Christmas to you and all the little ones…and the tall ones too!
    Barb, Chris & Emma xxx

    • patriciahung says:

      It was fun as kids too, I forgot that part. Thanks for reminding me.
      Merry Christmas to your family as well. Hope to see you in the New Year!!!!

  2. G. Paul Renwick says:

    Thanks so much for your thoughts and words (and kind wishes). You are so inspiring, thought provoiking and candid about your own life that I’m always grateful to have received your blog updates. In no small way, I feel that you improve my life and affirm my belief that character matters. On behalf of my family, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and All the Best for 2013 and Beyond!

    • patriciahung says:

      Thank you very much, that’s very nice of you to say!!!!! I hope you have a very exciting Christmas and great 2013.

  3. Paul McFadden says:

    I was the greeter tonite at our Shediac United Church . I am familiar with Minutes for mission though i haven’t done that yet for that I am on the list as greeter for Jan & Feb so I guess I won’t be missing church much for those two months . we are a small church with few children though we all know the importance of the children even those just taking their first steps. Tonite was special we lit candles and sang and for a moment I got to the the grass roots of what Christmas is really about! God Bless!

  4. Heather Kauffeldt says:

    Patti, so well said and I too remember and love watching my kids in church. I wish I was still in East York, able to attend Presteign-Woodbine and extend my memories there to include my girls and husband. There are so many there. I also remember all of my loved ones sitting in the pews watching, listening and worshipping alongside our family.

    Merry Christmas and you and your entire family are in my thoughts and prayers always. God Bless

    • patriciahung says:

      Heather, we all wish you guys were still here too. We had some pretty fun times and it would be great if our kids could do the same. But that’s life isn’t it? Pop by when you’re in the city and let’s visit!

  5. Christine Cockburn says:

    I have wonderful memories too of that wonderful church, especially the Christmas pagents and Christmas eve candelight service. I loved going to church and then wondering around the neighbourhood caroling, and then going back to someone’s house for hot chocolate, I was thinking of that this Christmas eve as we attending a service at a church in our neighbourhood. I miss those days, and especially the family connection feeling with your family, and all the others. I’m so glad you have that sense of peace and security there still, and my thoughts, love and prayers will be with you tomorrow, as they are every day.

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