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How Congruence Reduces Anxiety and Increases Peace

Do you ever feel like your head and your heart are out of line? Are you acting one way to impress those around you while your values and feelings are quite different? Putting on a show may seem beneficial, but in reality, that disconnect actually makes things worse by increasing our anxiety. Together, let’s discover what Buffy Andrews of Made Well Center for Wholeness says about the concept of congruence. Then, let’s peek into our Bibles to find an example of showing real honesty which reduces anxiety and increases peace.

WHAT DOES CONGRUENCE MEAN FOR YOU?

Buffy of Made Well Center for Wholeness shares some insight with Life 90.5 on congruence and how it affects your life.

Oftentimes our anxieties and negative dispositions towards life come from not living in full authenticity and congruence with what you say you value. Maybe you’re not getting real and honest with God about where you’re at on various issues. If on the surface, we say we value healthy living and taking care of our bodies as our temple, but then we continue to binge eat and abuse substances, that will always create a friction for your mind. That friction sends your brain into the self-protection and self-preservation mode, releasing our stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. The way to reduce friction and anxiety for yourself is to be honest about what you say you value, and then to live according to what you say you value. If you’re not ready for healthy living, that’s ok. Be honest about that rather than trying to make your values fit someone else’s standard.

Buffy Andrews

Does this problem sound familiar to you, too? First, know that you’re not alone. Your brothers and sisters in Christ also struggle with congruence and honesty with God and themselves. However, in His great kindness, God provides peeks into the heart and mind of a biblical figure who can show us how to better live in congruence.

RELATED: How to Become More Self Aware by “Taking 5”

HANNAH SHOWS CONGRUENCE THROUGH PRAYER

Hannah congruence prayer

At the beginning of 1st Samuel, we meet Hannah. She’s a heartbroken wife, sharing her husband with another woman, unable to eat, and desperately longing for a child of her own. Instead of acting like everything was fine, she took her longing to the Lord in prayer.

In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk.

1 Samuel 1:10-13

Hannah goes to church and ugly cries in prayer. She pours out her heart and her tears before the Lord, and apparently before some other people too. Showing her true sorrow looks like she’s had a little too much wine, but she couldn’t care less how she appears to others in that moment. She’s done telling everyone she’s “fine” and trying to look on the bright side. She gets real and honest with herself and with God, resulting in congruence with clear emotional and physical benefits.

Not only does Hannah finally get it all off her chest, but she also receives a blessing from the priest Eli. In verse 17, after she explains her situation, he says, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.” And in peace, she went and “ate something, and her face was no longer downcast (verse 18).” The next morning she worshiped the Lord with her husband, and a short time later, God answered her prayer with a son. This child would become the Old Testament prophet Samuel.

RELATED: How to Reduce Stimuli to Hear the Voice of God

WE CAN POUR OUR HEARTS OUT, TOO

pour our hearts out

Aren’t you thankful for Biblical figures normalizing the ugly cry? It may feel weird to do that with others around, but it’s always socially acceptable to do that before God. Your tearful snorts and sobs and sniffles don’t make Him uncomfortable. In fact, that full honesty in addressing your values, feelings, and heartache before the Lord is actually what brings about the peace you’re looking for.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Samuel 1:10-13

DO YOU NEED HELP WITH CONGRUENCE?

If you need help figuring out the congruence in your life, reach out to Made Well Center at madewellcenter.org.

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