My mission statement for my life is as follows: As a child of God, it is my mission to love others honestly, believe in God's promises and rejoice in His daily care. I developed my mission statement prior to our move to Park Rapids in 2005.

My belief statement has guided me through family illnesses and various trials and encouraged me to volunteer and serve on the Park Rapids Library Board. It also brought me to jail ministry three years ago.

I am privileged to be part of a team that supports the inmates in the Hubbard County Jail and lead a Bible Study for the incarcerated women on Tuesday nights. I use various resources, but any book by Max Lucado is well received and leads to a great discussion. He is a gifted author at raising a complex issue, like anxiety, and reducing it down to manageable steps that can be used in real life.

Lucado writes from his life and faith perspective, but he understands that not everyone shares the same beliefs and practices. Whether or not your belief system includes a higher power, his books can be meaningful and provide insight and guidance. That is one reason that they work so well in generating open dialogue.

Currently, I am using his book on anxiety. There are 11 chapters and the fact that "Questions for Reflection" are located at the back of the book assist in honest sharing and rejoicing about the "good stuff" in our lives.

One of the tools Max uses to help reduce the dominance of anxiety is the mnemonic C.A.L.M. He gives concrete ideas on how to integrate Celebration, Asking, Leaving it and Meditation into a life skill. His style of writing is folksy and filled with stories that are relatable.

I love his quote from the ninth chapter about taking control of our thinking: "You can be the air traffic controller of your mental airport. You occupy the control tower and can direct the mental traffic in your world."

Healing from anxiety requires healthy thinking and sometimes the awareness of what we are processing in our brains is enough to increase our desire to be more proactive in managing our personal stressors and daily living decisions. If you are searching for an inspirational book, I recommend "Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World."