We have lived through months of isolation, fear, and pain multiplied by loneliness, political unrest, senseless murder, and racism slicing through lives and opening old scars.
As morning stiffness leaves me aching, I struggle to search for joy. Will the pain worsen? Or will new health issues arise? Will medications stop providing any help?
There are so many reasons to be anxious. Then we begin to beat ourselves up because we know we shouldn’t worry. C. S. Lewis said:
“Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins.
Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ.”
Paulo Coelho in his Manuscrito encontrado em Accra wrote:
“Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it,
we will have to learn to live with it—just as we have learned to live with storms.”
I found a little snippet that I love, by an unknown author (often incorrectly attributed to Elizabeth Barrett Browning):
“The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds at play.”
Here are Some Ideas to Spark a Poem of Your Own:
- What do you do with your anxious thoughts?
- What do they look like?
- Is there a picture that forms in your mind? Does it have a color? A texture?
- What song can you sing to anxiety to slow its rhythm?
Don’t be concerned about editing. There is time for that later. Allow the words to bounce around and find their own shape.
Let yourself be surprised by the sudden peace that comes as you name your fears.
As your poem finds its way, feel free to share it with us. We’re all in this together.
Here is what percolated as I thought about my own anxious thoughts:
tension and confusion
in my spirit
the air grew thin
as light faded
harder each day
to inhale Him
but even as I was letting go
He held me strong
I grabbed hold
before all hope leaked away
how to breathe
life, light and joy returning
first in drips
now in cascades
You can view our Submission Guidelines here. When submitting a poem, please include a scan or photo of the completed Author Release along with a headshot, brief bio, and links to your website, social media, and any book titles you’ve authored as applicable.
Enjoy the prompt. Perhaps you’ll be surprised by sudden peace.
We look forward to reading the poems that spill forth!
More Poetry Prompts
I don’t think I am alone in this fight to shake off numbness and reach for joy. And I don't want to become comfortable with this frozen feeling.
Abigail Carroll said these are poems of lament. In writing these “Make Me” poems, she began to lean into metaphor, changing not only how she wrote but also how she prayed.
Books to Inspire
Though not from a liturgical background this poet felt led to celebrate the holy through the time span from Ash Wednesday to Resurrection Sunday. From Ashes to Glory is a collection of forty-seven brief psalms written as a daily offering of worship that will encourage and draw you closer to God in any season.
Part memoir, part humorous and poignant defense of poetry, this is a book that shows you what it is to live a life with poems at your side. Megan's story is one you won't want to put down; meanwhile, her uncanny ability to reveal the why's and how's of poetry keeps calling—to even the biggest poetry doubter. If you already enjoy poetry, her story and her wisdom and her ways will invite you to go deeper, with novel ideas on how to engage with poems.
Throughout her celebrated career, Mary Oliver has touched countless readers with her brilliantly crafted verse, expounding on her love for the physical world and the powerful bonds between all living things. Identified as "far and away, this country's best selling poet" by Dwight Garner, she now returns with a stunning and definitive collection of her writing from the last fifty years.
This gentle soul companion guide will help steer you the right direction as it reveals the places where hope can be found and encourages you to explore your own resources as well. By means of thoughtful reflections, soulful poetry and encouraging blessings, you will be supported on the journey toward regaining the hope you had lost.
Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer
Karin is a handmaiden of the Lord, saved by grace, a worshiper, a poet, a broken heart, a lover of words, hungry for truth, amazed by love, on the Potter's wheel His work in progress. After five years in Africa, Karin and her beloved husband of twenty years, Rick, are back in rural Canada where chronic pain drives her to the feet of Jesus. She is powered by prayer, love, and many cups of strong coffee. She is the author of From Ashes to Glory (A Psalm a Day).