It seems to define our culture, we live our lives fighting to control “It All” and fearing the “What ifs” if that control is lost.
i have felt it, my physical body responds to new and uncertain with “anxious” symptoms whether the unknown is a pending happy event or a devastating crisis.
i have not felt the challenges of anxiety to the degree that i have seen others suffer, but i certainly can empathize with the challenges of anxiety.
Two processes this weekend brought me to ponder the subject of anxiety. The first actually began a week ago, i have had the privilege of walking with several who are facing difficult daily circumstances, i have been asked to pray, i have been confided in simply because they need to know they are not alone. Circumstances are tough, uncertain, overwhelming, the threat of dark storms so ominous any reasons i may conjure up to be anxious appear as spring afternoon showers when compared. The second is an article i stumbled upon this weekend. It is good. It is concise and it is written beautifully. A mom talks to other moms about anxiety but it is worth reading regardless of your gender and role in life. Here is a link to the article.
I believe this passage from the bible gives us some insightful hope…
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33(NLT)
There are three points in this verse that i love.
1.We may have peace. That is a hopeful promise. Let’s choose to believe it. That means when i wake early and “feel” the fear or hear my mind rushing to the doubts, i need to tell myself, “i have peace and hope and joy” ” I am loved and all our needs are already supplied”
2.Here on this earth we WILL have trials and sorrows. Another translation says tribulation and distress and suffering. Recently i was chatting with someone i love deeply about a struggle with anxiety. In my vast wisdom(add sarcastic tone) i said… “First, it is normal to hurt, and second don’t worry about it!” I have mentally and emotionally disabled myself with questions like “Why is this happening, why do i feel this, how can i fix this , where am i going wrong?” We need to know Hard is normal, in fact, we are promised Hard will be a part of our journey through this world. We need to focus on hope and truth while taking the next step, we need to do the next thing all the while believing that He who loves me most will sort out the details where i do not know how to take the next step.
3. A command and a promise…Take Heart, I have overcome the world. Other translations put it this way… But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. Be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy, My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding. The command is the part required of us. Take Heart, be of good cheer, be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy.
This command is followed by the promise that our Lord has overcome the suffering of this world, the conquest is accomplished, the victory is abiding. Three of my favorite tools for living obedience to this command are to think on scripture, listen to musical worship that is filled with scriptural truth and find someone i can honestly share my journey with knowing they will be faithful to point me back to the truth and hope i need.
i do not intend to imply the answer is simple or that there is a cookie cutter fix. As unique as the personalities reading this, so will be the routes to brighter, peaceful and hope filled days. Ruth beautifully points this out in the above article. i do know that this truth from scripture promises the help we each need to live the challenges of anxiety.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (ESV)
When i read Philippians 4 i do not see a short list of specific needs my God is willing to meet. i do not see any exclusion clauses for anxiety or my need for peace. He promises he will supply my every need. I need peace, i need hope, i need joy. He has a way to meet those needs, it is for me to trust the amazing God he is and to obey the little i know and understand.
I was schooled in living this truth by my loving Heavenly Father almost 30 years ago while doing a puzzle with our first son. I want to tell you that sweet little story as soon i find time to type again.