The Struggle of Anxiety
Raise your hand if you've ever worried about something. I'm sorry... The proper Christian term is "concern." Raise your hand if you've ever been concerned about anything. I don't know about anyone else, but there is not a time in my life that I remember not struggling with anxiety. I didn't know it was anxiety until a doctor gave it that label; I had just been called a worrywart since I was a child.
My mind, for as long as I can remember, automatically jumped to catastrophe. If it rained, a giant storm was coming to blow away the house. If a boss wants to meet, they were firing people. If someone didn't answer a phone call or text, that person must be hurt or worse. The what-ifs of life were terrifying. And, on top of that, the Bible said not to be anxious…about ANYTHING!
Who else has read that verse and had their anxiety flare-up about being anxious for, well, nearly everything? So, what defines anxiety, or worry? Merriam-Webster defines worry as (verb) to afflict with mental distress or agitation: make anxious; and (noun) mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated: ANXIETY. Strong's defines it as μεριμνάω (merimnáō) to be anxious about: —(be, have) care(-ful), take thought.
I don't think God intends for us to be careless or thoughtless, but rather to trust that He is in control. When we truly trust that God is in control, knowing His promises are true, we may have cares, thoughts, concerns, worries, and anxieties, but they should not control us. Having been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, I know there are varying levels of this from a physiological standpoint (I won't get into that now). But, from a spiritual standpoint, we trust God or we don't.
And, there are plenty of Biblical examples of what happens when we don't trust God. Abraham had a son with Hagar, Elijah asked God to take his life, and Peter…oh Peter…sank when he walked on water, cut someone's ear off, cussed people out, and denied Jesus. Anxiety is a natural, human emotion, which is why God gives us a supernatural solution for dealing with it:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Philippians 4:6 NLT
Pray about everything. Talk to God about EVERYTHING. Thank God for EVERYTHING He has done. There is not a problem that is bigger than God. There is not one issue that surprises Him or that He cannot handle.
Don't You Worry reminds us that God has already got a plan and it's for His glory and our good! Turn that anxiety into adoration! Trade that panic for praise! Transform from a worrier into a worshipper! It won't make the trials of life disappear, but it will make your faith and your relationship with Christ grow. You will learn how to count it all joy (James 1:2)!
Father, when life is presenting us with reasons to worry, let Your Love remind us to place those anxieties in Your very capable Hands and leave them there. Thank You for being Faithful and Trustworthy in every circumstance. In the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen!