Whether we admit it or not, we are in a constant combat with a very disturbing and taxing emotion: anxiety! The dictionary defines it as "a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome”. In the Bible anxiety is frequently depicted as the common human reaction to stressful circumstances, and as being inconsistent with trust in God.
Both Jesus and Paul tell us not to do it. Jesus' command, "do not worry, " occurs six times in the Sermon on the Mount, and Paul urges: "Do not be anxious about anything…”.
Easier said than done. I grew up in a home where there was a lot of worry about everything. I don’t know if is genetic or just learned, but I grew up as what some would call a “worrywart”. When I put my trust in God as a young man I had to learn to trust him and take on anxiety for what it was: fear! Fear of the unknown, fear to fail, fear to not have what is needed. In his patience God took me through a series of lessons to help me see things from a more healthy, and spiritual perspective. Here are some of the lessons that helped me to grow in my trust in his loving care for me, and understand that only his love can cast out the fear in my heart.
Anxiety seeks control of my heart, but love leads to contemplation.
This reveals the source - God never seeks to control us - He wants us to abide in him.
Anxiety wants products, while love desires presence.
We think that material things will bring us peace, but deep down we know that only being with Jesus can really do that.
Anxiety lifts up gurus, but love relies on guides.
We are looking for heroes to follow, but what we really need is a loving friend.
Anxiety rests in results, love rests in relationships.
Success brings a sense of achievement, but it can never take the place of our deepest need: belonging.
Anxiety seeks conformity, while love brings out creativity.
Comparison with others can limit us in ever becoming what we were designed for.
Anxiety wants activity, but love wants awareness.
We are driven by busyness which keeps us from being where we really want to be.
Anxiety seeks answers, love seeks questions.
We want to understand why and how while God wants us to ask what he want to be for us.
I challenge you to go through this list one by one and honestly determine which side you tend to be on. Seek help in those areas where it looks like anxiety is the driving force in your life, for our loving Father does not want us to live in bondage to fear - no matter how small it may seem.