Anxiety and Worry
As someone who has dealt with anxiety, this topic is very personal to me. I am still learning how to deal with my anxiety and worries, but I hope that you find rest and peace in the promises and words of God; as His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
1. What is Anxiety? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines anxiety as, “A strong desire sometimes mixed with doubt, fear, or uneasiness”. Anxiety doesn’t just cause us to feel these strong emotions of fearfulness. Anxiety also affects our bodies in a harmful way. According to Okinaga (2020), anxiety can harm our central nervous system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, immune system and respiratory system. I know for myself when I get very anxious, I get this almost paralyzing feeling in my stomach and let me tell you it’s not fun.
2. God’s Presence During Anxiety (Psalm 23, Psalm 29, Matthew 6:25-34 and Philippians 4:4-7) God’s presence during anxiety is often hard to see. I know for me I can lose sight of what God promises, and I can grow impatient with God and say to Him, “Where are you?” and “Why isn’t anything changing?” In both Psalm 23 and Psalm 29, God makes it clear that He doesn’t leave us and that He gives us peace. In Psalm 23:4 the term “The valley of the shadow of death” can refer to any distressing or uneasy time in our lives. In the same verse it says “I will FEAR no evil; For YOU are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they COMFORT me. In Psalm 29:11 it says, “... The Lord will bless His people with PEACE.” We need God’s peace and comfort in times of anxiety. Jesus says in Mathew 6:25-34, “Do not Worry” three times! Jesus says to these people not to worry about what they will eat, drink, and wear as God provides for the birds and clothes the fields with lilies. Fear of not having basic needs will most likely cause anxiety in our hearts. MacArthur (1998) says that the birds don’t just sit and wait for food to just come to them, but rather they search eagerly for their food and God provides for them.
We, in the same way, should be constantly pursuing God just as Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, “...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” God’s presence is the peace that we get when we lay everything down at His feet. He has control over everything, is it not God who controls the world around us? We may not see God working, but this is why we walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
3. Surrendering is a Choice (Matthew 11:28-30 and Philippians 4:4-7) Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Surrendering our worries to Jesus is a choice. Whether or not we turn our worries over to Jesus is our choice; that decision is in our own hands. Paul, in Philippians 4:6-7, tells us, “6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds of Christ Jesus.” By surrendering you are constantly praying and giving your worries to God. We may not see Him working every day, but through every high and low, it is ALL in the hands of Jesus Christ. As EVERYTHING works according to HIS will, so we know it is good.
Closing Remarks: Learning How to Be Still I am still learning how to be still and give my worries to God. I can be blinded by what I see, and stop trusting God with my worries. Today my anxiety mainly comes from my fears of not knowing what the future holds. As we get older our worries and anxieties may change. In this point of time, we may be worried about passing that history test. Ten years from now we could be worried about how we are going to pay the bills. Whether or not we are worried about that history test or the bills this truth remains: that we should be in constant prayer when it comes to our anxieties and constantly give them to God. Take Care and God Bless!
MacArthur, J. (1998). Sermon: Jesus, worry, and you. Retrieved from Grace to You App on November 12, 2020.
Okinaga, J. (2020). Lecture Notes: Fear & Worry. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.