Today I will focus on the topic of anxiety;
and compare what Jesus and the world says.
But first let me provide a definition of it.
Anxiety is often characterized
by overthinking and excessive worry;
and there’s usually an inner turmoil
related to holding on instead of letting go.
Anxiety is typically accompanied by
nervous behaviors and somatic complaints -
like overreacting to a situation
that is subjectively seen,
as being in distress,
causing muscle tension
and tightness in chest -
which can lead to panic attacks
and loss of breath.
The physical response
one gets to anxious thoughts,
is often attached
to the feeling of dread;
a great fear or apprehension
that something bad is going to happen -
related to a perceived or a real threat.
Anxiety is truly the epitome
of being controlled by the flesh;
driven by the negative thoughts and feelings
that are pumped through the head.
Anxiety can feel like
trying to chase after
a thousand pieces of paper
in the wind;
try to grab swirling thoughts
that never seem to end.
may become a natural reaction
for those who find the world
to be unpredictable and all-consuming;
so they try to control the external world
instead of having it control them.
The anxious often try to influence
the behaviors of another person;
and they do this by making it “all about them.”
The fear of being at the mercy
of another person
leads to feelings of vulnerability
which can result in
wanting to be more in control.
Believe it or not,
over-anxious people can inflict
tremendous psychological distress -
because they believe they are
victimized by an unfair world.
In conclusion, anxiety is typically tied
to distorted thoughts and feelings
focused on the preservation of self.
Anxiety is a natural reaction of a person
who is experiencing much fear and much doubt.
So if this is true,
and anxiety is a natural response
to walking through the wilderness,
the Valley of the Shadow of the Death,
then why does scripture say,
“Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication,
let your requests be made known to God;
and the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus.”
What is the anxious person
supposed to do with this?
Well, I believe the apostle Paul,
who was driven by the Holy Spirit,
had the best plan of attack!
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true,
whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just,
whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue
and if there is anything praiseworthy -
meditate on these things.
The things which you learned
and received and heard and saw in me,
and the God of peace will be with you.”
You see, as children of God,
our thoughts should not be our own.
We are to be transformed
by the renewing of our minds,
which happens when we die to self
and give our thoughts over to God.
Scripture says that we are justified
by Christ's blood,
and it's only our faith in Christ
that makes us righteous in God's eyes.
So we can let go of perfection,
and works of the flesh -
because none of that matters
to obtain the Kingdom of God.
“Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you
and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy
and my burden is light.”
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”