How are you? Everyone says these three little words on a daily basis and the typical, easy answer to reply is, “I’m fine.” There is never a need to elaborate on that. Many of us are private and reluctant to tell others about the issues going on in our lives. We have become such a private culture that even our family and friends are unwilling to ask us too many questions or to answer them when we ask. So many of us feel reluctant to disclose too much about ourselves particularly if it involves troubling issues. It has been researched that even when we go to the doctor, we may minimise or fail to mention the problems we are having. But why? Are we afraid to be helped or admit that we have problems just like everyone else? Do we really believe that no one really cares about what we say?
Offering Our Anxieties Up To God
This post goes out to all those who are anxious and feel like they have to constantly hide behind the “I’m fine” answer. But you’re never alone. God is in control. The Bible itself is filled to the brim with helpful and calming verses in it. “Put your trust in God…” (Psalm 56:3), “Cast all your cares on the Lord…” (Psalm 55:22) and the one I spoke about last week; “Do not worry about tomorrow…” (Matthew 6:34). For some of my Christian friends in the past have been told that anxiety (or any mental illness) is a sin and that they had to have more faith, believe or pray more. Anxiety is NOT a sin and you are not a defective.
For many of us, our anxieties, our fears and our feelings aren’t things we can control on our own. At least, not straight away. It usually shows up unannounced, unwanted and takes up residence, like a stain you can’t get out of a pristine, white shirt. It’s a medical condition that needs care, intervention and management that goes beyond quoting a few Bible verses and saying a lovely prayer, thinking that they’ll be quick fixes. When it comes to anxiety and other overwhelming feelings like grief, fear and anger, our first port of call, particularly as Christians, is to shove them away as hard and as fast as we can push them. We use all manner of things for that to happen; prayers, scriptures, declarations. We play worship songs at full volume in our attempts to drown the thoughts out. But, as much as we try, we can’t change the thoughts we have.
Jesus Shifts Our Focus
In the Bible, in Matthew 6.25-26, Jesus starts the discussion about understanding the fears and anxieties buried deep in mankind, that we can all take hold of:
“Do not be worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they don’t sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they are?” (NIV)
Look up. There are five hundred million hungry birds flying around. They don’t sow, reap or gather into barns and yet your Father in heaven knows their need and feeds every single one of them. If God feeds animal, essentially His pets, will He not feed you? Jesus, in these verses, shifts our focus to the “more” in life – what our hearts crave. There is a different kind of life we experience in fellowship with our God that is supernatural. That’s where our lives become more than “food and clothing.”
These verses go on to say, in Matthew 6.27, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” God is in control! The minutes, hours, days and weeks we spend being anxious amount to wasted, stolen time. Concerns from health, to money, to the future of the human race are all matters for God. He will be concerned about them because He cares for you and wants to guide you into living a fruitful life.
Using Anxiety To Your Advantage
Breathe. trust. Transfer your anxiety to God and place your concern where it belongs; on the things of God. I used to hate having anxiety. Now I don’t mind it as much because in those moments when I wake up at three in the morning in a cold sweat, my mind racing with concerns of money, the past and the future. I roll of my bed to sit on the floor and pray… especially hard to do when you’re at your parent’s house and you sleep on a bunk bed. I ask God to transition my anxieties from the things of this world into the things that God is concerned about.
Don’t Fear, Only Believe
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