What does anxiety look like on you? On me, I know I'm anxious when I wake up in the morning and I feel like I've been working all night. And I probably have. I've probably been trying to work out whatever I'm anxious over through my dreams. But I also wake up tense, in a knot.
A couple of years ago, our church hosted a coffee house event for the women of our church and community. We served coffee and cheesecake, but we also served up ample portions of talk about anxiety. A couple of brave women shared openly about their struggles with anxiety and everyone ate it up.
Turns out, most every woman in attendance that night could relate to the plague of anxiety. And that makes sense. Most of these women were in their 30s and 40s, right in the prime worry time.
- We worry about our families, both our parents and our children.
- We worry about the breaking news...which is breaking throughout the day.
- We worry about our finances.
- We worry about our own health issues.
- We worry about our husbands...their health, job, happiness.
- We worry about reaching our own goals.
- We even worry about our pets!
What worries you these days? More than likely if we were to sit down across from each other with coffee and cheesecake right now, you could list off several things that weigh heavy on your mind these days. I could, too.
So what do you do about your worrisome list? Do you have anxious moments, days? There have been times in my life when I would say that I was living with chronic anxiety. I've had panic attacks even. And I've had days when I just couldn't relax, couldn't grab hold of peace.
But that's not how God intends for us to live. In fact, He doesn't call our anxiety a malady of our time, a side effect of midlife, or a woman's woe. He calls it sin.
Well, if being anxious is a sin, you can bet God also supplies a remedy to get us back on track.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
Anxiety is a common problem among women in the throes of raising children, earning a living, keeping a marriage together, and taking care of a home. But if we are tempted to worry, God is faithful to provide an alternative, according to 1 Corinthians 10:13. So what is that alternative?
It's found in Philippians 4:6-9.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.
So let's break it down.
- Choose to not be anxious. Anxiety is a sin. I'm sorry if that offends you (or me), but it's true.
- Talk to God about your concerns. That's what "by prayer" means in the above scripture. It means if you're going to mull it over, think on it, stew over it, choose instead to talk to God about it.
- Ask for His help. Search the scriptures for promises He has made to us regarding your worrisome matter, and ask Him to keep His promises.
- Dwell instead on things that are pure (truth), lovely (God's gifts), honorable (God's character), excellent (God's promises) and praise worthy (past answers to prayer).
- Practice living in God's presence. The scripture promises He is with us through our difficulties. Practice an awareness of His companionship.
I know that if your "issue" is large and weighty, the steps above may seem simplistic and futile. But, hey, that's the way it is with the Good News. The gospel itself is simple, sometimes too simple for us. But that doesn't change the life-saving power of it.
My favorite TV character Frankie Heck once said, "Worrying is good. It let's God know you're paying attention." I love Frankie and all her Middle
-ness, but once again, she got it wrong. Anxiety may be socially acceptable, but it's a sin in God's eyes. Worry indeed tells God you're paying attention...to the problem, that is, but not to Him. We're supposed to keep our eyes on Him, and He'll keep His eyes on the problem.
What do you struggle with being anxious about? Me, too, probably! Tell you what, you pray for me and my anxiety over the writer's conference I'm attending in a couple of months and I'll pray for you. Let me know how I can pray for you. I'd love to.
Labels: anxiety, Perspective, prayer, What's in Your Pack