Tag Archive: anxiety


bible-studyThe following Bible verses met me in my morning devotion today, and prompted reflection that I was compelled to share:

 

“The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.” Daniel 6:23 NLT, http://bible.com/116/dan.6.23.nlt (emphasis mine)

“And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—” 2 Peter 3:14-15 NLT, http://bible.com/116/2pe.3.14-15.nlt (emphasis mine)

My nearly constant state of disturbance proves that I am generally not living in a state of trust. Daniel’s miracle was attributed to his trust — his faith. It is by that faith that Christians find the ability to live peaceful, pure, blameless lives. I step outside pure, blameless peace when I grow discontent with circumstances, fearful of outcomes. That’s not faith! Our Lord is patient, so I should be too. If He’s not getting uptight about things coming unwound, why should I?

 

When anxiety grips me, sometimes it helps me to work it out to its end and be done with it. In practice this takes the form of several questions I answer in series:

  1. What is the worst case scenario? Usually whatever fear torments me it’s not even close to the worst case scenario. So this gives me some sort of scale. When I’m sweating a low grade on an exam, it helps to recognize that even failure of the whole class won’t trigger a global apocalypse.
  2. Even if the worst possible outcome happens, won’t God still be sovereign over the universe, and big enough to guide you through? This one’s easy — the answer’s always “yes.” Through persecution, meteor showers, pestilence, and apocalyptic insurgence, I will still be a child of God, purely and dearly loved. Dead or alive, I’m still God’s prince, priest, and bride.
  3. What is the likelihood of the outcome I fear? This brings the scale back into a manageable perspective. It helps to recognize that fear is the anticipation of something that might not even happen, while conceding that it is somewhere on the plane of possibility, almost always lower on the scale than it feels. I might not be forfeiting my occupation of earth, but the critiques I am subject to are far less predictable and administered by far less holy people than the terrorists who might only saw my head off once. I acknowledge the chance, however small, of responding to a perceived failure in my very near future.
  4. If God is big enough in the worst case scenario, isn’t He big enough to see you through this medium sized catastrophe in the event it does come about? Another easy “yes.” And I’m feeling better about my position in the universe.

 

It also helps to recall who and what I am in relation to the fearful obstacles around me. Remember Star Wars’ lonely, afraid astro-droid R2D2 traveling alone through the Gungan Wastes of Tatooine, in a classic cinematic representation of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. R2 slowlyr2d2-on-tatooine propels forward, looking about, humming and chirping to himself, to achieve his higher purpose. Armed Gungan “sand people” on Banthas, Jawa pirates, and mysteries of the rocks be hanged! He’s on a top-priority mission from the princess, so he presses on.

I, too, have a higher purpose, and it is far outside the view of those who seek to assault me or sell me for used parts. My Creator is not finished creating me. He’s shaping me even with the obstacles I now face. He’s forging and hammering my character into the precision instrument I will become. It’s hot, and it hurts, but it’s going to be worth it when the Master is finished and he hears my blade sing.

It’s been said, “This too shall pass,” but I add to that, “No pain is permanent,” and, “This is for His glory and my refinement!” From these statements come resolve, and from resolve courage to stand firm.

God, rebuke the destroyer from my mind, life, family, and estate. Make me slippery to his footholds, and frustrate all his assigns. Cast away every remnant of his authority, and clean my mind of any tendency to repeat his lies after his removal. Consecrate me, my family, and my estate to Your purposes, and use them at Your pleasure. All I am, have, and do is Yours. By Christ Jesus, whose blood bought me from death, amen!

“The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours—you created it all.” (‭Psalms‬ ‭89‬:‭11‬ NLT)
My addiction likes to pose questions like, “What if there isn’t enough?” The reality is that, no matter what happens, God will still be owner and operator of the universe. As long as that is true, I am content, with no real reasons to be otherwise. The imaginary reasons are the stuff of my sinful, selfish disease.

“People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed.”
‭‭(Proverbs‬ ‭13:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬)
I have always resisted the advice of others. Like a foolish youth, I demanded I was different than those who failed before me, and insisted that I might succeed where others had not. I am happy to be growing up into a wiser way of avoiding pitfalls into which I can see others have fallen.

Holy Father, today, I return to You for the grace to accept with gladness Your will and provision for me. Help me walk according to Your guidance, and to seek it in the clues you leave in the lives around me. Forgive my worries and wash me of them, granting me contentment as I exercise my trust in You. In You alone I place my trust!

He’s Already There

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3 They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. (Mark 16:3-4, NRSV)

No matter how many times God meets my needs, I still spend a lot of time fretting about how I will accomplish my next task. The girls were wondering how they were going to move the stone from Jesus’ tomb. Issac wondered where the sacrifice was going to come from. Abraham wondered how Sarah was ever going to conceive. The reality is all we have to do is put ourselves in position and submit to God’s will, and He is faithful to make a way. History never had to hear of three women struggling over a rock, though we did learn what came of Sarah’s shame and Abraham’s impatience.

I got some disturbing news today that has me wondering, “what next?” and, “what if?” I’m jabbering in my mind about how I will roll the stone away, when the truth is, Jesus isn’t even in that tomb. I’ve got to remind myself to trust.

Dear Father, today, still my heart and calm my fears so that I can live in faith instead. Help me to remember that You are already in my tomorrow, walking several steps ahead of me, and I have no need of worry or embalming spices.

Friends, you are welcome to pray for me too if you are inclined. I could use a little support. Perhaps I’ll write more about it in days to come.

Heavy Laden No More!

I’ve gotten a little behind on my New Testament in a Year readings, so the most pressing part of my catchup came from the one two days ago:

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, 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.”  (Matthew 11:28-30, NRSV)

This verse came into my mind this morning before it came into my view, as I responded to a precious lady who commented on yesterday’s post.  We carry so much!  Even those of us who profess to follow Jesus, the Lifter of burdens and Liberator from bondage, still try to carry the weight of our crucified flesh and so much of the worries and expectations of the world.  Why?  Because we are human, and just as gravity pulls our bodies to the earth, our sensations and desires drag us back to the worry and care of this world (1 John 2:16).  Jesus, who said He came that we might have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10) repeatedly instructed His followers to stop worrying, to lay down burdens, to love one another as oneself (which requires that one love oneself, a part I always omitted), to trust in Him, to forgive as He forgives (which also applies to self or it doesn’t work), and to be at peace.  His was a spiritual liberation that makes all the rest possible (John 6:63).

Dear Father, today, help me live in Your solution rather than in the world’s problems, cares, concerns, regrets, and anxieties.  All of that is too much for me to bear, and I acknowledge that You never intended for me to try.  Thank You for the liberty from it!

I Choose to Believe!

TrustTilesOn page 62 of the AA Big Book, we read that selfishness driven by fear is really the basic problem of the alcoholic, and by extension, of the addict and compulsive overeater.  The AA 12&12 clarifies it a little more:

“The chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear – primarily fear that we would lose something we already possessed or would fail to get something we demanded.” (p. 76, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions)

This morning I came upon a Scriptural explanation for why this is so well addressed in the life of one who chooses Jesus Christ as their Higher Power.  Paul is speaking to those who have demonstrated a willingness to give of themselves even to their own detriment and hardship when he says this:

19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)

The disease of addiction is one of anxiety, usually of not being supplied with all we want or imagine, but also of losing what we have.  How can we, who profess to trust in God Almighty, be anxious about tomorrow when our trust is truly full?  Put the other way, how can we who are anxious about tomorrow truthfully profess to trust in the Almighty God?  We cannot serve two masters!  Trust and fear are incongruent.  Yesterday, I fell into discontented anxiety when my schedule got awry.  Today, I choose trust.

Dear Father, today, I repent of my idolatry.  I refuse to worship the clock or myself, or even the responsibilities You give me as being bigger than You.  I believe in You, Lord.  Help me overcome my unbelief!  I want to know, love, and honor You more.  Help me to be consistently willing to submit to, and aware of, Your work in my life so that I do not wiggle and writhe against Your reshaping work in me.  Today, help me live in and by faith.