Anxiety, The Weight We All Carry
I wish to talk with you today about one of the great banes of the 21st century. Please hear me. It is not my attempt to guilt you into confessing your anxiety. I’m gonna go ahead and say it: we all struggle with anxiety to one degree or another. There is not a single person reading this today exempt from the battle. We also understand that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual authorities and powers of darkness of this world. In short, anxiety is a tool of Satan and must be recognized as such. Its root is nothing less than fear. It cannot be cured with medicine, visits to the psychiatrist, or meditation. Yoga will not offer an end to it and a controlled diet can sometimes make it worse. Sleep can aid in abating it, but many times we slip into too much sleep or dreams and find them a source of the anxiety. What shall we do? Can we overcome this evil manifest in our lives? YES! We cannot but God can! His answer to our fear is always offered in His simple, quiet voice: “Trust me.”
While the root of our anxiety will always be fear, I am suggesting the tree has many branches. Anxiety can come in the form of a fear of relationships, a fear of failure, a fear of the dark, the unknown, or even the known. Its tentacles can reach into just about every area of our lives and begin its destructive journey as long as a hint of fear is present. Jesus says “Perfect love casts out fear.” And we know He has loved us perfectly!
I believe one of the greatest ways anxiety is manifest in our lives is through waste. Here is what I mean. We are a distracted culture. We waste so much time, food, and resources. We waste so many relationships and opportunities. Our constant need to move forward, to make a decision, to get things done causes us to miss so many things. Jesus says “the pagans run after these things…” We waste.
This waste oftentimes creates regret. We recognize the failures our waste has created and make a vow to not allow that failure to repeat itself. So we move harder, with more determination, with a quicker gait and a faster mind…and we repeat ourselves, only this time leaving more waste in our more determined wake. I suggest to you that regret and anxiety are co-related.
Have you ever heard that too much of a good thing is not a good thing? Determination, resolve, and confidence are all good things. It is certainly a good thing to learn when we need to quicken our pace. But we cannot live this way. No one was intended to live this way. To live the ‘quicker life’ will lead to anxiety every time.
What do we do? We cannot slow down! So many things would fall by the wayside. So many things would collapse. Right? Wrong! My suggestion is: let them collapse. The weight of the world is not on your shoulders. While you and I certainly bear great responsibility, we also carry a great privilege. Ours is to walk with Jesus, to keep His gait, to enjoy His company…and He does not live the ‘quicker life.’ His life is intentional; a choice by choice, step by step way of living. While we try to take 3-10 steps at once, He looks at each foot placement and decides, based on Scripture, which is the best way for us to go. His counsel is always good and always empty of regret. There is no waste in Him.
Anxiety is like the little child who runs circles around the park until near exhaustion. When he stops to catch his breath he sees that his parent is no longer in sight. Fear grips him! He begins to call out and soon finds out the parent was just out of sight and is much nearer than he thought. The parent’s presence prompts his return to circle running, and so goes the cycle.
We are not much different than this child. Our circles have gotten so wide and our gait so quick, we have convinced ourselves we don’t even have time to stop and look for God. “He can catch up if He wants our attention!” is the angle we take. When fear starts to set in, we forget our childhood lesson and run faster. Only when we hit the bottom and fear has had its way with our heart and mind do we finally stop and cry out for our Rescuer. Every time we discover He is much nearer than we imagined.
Isn’t there another way; a better way? Couldn’t we change some of our behaviors and teach ourselves to seek God before it’s too late? Jesus offers a fool proof solution to anxiety: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” All what things? All the things we race after. All the things the world says we have to have to survive. All the things we crave and do not ever seem to get. All THESE things! Do you not know your heavenly Father knows you need them all? Trust Him!
You see, fear always leads to an action. Some people respond to fear by turning to God. Many more turn to a more hectic schedule to try and eliminate the source of the fear. Even more eliminate themselves. They try to ignore their fear, drown their fear, or kill their fear by taking their lives. All of these are products of anxiety.
Which choice will you make? When you discover or uncover anxiety in your life or home how will you respond? Please hear me, it is never too late to stop running and cry out for God! It is never too late to confess your waste and bypass regret and anxiety and get straight to the source of healing and rescue. He will pull you out. No matter how many times you’ve run away from Him before, He will still pull you out. His grace knows no bounds. His love has no limits. Trust Him. Trust Him to care for you!!