Maybe, like me, you would never have called yourself an anxious person, however lately you find yourself tight chested at times. Maybe you have always had an inclination towards anxiety. Alternatively, you may have a friend who is quite anxious and your not exactly sure how to cope with them. Here are a few things that I’ve learnt about anxiety:
Definition: Anxiety is having negative vision for the future.
I absolutely love this definition of anxiety. I first understood it this way through Tim Challies (a blogger and pastor). The good news is that if you or a friend has anxiety, you are visionary. What I mean by that is that you look towards the future, anticipating how plans will be played out and often times be quite prepared for what the future holds.
The bad news is that your view of the future is negative or is filled with doubt, reservations and concerns. This is why we over plan, stress endlessly and don’t leave anything to chance.
Ultimately, at least in my experience, anxiety comes down to control. I cannot live and function normally unless everything is working out the way I want it to. I’m guessing you can see the major problems with that. Very rarely do we have ultimate control over our lives. I mean we have bosses, breakdowns, unforeseen encounters with people and so many other things.
In the past I have had pretty severe anxiety troubles, some anxiety attacks even. There were days I wouldn’t want to get up because there was just too much margin for the unknown. However, the bible has much to say about anxiety and anxious people!
Here are two verses that I lean on when struck with anxiety:
“Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
God cares about you! Jesus when to the cross to bear your burden. Not only that but God is strong enough to carry your anxiety and you are not. When we don’t cast our anxieties on God, is shows a lack of trust that he can act on our behalf to relieve the stress. God is both powerful enough and caring enough to act on your behalf.
“Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Prayer to God is a key action we need to take as Christians if we are going to fight anxiety. Our prayers should be driven by Thanksgiving, because we know the cost Jesus paid to achieve the righteous status we now have with God. Being thankful means that we don’t have an attitude of entitlement, but because God gave everything, we humble ourselves and become hopeful for what God will do on our behalf.
And a thought that I often come back to is this.
If God brought you so far in the act of salvation for eternity, he will hold you in this temporal life. How much harder is it to save for eternity than some small temporal circumstances.