Your heart clenches and adrenaline pumps through your body. You lose your appetite and your blood sugar levels drop. You find yourself getting so frustrated and angry. Becoming so upset about the smallest things. And the people around you are confused and become wary. The smallest details stress you out, and small issues that can (and usually do) get worked out appear to you like major problems. You can’t let things go, and you find yourself dwelling on the same subject for days - even weeks.
Living like this can become so normal that you accept it as everyday life. And through acceptance you are blind to how your actions and attitudes are ill affecting yourself and the people close to you. This is anxiety.
Living in bondage to anxiety is an awful wretched thing that does not bring us joy, happiness, nor fulfillment. It's not the kind of life that Jesus desires for us.
Our culture can be way too intense. Intense about deadlines, expectations, and perfection. However, our culture is not God. If anxiety is something that you struggle with, deep down inside you know. And without addressing the root of the problem, anxiety gets worse! There are many things that cause us to be anxious: struggles at home, poor relationships with others, social situations, schoolwork, seeking perfection, seeking the approval of others, envisioning a bad future and more. And there are also many “fixes” that society gives us as well: medication, yoga, relaxation, alcohol, homeopathic remedies and more. The issue is, these “remedies” seem to only help in the short term (even though you can participate in them long term).
I’ve come to realize that if you want to strike anxiety at its roots and live in freedom, God is the only answer. Often when we find ourselves in a wave of anxiety or suffering we turn to anxiety instead of responding to God. We don’t allow God to mediate the situation and make peace - within us and between us and others.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
Mark Driscoll says, “If there are things in which you have no control of, don’t be fearful. Be faithful.” Being faithful means that we need to place our 100% trust in God. He has everything under control! Sometimes that can be extremely hard to believe. I have been there. But sometimes, when I feel like God is the only one who truly loves me and has my best at heart, I have no choice but to trust Him with everything.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
There will always be things that we don’t understand, and situations in which we have no control. When we find ourselves in these situations, instead of turning to and responding with anxiety, we need to turn to and respond with God. As I write this I know that I can be a hypocrite. Even when I know I should be trusting God, I find myself being anxious instead. But in these situations, God is faithful and gives us grace, allowing us to see our faults. We do not need to live a life in anxiety. Choosing not to be anxious is very important, and listening and obeying God is even more important. God loves you! And I love you too. And when you find yourself free from anxiety, you discover how joyful and beautiful life can be.