“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” (Luke 12:22-26, 31, NIV)
Our Creator offers us freedom from worry. He invites us to come to Him and trust Him with all our needs.
Yet we defend our right to worry. After all, isn’t it acceptable, even wise, to be “concerned” about some things?
But worry is no privilege. I think about what happens to me when I begin to worry. Peace of mind goes immediately. I get frightened about the future, and as I do, I focus on my own needs. Generosity, joy, and perspective are squeezed out. Selfishness, fear, and shortsightedness take over.
I have to be honest here: anxiety is not entirely a defeated foe for me. Work and family situations still gnaw at me occasionally. But the Creator has been patient and faithful in teaching me important lessons.
First, I’ve realized that anxiety is fear, pure and simple. Fear assumes a false reality. Fear assumes that God doesn’t exist, or that He has lost control of the situation. Fear forgets His power. It forgets His kindness and unchanging love.
Fear focuses on self, ignoring God. When I am anxious, my thoughts are on my own needs and my ability to meet them, not on God and His willingness to help me.
Second, I’ve learned through difficult experiences that I cannot make worry go away. I cannot will it away or reason it away (the Lord knows I’ve tried!). Even when I sincerely commit a problem to Him, it sometimes keeps coming back to mind.
But I’ve found that I can keep bringing the concern to Him, simply and honestly, each time it arises.
Further, I’ve found that when words and pretty promises don’t help, He himself is the greatest comfort. He is always with me, even when I forget Him. My Creator still holds my entire life in His hand. The One who made me is still working toward my good, even during the dark times.
When finances are tight, He reminds me, “I am your security, not money.”
When a long car trip is necessary in winter and I’m concerned about slick roads, He whispers, “I am your protection, not the weather.”
And when troubles sweep happiness out of my reach, He is still with me. He draws me to look into His face and say, “Jesus, You are my joy, now and forever.”
In the end, it is not some technique or memorized words that free me from anxiety. It is He himself, my Creator, my God. When He is with me, how can I help but rejoice? How can I help but thank Him, love Him, and trust Him with my life?
Creator, I know You love me. I come to You now with my needs and concerns.
Anxiety is self-centered.
Faith is God-centered.
Hymn: Lord, Why Am I Anxious?
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