Anxiety is an area of my life that I have continually struggled with. Although I have certainly come a long way from my high-school days where my anxiety was at its peak, anxiety loves to try to re-gain prominence in my life at the seemingly most inconvenient of times. What I find particularly intriguing about the Scriptures is its repeated reference to trusting in the Lord rather than being afraid. Jesus Himself spent a good portion of His earthly ministry towards communicating the futility in anxiety which is definitely rooted in fear. Strikingly, fear does not only lead to anxiety but it will also typically result in a paralyzing-fear of pursuing godly risks essential to our faithful obedience to God(See COMPLACENCY HINDERS OUR JOYFUL OBEDIENCE TO GOD).
I strongly believe that it is my Christian Faith that has fueled my perseverance, especially throughout those sorrowful times where it seemed like nobody cared. The Lord is amazingly faithful though! Even during those times of overwhelming darkness in my life, He has always been there to rescue me and build me back up again. In fact, without God’s never-ending stream of much-needed mercies and sanctifying-grace, I honestly do not know where I would be today.
Recently, I have undergone a sizable transitional stage in my life with a new job position which unfortunately provoked a great deal of stress in my life. It was through the following verse in Psalm 94 from one of my recent devotionals (precisely timed by the Lord’s providence) where I managed to find comfort through this gentle reminder:
18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,”your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.19 When anxiety was great within me,your consolation brought me joy.
What an amazing reminder that the Lord is always available to provide His divine support for those who merely call upon His All-Powerful Name. Too often I feel that we try to handle the anxieties of our life on our own as opposed to simply asking for help from the Creator of the Universe who is able to do immeasurably more towards those who ask Him (Ephesians 3:20). In fact, from Matthew 11 Jesus Himself encouragingly tells us to do the following:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Our Father is compassionately and patiently waiting for everyone to seek Him, and to also completely surrender their lives to Him. I am sure that He yearns for His entire creation to experience His free gift of salvation which by extension also provides unprecedented peace, and soul-satisfying grace found nowhere else.
In addition to remembering to always trust in the Lord and to lean on His strength especially during anxiety-provoking times, what I have learned from my anxiety-related experiences is that perspective is also deeply important. By perspective I mean allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our minds to focus on our blessings instead of our burdens through fostering an attitude of gratitude (earlier post titled: “The Christian Attitude Should be One of Gratitude”). This empowers us to channel our thoughts to the magnitude of Who God is and what He is capable of, consequently minimizing the control we grant towards our problems.
Like Paul commonly taught, we also need to learn to be content in all circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13). This is able to be accomplished through being empowered by the Holy Spirit who enables us to be securely anchored in Jesus’ unfailing love and His steadfast promises. Through God giving us Himself on the Cross, He has mercifully given us exceedingly more than we will ever be worthy of receiving as sinners!
In summary, for worry-free, unceasing and constant contentment we need to always focus on loving the Giver more than the gifts/blessings provided by the Giver. We are already a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) through Christ Jesus’ redemptive love as displayed and delivered on the Cross, so let’s live like it!
Moving forward I pray that as a Church we can learn to lead anxiety and worry-free lives through seeking contentment in all circumstances by keeping You at the center of our sometimes very busy lives. Help us to keep You at the forefront of our minds and to always seek to glorify Your Name by being most satisfied in You (John Piper).
In Jesus’ Faithful Name, I pray Amen.