Anxiety can be one of the most exhausting, energy depleting emotions we go through. The constant gnawing in our hearts of the feeling of dread is tiring and saps our energy.
With so many of us leading increasingly busy and stressful lives there are many triggers for this. Many of us deal with various every day challenges whether they be work, social, family or environmental stresses. They can be compounded by health issues and disability. When this is further exacerbated by language and cultural difficulties the impact on us can be quite severe.
The environment we live in now with media steeped in violence, occult practices and aggressiveness can tend to normalize these behaviors which now seem to regularly spill over into our every day lives. For example, how often are we taught by leaders who seem to forget they are by default, role models, how to disrespect and mistreat women? The rapidity by which these behaviors are relayed by media is faster than ever before and unfortunately the viewers inevitably include impressionable boys and young men who may take it as a cue of acceptable behavior. It’s no wonder many females feel anxious walking alone around university campuses or travelling to and from work as we are increasingly taught to believe our safety is always uncertain.
In addition to these social, cultural and economic factors is just the plain old uncertainty of the future. When things are out of our control and we cannot dictate our desired outcomes, we inevitably become anxious. If left improperly managed it can become chronic or obsessive.
So…how can we deal with such a seemingly out of control issue? The good news is that, although it is a challenge for us not to worry, we need not do this. Remember without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) and worrying/being anxious about our lives is demonstrating a lack of faith in Him and that He will take care of us in all situations. God specifically instructs us in Philippians 4:6-7 that we should not be anxious about anything but take all of our concerns to Him, and He tells us in Matthew 6:27 that worrying is futile- “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
Anxiety can actually be perceived as a form of idolatry as it is placing our need for control above the God who actually is in control and whose right and role it is to control our lives.
Although our future is unknown to us, it is not unknown to God. He knows every problem, worry and event that ever did and ever will occur in our lives before they ever happened. Moreover, He has already made provision for us to meet these challenges. Over and over again, He assures us in scripture that He will never let us down – that as God feeds the birds in the air, more so will He do this for us who is much more valuable to Him than they (Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:24), that whatever challenges we face He will fight for us and with us (Exodus 14:14; Joshua 1:19) and that He will give us strength (Philippians 4:13). We need only to trust and obey Him.
By placing God in the center of our lives and keeping Him our main focus, we can diminish our anxieties. It doesn’t mean that hurtful events, disappointments or tragedies would not occur in our lives. Sometimes this is necessary for us to carry out God’s purpose as He works in and through us. However, we can be sure that God knew each of these events before they happened, that He loves us deeply and will see us through each challenge. No matter how difficult our trials may be, He will never give us more than we can bear because He will always be there to carry us through it. And God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21).
With all of these assurances from our Heavenly Father as well as His instruction for us not to worry, there is no need for us to be anxious.When fears and uncertainties come into our hearts, we can, in complete confidence pray to God and ask Him for help. If hurtful situations do occur despite our petitions, we need to trust God that His will is for our best even though we do not yet see it.
We can focus on serving God in the present and doing our best to obey His will, while giving over to Him our concerns about the future. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”Matthew 6:34.
~ God bless you