God Over Anxiety

GOD OVER ANXIETY
I am naturally an anxious person. Anxious about future things, present things, and things that have little or even nothing to do with me. When I became a parent, the way I identified the "not so Christ-like" stuff in myself, changed. I'd never viewed my anxiety as potentially sinful or grievous to the Lord, but when I realized my prayers for the character of my children began with me and modeling that character, my anxiety became noticeable. How long had that been there?… A very long time. However, thank God, He is sanctifying me, sanctifying us. There's hope for He children.

ANXIETY IS UNBELIEF

Anxiety, at its core, is unbelief. Think about it. If you are anxious about finances, you lack the belief that God will provide. Anxious about your children and their future… you lack faith that God has the power to set them apart for good work. Whatever you are anxious about, the answer is because you're having a hard time trusting that God will work it all out.  Anxiety comes from not knowing the outcome of a situation or circumstance… it's the lack of being in control, so we ultimately lose control and get anxious.

When Jesus calmed the storm, He first rebuked the unbelief of the disciples; then He dealt with the storm (Matthew 8:23-27). The disciples lacked the faith to understand that Jesus was not through with them. Unbelief is lacking the confidence that God holds your present and future in His hands. We must learn to believe that God is using everything in our lives, for our good and His glory. When we lack the faith to believe we should respond like the father of the demon-possessed boy in Mark 9:24, "I believe; help my unbelief!"

ANXIETY & PRIDE

Anxiety is rooted in pride. I know it may be hard to believe and a battle to accept, however, let me ask, what can you change by being anxious? Will you magically pass that final exam tomorrow by staying up in bed worrying? Will the money to pay your bills appear because you ripped the nails off your nail beds (guilty)? No. Isaiah 51:12 confronts anxiety in us saying, "who are you that you are afraid." And in Matthew 6:25, Jesus commands us,"… do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

When we truly understand that God is in control, the baggage of our worries become lighter, and we find a content heart in Him. Remember, Jesus taught us, His yoke is easy, and His burden light for those who come to Him (Matthew 11:30). Psalm 127:2 tells us, it is in vain that we worry about the things we cannot control. We plan out our days and steps, but it is the Lord who establishes them (Proverbs 16:9). It is in vain that we worry because the Lord is ultimately in control. Moreover, why worry when God plans our days for His glory and our good (Jeremiah 29:11)?

The truth is, anxiety is normal, but Christ wants to set you free from its grip. Putting God first is the cure. What has He said? What are His promises? John Piper said it best, "You deal with anxieties by battling unbelief. You battle unbelief by meditating on God's Word and asking for help from the Spirit. The windshield wipers are the promises of God (His Word) that clear away the mud of unbelief. So the windshield washer fluid is the help of the Holy Spirit. Both are necessary, the Spirit and the Word."

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is living and active, doing its work within the heart and soul. You can count on God to finish the work He has begun within you (Philippians 1:6), but only by His Word of Life. Therefore, it is an excellent practice to look at His Word as our aid during times of need.

CONTENTEDNESS & THANKSGIVING

As Christians, we should continuously be looking to the Word as our mirror. The good work He is completing in us (that we work to mirror in the Word) is the fruit of the Spirit. We are transformed by renewing our mind (Romans 12:2) from what we thought was once acceptable, to what we now know is acceptable and pleasing to the Lord (Eph. 5:10). Two by-products of living for God are peace and patience. Don't those two sound like the opposites of being anxious? When we rid ourselves from anxiety, our hearts can rest truly in contentedness because we know that God is the God of all things, present, and future.

Philippians 4:6 commands us not to be anxious, but to give thanks. Thanksgiving opens the heart and mind, causing remembrance of where the Lord has grabbed us from and reminds us of who He is in our weakness; Friend, Father, Faithful, Comforter, Savior, Helper, etc.. Truly, in thanksgiving, we know He is present with us when our hearts are overwhelmed with gratefulness. When we find a reason to be thankful, we see a reason to be content with what He has already given us. When you feel anxious, the right place to begin is in prayer by giving thanks to God for who He is. It's through prayer that anxiety loses its grip on our hearts and where we find the strength to say, "It is well with my soul."

Soli Deo Gloria,
Desiree Alvarez