Friday, May 10, 2013

On Anxiety

     Anxiety is driven by fear.  And once we become anxious, we turn into control-freaks.  We try to control the situation or the other person, or if we can't do that, we try to control other people outside the situation.  (I just read a book about this by Karen Ehman called Let.It.Go., and it was spot-on for me.)
     The Bible says 'perfect love drives out fear' (1John 4:18).  So the answer is to love and live in Christ.  We cast our cares upon God.  We choose to trust, not to dictate the lives of those around us.  We remember 'It's not about me,' it's about God and his glory.  Isaiah 43:7 and Romans 11:36 state that we are made for God's glory - ultimately, that is our purpose.  So our fear/anxiety is only a tiny part of the picture; we have to look outside ourselves: 'It's not about me.'
     But sometimes the anxiety is overwhelming, so overwhelming that I can't think straight, my mind becomes cloudy, and all I can get out is 'It's not about me.'  There are times I'm lucky to get that far.  I often cannot get to the 'it's about God's glory' part, so all I can say is 'It's not about me' or 'Blessed be the name of the Lord' or 'Bless the Lord, o my soul' (Philippians 4:6 - 'with thanksgiving').
     The latter of those three phrases are song lyrics.  Music is oftentimes my lifeline (other times it's a Bible verse or a quote that holds Biblical truth).  The song isn't always a Christian song; sometimes it's a song in which I find truth - Biblical truth.  'God gives us hope/But we still fear/What we don't know/The mind is poison.'  That's from a song by The Killers.  Another Killers lyric that often plays in my head is 'There are twisted days that I take comfort/Cause I'm not the only one/No I'm not the only one.' (I'm part of a women's Bible study group; if this lyric weren't true, why would we enjoy each other's company so much each Thursday night?)
     Hebrews 13:3 (NIV): 'Consider him [Jesus] who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.'  The only problem with trying to find comfort in the fact that Jesus too faced much anxiety (I've never been so anxious I was sweating blood), is that Jesus is perfect; I could never be like him.  But I take comfort in the fact that there is Sarah (or Sarai as she was known at the time in Genesis 16) and Gideon (Judges 6 & 7), Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-18) and the disciples (Matthew 8:23-27, 14:13-21, 15:32-37 and 16:5-10) who like me were overwhelmed or fearful or just stupid, yet God was with them, God used them and God loved them just the same.  That is God's grace.
     'Bless the Lord, O my soul.'
     'It's not about me.'
     'Hungry I come to you for I know you satisfy.'
     'I can't control this.'
     'You're big; I'm little; my head only comes to your middle.  With God's help little guys can do big things  too.'  (That's right, I sometimes bring Veggie Tales into battle.)
     'Jesus, save me.' (Matthew 14:25-31)
      I've fought fear and anxiety for half my life.  I find myself having to repeat mantras (for lack of a better term) sometimes just to keep my head above water.  'It's not about me' and 'Shut up, Satan' have been big on the list lately.  And remembering this: 
'For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, "Do not fear, I will help you."' (Isaiah 41:13 NIV).

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your heart, Stephanie. And you are so right about capturing the lie and replacing it with truth about Go, our BIG, loving, sovereign God.