How Does God Feel About My Worry and Anxiety?

A Biblical Perspective on Worry and Anxiety

Philippians 4: 6-7

6) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I worry. I worry a lot. About everything, even things I make up to worry about. As hard as it is to say, worry is a sin. The verse above does not say – try to not be anxious or try to not worry about everything – no, it says “DO NOT be anxious about ANYTHING…”

If you are like me, you don’t like to hear that. You want your worry to be OK, or, for it to be understandable based on your past or something terrible that happened to you. That is what I wanted. I had reasons to worry or be anxious from  traumatic events in my past, but the truth is, whatever the reason for my worry, it is a sin.

The good news is that Christ died for my sins – all of them, including my worry and anxiety – and he washed them all away with his blood. That wasn’t done just for my sins in the past, but for the past, present and future. However, that doesn’t mean I should just keep on worrying and being wound up with anxiety. No, that means I should do whatever I can to get worry out of my life.

Why? It’s because the things in the Bible that God tells us not to do are for our own good. Any sin will lead to some sort of destruction or turmoil in our lives. Like worry. God says don’t worry because He wants us to realize that He’s got this and we don’t need to worry. Worrying doesn’t help anything and all it does is make us, well, worry.

The verse above is a popular verse for people to read and memorize, but do you know the 4 words that come just before it in verse 5? “The Lord is near.” For some reason that little phrase doesn’t make it when this verse is quoted or memorized because it is part of the verse prior. However, it is really an integral part of these verses. God is not shaming us for being worried, He is comforting us and telling us He is right here with us and He will take care of it and, if something bad does happen, He will get us through it.

All that being said, there are levels of worry and anxiety that need more than words to help. These conditions and disorders may require counseling and or medications and that is OK. The point is not to be ashamed that you worry or have anxiety, the point is that you don’t have to go through it alone. “The Lord is near.” There are also a lot of people out there suffering through worry and anxiety, like me, that would love to help support you as well and get through it together.

My main defense against worry is prayer. Every time I start to worry, I start to pray abut whatever I’m worrying about at that moment. Yes, some days (many days) it seems like I have to pray constantly, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t such a bad thing.

How do you combat your worry and anxiety?

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Devotion: Would You Want Others To Follow Your Example?

Philippians 3:17
Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.

I have read this verse multiple times in my life, but for whatever reason God wanted me to really see it this time because it just jumped out at me recently when it appeared in a devotion. It actually almost made me sick to my stomach when the meaning sank in and a thought came to my mind:

“Would I ever tell someone to follow my example as a follower of Christ?”

Well, the answer quickly followed and was a resounding “No way!” I don’t want that kind of responsibility and, probably more accurately, I don’t want that kind of accountability. Yet, here is Paul telling the church at Philippi to do just that. So, does Paul just think he is “all that and a bag of chips” to the point that he thinks all Christians should be as good as he is at being Christ like?

Actually what Paul was saying was quite the opposite as we can read in 1 Timothy 1:15-16:

15) Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16) But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

Paul’s point was not to follow him because he was a great a being like Christ, his point was for them to follow his example of being a sinner and yet shown mercy by Jesus despite all his sin. In other words, you don’t have to be perfect and sinless instead, you can be just like Paul, full of sin but given mercy and salvation through Christ.

This verse is a challenge to me and I hope to you as well. Ask yourself, “What example am I setting for others?”

Am I setting an unrealistic example by pretending to be perfect on the outside and not being vulnerable enough to let people see all the times I fall?

I think God wants us to set an example that shows the reality of being a follower of Christ. Trying to following Jesus’ perfect example and always falling short but accepting the grace, patience, forgiveness and, ultimately, salvation despite all my sin and shortfalls.

Here is an even more challenging question: “Would I ever be willing to tell others to follow my example?”

That is scary for me and it is what caused me to feel sick to my stomach. It is scary to think of someone watching how I react to this life because I don’t always handle things the way God would like me to and I don’t want others to see that example. However, that is life as a sinner in a sinful world and new believers or, those that haven’t made the step of accepting God’s salvation yet, need to know that it is ok to mess up. We all do it and God is always right there ready to forgive and love us anyway.

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Only Child Walking

My son, my only child, left today for his last day of school…. ever.

This is the last day of his senior year. The last day of our morning routine that has been in place for the last 13 years. The last day I can really see him as a child. When he gets home today he will essentially be at the point of his life where his is ready to be on his own. Not that he is going to pack his car and run out the door this afternoon, no, I know how to disable his car. Just kidding – sort of….

No, he is not leaving the house today, but this day does mark the end of a very big part of both of our lives; his childhood. Don’t get me wrong, he is completely ready, equipped and able to take care of himself and that is exactly what I wanted. However, I suddenly don’t want that quite as much as I did earlier in the process of raising him.

I am currently caught in the cross hairs of the tug of war that comes with letting go of my child:

  • I am so proud of his accomplishments and his graduation, but I don’t want it to be over.
  • I am excited about his being able to go off to college and start living on his own, but I don’t want him to go.
  • I am excited to see where his life leads him, but I want to go with him.
  • I want him to be independent and love creating his own life, but I don’t at the same time.
  • I don’t want him to need me on a daily basis anymore, but I do.

In a few days my son will walk across the stage and receive his high school diploma. And the giant door to his childhood will effectively slam shut. Granted, another much more exciting door will be opening for him, but all I see is the one that is closing. I also know that he may be back for a while after college, but that won’t be quite the same.

People always told me to enjoy every moment because it will be gone so quickly. How is it that 18 years can be gone in the blink of an eye? I loved every second of his childhood and I can only hope that I gave him all the tools and experiences he will need to make the right choices and to be able to chase his dreams wherever they may lead.

In the end, that is what I really want. I want him to go out and experience life, make his own decisions and chase his dreams. All the while knowing that he always has a soft place to land when life is hard and when some dreams don’t work out.

How have you dealt with the transition from child to adult with your children? I would love some tips!

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The Shoe

A curious thing is a shoe in the road,

alone and departed from the foot it once knew.

How did it come to be there this way,

with not a soul around?

 

Is there a being traveling this road with one shoe on

and the other mysteriously missing?

Or did someone acting mischievously

Just toss it there as they passed by

Knowing that another, such as myself,

Would find it and begin to puzzle?

 

With questions unanswered and

my mind still wondering,

I decide to move on.

 

Yet, first, I pause to slowly gaze downward

just to be certain I still possess both

my shoes.

Writer, Event Management