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  • Writer's pictureRevShirleyMurphy

Anxiety



'Casting all your care upon him.' 1 Peter 5:7


Anxiety is excessive concern. If left unchecked, it robs you of confidence, joy, peace, humour, and perspective. Anxiety comes from obsessing over something; trying to figure out what happened, needing to understand what people are thinking, struggling to decide what to do. 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths' (Proverbs 3:5-6). Trust requires living with unanswered questions, accepting that God knows what you don't know. You'll never have all the answers or have perfect understanding of things. Even the apostle Paul acknowledged, 'We know in part' (1 Corinthians 13:9).


The cure for anxiety may involve the help of a doctor or medical professional, but it also begins with accepting: First, that God knows everything. Second, that God is never surprised. Third, that God is never without a solution. Here are your options: carry the burden yourself or cast it on the Lord. 'Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on him, for he cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully' (1 Peter 5:7). Note the words 'all your anxieties...once and for all'. Learning to live this way takes patience and practice, so don't expect an overnight miracle.


The secret is in giving your anxiety to God one more time than you take it back. Learn to catch yourself in the act. When anxiety comes, say, 'Lord, this is not mine, it's yours. So, I'm giving it to you.' Try it for this month and see what happens.


'Cast your burden on the Lord [release it].' Psalm 55:22


Hannah Whitall Smith tells a story that took place about a hundred years ago, yet it's as up to date as tomorrow morning's newspaper. A farmer with a horse and cart notices a man walking along with a heavy sack on his back, so he offers him a ride. The stranger accepts and climbs up onto the cart. But as they proceed down the road, he is still bowed beneath the weight of his sack. The farmer says, 'Why don't you set the sack down?' The stranger replies, 'That would be too much to ask. I'm grateful that you're carrying me, but I would never expect you to carry the sack also.'


That's what we do when we accept God's offer of salvation but insist on carrying all our burdens ourselves. 'Cast your burden on the Lord [release it] and he will sustain and uphold you' (Psalm 55:22). God won't begin working on the problem until you turn it over to him; he gets involved when he gets invited.


We wait until we're falling apart, then wonder why God doesn't help. 'You do not have because you do not ask God' (James 4:2). Have you asked God for help? Have you placed the problem in his hands, confident that he will work it out for your good, patiently waiting for him to do it? This doesn't mean you become passive and sit around doing nothing. You need to do what you believe is right and what you have peace about doing. Learn the difference between your part and God's part and stop frustrating yourself by trying to do what only God can do.


'Do not worry or be anxious.' Matthew 6:31


It's good to have a goal for the future and a plan for reaching it. But it's not good to project into the future and worry about all the things that could go wrong. That's anxiety, and it should have no place in your mind as a redeemed child of God.


'Do not worry or be anxious, saying, "What are we going to eat?" or "What are we going to drink?" or "What are we going to have to wear?" For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But first and most importantly seek his kingdom and his righteousness - and all these things will be given to you also. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own' (Matthew 6:31-34 AMP). Those Scriptures could be reduced to one line: 'Live trusting God each day to take care of you and stop projecting into the future.'


Each morning God gave the Israelites a one-day supply of food. If they tried to gather more, it rotted. God's message was simple: 'Each day I will guide you and provide for you.' Anxiety can consume you. So when you feel anxious, stand on this Scripture: 'It is because of the Lord's loving kindnesses that we are not consumed, because his [tender] compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great and beyond measure is your faithfulness' (Lamentations 3:22-23).


You have been a strength...to the needy in his distress.' Isaiah 25:4


When you start worrying about the future, recall what God has already brought you through. In situations you thought you wouldn't survive, he caused you to thrive, right? Nothing can separate you from his love (Romans 8:38-39). But your anxieties can rob you of the security his love brings.


One writer says: 'I was a person who wanted to understand everything because it made me feel I was in control. I was not good at "not knowing". My mind went on and on all day with thoughts like, Why did I act like that? I wonder what so-and-so is thinking about my decision to buy a new car? Why hasn't God answered my prayer yet for a promotion at work? I wonder if I'm doing something wrong, or don't have enough faith? The "whys" in my mind seemed to never cease, and they made me miserable. My mind was home to all sorts of uninvited guests (tormenting thoughts) simply because I never said "no" to them. I wondered, reasoned, worried, fretted, imagined, and was anxious to the point where it left me completely exhausted...God actually showed me that I was addicted to reasoning and that I had to give it up. It didn't happen overnight, but each time I started my mental gymnastics, I said, "I will not worry or try to figure this out," and gradually I was able to trust God with my life.'


Today God wants to be your provider, your guide, your adviser, your protector and your 'all in all'. So stand on his word, which says, 'You have been a strength...to the needy in his distress' (Isaiah 25:4).

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