Absolutely everyone has to navigate anxiety in their lives. This is particularly true during challenging times. Anxiety is a normal human emotion reacting to current or potential circumstances that are frightening. It is very unhealthy, however, to remain entrenched in this mental fear for long periods of time. Learning to come back to an experience of joy and peace when you are afraid is a skill that you can build through relationship with others who have learned to calm themselves.
One example of such a person was Paul of Tarsus. He was an up-and-coming religious teacher who had a shocking turn around in his life, and became one of the first Christian missionaries. Paul faced an intense amount of suffering because of his commitment to Jesus. From a Roman prison cell, Paul wrote to the fellowship of Jesus-followers he started in first century Macedonia,
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 6 – 7)
Wouldn’t it be great to know the kind of peace that “surpasses every thought?” This profound peace comes from trusting God. If you trust God, you can share your suffering with Him, and know that He sees what is going on, He hears what you are sharing, He understands what you are going through, He cares about you, and He is already at work even in this situation you are facing right now (Jim Wilder, Joy in the Journey).
Every relationship is grown through appreciation and gratitude. This is true of a relationship with God as well. A relationship with God is started by recognizing your need of Him, admitting your own responsibility in your broken relationship with Him, and receiving the forgiveness He offers you through the grace Jesus provides by His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Once this trusting relationship with God has started, it is developed through “thanksgiving.” As you are grateful for all of the benefits God brings into your life, you begin to realize that He is trustworthy to deal with the situation you are now facing.
Concerning eliminating worry in our lives, our Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, teaches his followers,
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6: 33 – 34)
Worry is a kind of anxiety that tries to foresee problems, and becomes increasingly frantic as the problems cannot be solved before they happen. Life is all about allowing God to rule in our lives now, and becoming the kind of people He desires for us to become. If relationship with God in the present becomes the focus of our lives, then we can trust that God is more than competent to deal with whatever we are facing, and that He is trustworthy to help us through all of our circumstances in the future.
Please check out this video presentation that gives a more complete picture of how the Bible speaks to our experience of fear.
If you are interested learning more about how to live a life that appropriately processes anxiety, we encourage you to check out our Connection Service sometime, either online at facebook.com/chicagolandcc/live on Sundays at 10AM, or socially distanced here in person at 836 W. Aldine on Sundays at 11AM. May you find the peace you are looking for in following Jesus of Nazareth.