A letter from the IRS claims space in your mailbox.
The doctor orders more tests but is light on details or prognosis.
Your boss hints that your performance might not be measuring up.
Chances are just the suggestion of any one of these scenarios is enough to make your stomach churn and your mind go into overdrive. The symptom on everyone’s list these days is anxiety. The good news is that anxiety is nothing new, and it’s not a mystery to God!
I am praying through the psalms right now and have been surprised at how many of them positively bristle with symptoms and signs of fear, uncertainty, and even anger! Likely the best known example comes from David’s pen:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;Psalm 139:23-24
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.”
What God Wants You to Know About Anxiety
Whether your anxiety is chronic and clinical or situational and seasonal, it comes as no surprise to God. Like David, you can acknowledge God’s omniscience, open your soul and your will to his searching and compassionate eyes, and receive his partnership in whatever situation is triggering your anxiety.
Was David’s anxiety a sin? We honestly don’t know the context of Psalm 139, although it certainly doesn’t sound like the writing of David the shepherd boy. More likely, he is a grown man remembering God’s words to Samuel: “The Lord looks at the heart” and marveling that God knew him so thoroughly.
We do see clearly here that David did not come to God in shame, and you don’t need to either. Scripture exhorts us to trust God, to banish worry in faith. Whenever I refuse to trust God’s providential care, I step into sin. My pride tells me that I can somehow worry my way to a better and faster solution than the one God has in mind on his timeline.
Whether your own anxiety is sinful depends on your circumstances and your own mental health. It’s crucial that believers avoid stepping into the role of the Holy Spirit in connecting the anxiety of others to sin when we can’t possibly know the whole situation.
When I refuse to trust God’s providential care, I step into sin. My pride tells me that I can somehow worry my way to a better and faster solution than the one God has in mind on his timeline.Tweet
What God Wants You to Do About Your Anxiety
Follow David’s lead!
Invite God to search your heart, to root out sinful motives and the insidious desire to control every stray atom. Know for a fact that there’s no one who gets through life without “being grieved by various trials” (I Peter 1:6). Take an honest assessment of your motives and ask God to reveal any root of doubt or faithlessness that might be triggering anxiety. If you believe you are suffering from clinical anxiety, take grace for that and seek the advice and help of a counselor or a physician.
On the days when I’m convinced that I’m God’s Northeast Representative in Charge of All Things, anxiety is my unwelcome companion. Habits of holiness are my safety net, because the truth is, when we’re weak, we fall into our habits.
Am I making a practice of allowing worry to find its way to prayer? Always, I find myself returning to the words of Paul Miller in A Praying Life: “Instead of trying to suppress anxiety – to manage it or smother it with pleasure – we can turn our anxiety toward God. When we do that, we find that we have slipped into continuous praying.”
Have I been sticking close to the Truth of God’s Word, or am I filling my brain with negative messages of my own design?
Is there enough margin in my day for God to speak into, or am I churning anxiety into my bones with constant activity, incessant noise, and chronic comparison?
I invite you to pause in this moment, to pray the words of Psalm 139:23-24 in faith that God is waiting to meet with you, even in the midst of your anxious heart. You may feel as if all he will find in your heart is anxiety, and if that’s the case, offer it. Make of your anxiety an offering to God. He will receive it and you with love.
Holding you in the light,
This the last post in which I’ll be offering the free Prayer Warrior Challenge Printable. Commit to praying scripture for your children every single day as one way to manage and dispel anxiety.
On the days when I’m convinced that I’m God’s Northeast Representative in Charge of All Things, anxiety is my unwelcome companion.Tweet
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