Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Be Anxious For Nothing…
These 4 words could be enough to make or break your stride mid-step. I’m going to cut this statement in half and focus on the inevitable path-of-logic that ensues my brain…
Whew… if I could fully articulate how much of an expert I am at this simple statement.
Be anxious. I’ve got that covered. Maybe it’s the type A (for Anxious), perfectionist, detail oriented, OCD mentality that I’ve inherited, more or less from my father’s side? Or maybe it’s just the infinite possibilities from within my imagination take precedent when it comes to my thinking? [#catastrophizing] Either way, it is the thorn in my flesh, crippling my every step [almost as much as my new fitness guru AJ].
Honestly, I don’t know when the worrying began, but I know that worry is one of the old friends from my past. You know the ones… Who shared some good and bad times, but always seemed to get you in trouble? Ya that’s the one. Despite my distain, I know her very well. She accompanies me as I approach every decision, every problem, every relationship, every risk, every plan… every day.
[I guess you could say she’s that friend that calls too many times and you’re not in a place where you feel like talking to her but you feel bad that she has no one else to talk to…] That sucks to say. But it’s the truth.
Checking is a term used as a symptom to general anxiety. A person who may often check to make sure the car is locked, or return back home fearing that the stove was left on from mornings eggs, or changes passwords frequently to be sure that their accounts are secure… These people (and I) are checkers, and just like any game, I came to win.
I frankly don’t know when my checking got out of order. But before I knew it, my worries and anxieties overly consumed my life. Overthinking and self-criticism crippl(ed) me in social settings with not only strangers, but friends I’ve known my whole life. As I’ve told my students many times, English is my second language… dance is my first. More frequently I can communicate the depths of my soul through movement, long before I can articulate them clearly with my words. So it’s no surprise that, when worrying about a situation, the dialogue occurring in my head is not easily resolved, but instead continues to churn like butter or broken record, over and over again.
Yup I got that.
Lately I’ve been doing my best to take care of my anxieties more aggressively. The summer is a teacher’s playground to rebuild what’s been lost in the grueling school year. I desperately needed this summer to rebuild and I took it upon myself to focus on filling the gaps in my thinking in regards to my everyday life and my relationships. But still even with a clearer perspective, I struggled with keeping my anxiety under control. Though I had become hyper aware of its existence, I struggled to maintain a clear understanding of what was truth and what was untruth. Leading up to this weekend, I was consumed with negative thoughts bombarding my mind. I did my part to not keep those thoughts to myself. I spoke to people that I know, love and trust to try to conceptually get to the bottom of those thoughts. After much discussions (and much shared wisdom), I really felt more equipped to break down the barriers that have entrapped my mind and kept me bound by the bondage of anxiety. Still, even with the motivation, I stood looking at the feat before me and felt as if I lacked the tools necessary in order to accomplish the task at hand. Though therapy is something I’ve stood behind, maintaining relationships with mentors and accountability, and even having to resort to medication to regulate the imbalances within me, I still felt ill-equipped to tackle this beast that is been present in my life for so long.
Let’s just brew on that for a minute.
How on earth can you be anxious for nothing?
These four words have haunted me for most of my life. That sounds super overdramatic but I’m speaking the truth or at least MY truth, from my own experience. It seems the way of Christ is perplexed with juxtapositions and oxymorons if you will. What seems naturally impossible for us, is then supernaturally asked of us to pursue and acquire as everyday ways of life.
The last shall be first [Matthew 20:16]… That one definitely came in handy with two hungry brothers, getting in line for dinner. Being at the back of the line gave me free pass to jump in front! LOL.
But really, what does nothingness truly encompass? Realistically speaking I have to first decipher what makes me anxious.
- Financial stability.
- Companionship (or lack thereof).
- Maturing in wisdom of Christ.
- Fully maturing in the destiny and purposes of Christ for my life.
- Fear of being unknown.
- Division and discord in my family.
- Dissatisfaction with the injustices in this world.
- Lack of understanding of hard times.
- Not understanding the darkest places in my heart or why I have had so much pain.
- Holding the pain of others.
This one I really struggle with… My heart aches for others more than I truly realize. I find myself bearing the burden that I know I was never meant to carry. And yet I know that that is part of the calling God has given to me. …To mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. Like Hannah, I intercede with moanings and groaning, but my understanding of the depth of intercession has been skewed by the context of clinical anxiety and depression. I would never say that I have not struggled from these things, but I definitely understand more and more each day that these struggles are carnal, and my spirit man has experienced different aspects of the broken heart of God. If I cry for the wounded and murdered individuals scattered around the world due to injustice, how much more does God ache for that brokenness in humanity? If I am filled with so much love for the wisdom, knowledge and guidance of mentors, pastors and friends around me, how much more is God delighted in their trustworthiness and faith?
So rather than looking at what I should worry about, how about I seek to see what God is revealing within me. The truth is I have no control over the things that are around me, I only have control over how I choose to see it.
Be anxious for no thing.
If compassion and empathy are gifts that Christ has given to me, then what I feel is only a glimpse of what He feels for His people and His creation. How much more does He plan to take care of the hurting, the wounded, the broken? And if it means He is giving me this heart just so I can be the hands and feet of His love to others, then what better way to walk this road and share that love with you?
Thoughts of worry and stress were never meant to be held within us. In fact anxiety is a trigger meant to help us. When we have worry or thoughts of danger or concerns, ARISE, for power is attained when we give those concerns to God. Be anxious for nothing, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light.
And only then will we find true peace that surpasses all understanding.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
#BeAnxiousForNothing #ThinkOnIt #FindPeace
p.s. Stay Tuned for Pt. II