In the New Testament letter to the church in Philippi we find this encouragement:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4: 6
Over the years I have found this to be one of the most challenging and frustrating verses in the Bible. I have a tendency to be anxious about everything; big things and small things. I started to make a list of all the things I’m anxious about and it got too long for this email! As I watch and listen to people around me it seems as if I’m not alone in my anxiety. We are an anxious people living in an anxious world.
I know that my anxious worrying is useless. Jesus once asked: Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6: 27) In case you missed it the answer is “no!” But worry does more than waste time. What I am discovering is that anxiety is exhausting and takes a toll on me mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I love the way Charles Spurgeon puts it:
Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.
So how do people, like me (and maybe you), who have a tendency to be anxious about everything learn how to not be anxious about anything? I’m convinced (and daily discovering) that the closer I walk with Jesus the less anxious I become. The further I am from Him the more my anxiety grows. So when I am feeling anxious the first question I ask myself is: Have I drifted away from Jesus?
The words of Psalm 139 help draw me back to Him:
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Psalm 139: 23
The anxiety producing challenges you may find yourself facing this week don’t have to empty you of your strength. Ask God to test your anxious thoughts and then with thanksgiving – because He’s a big enough God to handle your challenges – present those anxious thoughts to Him. Then, just maybe and with enough practice, you can begin to live free of worry and not anxious about anything.