“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:25-26
Today I’m going to talk about a subject that most people hate dealing with: anxiety. I hate it. You hate it. No one enjoys anxiety! Whether it’s the little kid anxiously waiting to see what is wrapped inside his birthday present, the girl hoping for the acceptance letter into her dream college, or the middle-aged man wondering if the PET scan will show if the cancer has spread again, everyone goes through anxiety in wide spectrum.
A lot of people in the past have come up to me and asked me why I never seem stressed out. If that is what is being portrayed, then that is ALL on God. He gives me a peace that passes all understanding. I’ll be honest. There are definitely days where I feel overwhelmed by what I have to complete by the end of certain weeks, and I especially hit my wit’s end during finals. The funny thing is that there is no reason to be anxious. God has helped me in every situation, and He has most definitely rescued me from stickier and more dangerous situations.
No matter how many times God comes through for us, we still feel anxious. We make plans. We cushion ourselves with “insurance”. Sometimes we are no better than the man who built up storehouses for his crops. Why do we do that?
I think we crave control. Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you do it every single day. We show control by our routines, by our immaculate lists and errands, and by our 5-year plans. That control that we imagine to have is a complete farce.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:13-14
We don’t have anything in control. As great as your driving skills might be, the fact that you were able to drive from point A to point B alive is completely by the grace of God. As healthy as someone lives, that person could just die instantly of a heart attack. Out of all the chain smokers of the world, maybe your young healthy friend is the one who ends up with cancer. Sometimes crap just happens, and life straight up sucks! (I’m being very nice and PG-rated with those words.)
If my words are too depressing and harsh, I am sorry. I really don’t want to seem like a “Debbie Downer”, but welcome to life. It is equally heartbreaking and somber as it is lovely and miraculous. Like I mentioned last week, everything about life and this world is unpredictable. The only constant is God and His promises. In light of all that I’ve said, where does that leave us? The last thing should be fearful or anxious.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
If you want to know how I deal with the stress of living in this world, I’ll tell you. I DON’T. My shoulders are too narrow and weak to do that. Whether it’s as small as completing an assignment or “big” as making a diagnosis, I have to hand it over to God, and trust that He will see me through just as Paul did even while he was a prisoner for his faith. The only way I know to keep putting one foot in front of the other is to fully depend on God because He in my only and my everything.
Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. 2 Timothy 1:11-12
There are plenty of times when I lose sight of God’s truth, and I immediately feel that anxiety creeping up as soon as I attempt to shoulder that burden of worry. If you are in a similar situation right now, just let it go. [Yes, that may or may not be a Frozen reference.] Stop worrying yourself sick over something that you have absolutely no control over, and start trusting the ONLY One who has supreme rule over all!
Does that mean that you shouldn’t bother planning for graduation next year, the summer mission trip to Guatemal this summer, or the dream of having children one day? Not at all! Dreams and goals are wonderful things to hope for, but you have to hold them with open hands. (Yeah, that one is really hard to do.)
I’m sure many have heard of the Latin phrase “carpe diem”, but not many know that the entire phrase says, “Carpe diem quam minimum credula poster” which means “Seize the day, but put very little trust in tomorrow.” I love what Jesus had to say about this:
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34
I have my own paraphrased version that I sometimes tell people, “Don’t borrow from tomorrow, when you still have today.” Stop worrying because He will always carry you through. Just take life one day at a time, and enjoy the present.