I recently received an email that gently reminded me that I had a one-week deadline to submit an article I had promised to write. My stomach fluttered and I hit the panic button. One week may seem like a lot of time to some of you, but I am an overachiever and I like to get things done ahead of time so I don’t have to worry about it. I only had one week, which, to me, is the equivalent of one day. Yikes!
Frantically, I searched my mind for a topic to write about but I came up dry. This was not good. Dread began to take root in my heart as I scoured the web for ideas, my heart sinking deeper into my stomach. Nothing seemed right. My mom suggested that I write about trust, but when I sat down to write, my words where not the quality that I wanted them to be.
Dread gave way to fear as I began to doubt myself and my writing. What I didn’t know, was that by allowing myself to get so hyped up and anxious about this deadline, I was doing the exact opposite of what the Bible commands us in Philippians 4:6-7, “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.”
This verse boldly states that we should not be anxious about anything. Anything! Not about grades, money, your job, deadlines, etc.. Instead, we are to cast our cares upon the Lord as written in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” This verse doesn’t say that we won’t get upset, worried, fearful, and anxious, but it says when you do, you cast those upon God.
Anxiety, fear, and dread get you nowhere, and don’t do you any good. Whatever problem that is causing you to be anxious, you can be certain that your anxiety over the issue will not help. It will only make you miserable. Worrying over my deadline only made me feel depressed, moody, and (wait for it) more anxious than I already was. I love how John Piper addressed anxiety in a sermon that he gave several years back.
“Jesus does not want his followers to be anxious. He does not secure his kingdom by keeping his subjects in a state of worry. On the contrary, according to verse 33, (he is preaching from Matthew 6:24-34) the more primary, the more central his kingship becomes in our lives, the less anxiety we will have. Jesus came, lived, died, rose from the dead, in order that he might reign as King over an anxiety-free people.
So come to Jesus. Forsake all other allegiances. Take your vow of loyalty to the King of kings. And seek first in all you do to make known his kingship over your life. This and this alone is the way to freedom from anxiety.”
When you find yourself allowing dread and anxiety to come creeping into your heart remember these three truths.
- God did not give you a spirit of fear. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 1 Timothy 1:7.
- Jesus doesn’t want you to be anxious. “Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’ ” Mark 5:36.
- God will always provide and give you the strength to do things you didn’t think you would ever have the strength to do on your own. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.
Before we part ways dear reader, I leave you with a wisdom filled acronym to remember when your start to feel anxious.