Monday, March 23, 2020

Anxious Thoughts

          Today's blog is about an emotion that many are feeling right now and maybe for the first time ever in their life, which is anxiety.  Wikipedia describes anxiety as " a feeling of uneasiness and worry, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing. It is often accompanied by muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue and problems in concentration.  Anxiety is closely related to fear, which is a response to a real or perceived immediate threat; anxiety involves the expectation of future threat. People facing anxiety may withdraw from situations which have provoked anxiety in the past."

         The website,, talks about anxiety from a biblical perspective.  "Probably the best-known passage on anxiety comes from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6. Our Lord warns us against being anxious about the various cares of this life. For the child of God, even necessities like food and clothing are nothing to worry about. Using examples from God’s creation, Jesus teaches that our Heavenly Father knows our needs and cares about them. If God takes care of simple things like grass, flowers, and birds, won’t He also care for people who are created in His image? Rather than worry over things we cannot control, we should "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things [the necessities of life] will be added to you". Putting God first is a cure for anxiety."

         "We can count on the Lord to provide for our needs, protect us from evil, guide us, and keep our souls secure for eternity. We may not be able to prevent anxious thoughts from entering our minds, but we can practice the right response." []

Philippians 4:4-9  "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."
         Anxiety can lead to isolation, but that's not part of God's community plan.  "If we want to approach life fully in the way that Jesus Himself modeled, then we will do life together instead of choosing to go it alone. We weren’t made to celebrate victory alone. We weren’t made to suffer hardship alone. We weren’t made to walk through the dailiness of life alone. We weren’t made to be alone with our thoughts. (Are you as happy as I am about that last one? What a terrifying place the mind can be.) We were made to reach out, to connect, to stay tethered. We were made to live together in the light."  [Allen, Jennie. Get Out of Your Head]  We can still interact with family, friends, our church and others through technology resources, despite having to socially distance ourselves.

        Matthew Henry says "Observe, It is our duty and privilege to rejoice in God, and to rejoice in him always; at all times, in all conditions; even when we suffer for him, or are afflicted by him. We must not think the worse of him or of his ways for the hardships we meet with in his service. There is enough in God to furnish us with matter of joy in the worst circumstance on earth. Joy in God is a duty of great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again and again called to it. If good men have not a continual feast, it is their own fault."

        As for myself, I've had anxious thoughts, like everyone else.  Yet, I did not understand the true depth of anxiety on a person until after my fall in 2018 .  I've never been a fearful person by nature, but some of my strong pain medicines had the side effect of anxiety.  It was scary, unnerving, uncomfortable and beyond my ability to control.  My anxiety continued even after I was discharged from the hospital.  Unlike ever before in my life, I not only needed someone in the room with me, I needed them in my line of sight.  I felt ridiculous for having such needs, but I would have sweats, a racing heart rate, and tears of fear without the security of having someone near me.  During the three months of weaning off those harsh pain medicines, my Dad and caregivers slept in my room in a recliner, cot or on an air mattress.  Thankfully, I got off those drugs and my current pain medicine doesn't cause anxiety or fearful thoughts.  I now have more empathy for those who struggle with anxiety for whatever reason.  I know without Jesus, as my Lord and Savior, that my anxiety would be a perplexing and consuming challenge for my everyday life.   Yet, I do have a peace that only God can give...  the comfortable sense of my reconciliation to God and interest in his favor, and the hope of the heavenly blessedness, and enjoyment of God hereafter, This peace will keep me from sinning under my troubles, and from sinking under them; keep me calm and sedate, without discomposure of passion, and with inward satisfaction.  There is no other source of peace and calm, about anything or any circumstance, like Jesus can give.

Isaiah 26:3  "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."