Lately I’ve realized I’m feeling anxious nearly all the time.
It’s not like anything horrible has happened. I know families facing crises right now, and ours isn’t one of them. But the daily stresses of winter sickness running through our household, our theater company getting ready for a show, selling one house while getting ready to move into another, and just a lot of changes happening and coming for our family have left me feeling uptight kind of…a lot.
I know that’s not good. What about “be anxious for nothing” and “do not worry”? Yet so often I am, and I do.
Yesterday, during family devotions with Jesus Calling, my gaze fell on the previous day’s reading. It was about trust, and referenced Proverbs 3:5-6. I ran the familiar words through my mind:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
That’s it, I thought—that’s what I need to do.
Yet sometimes I find it hard to both trust and to pray without ceasing—I might equate trust with just putting it in God’s hands and trying to not think about it, while I can turn praying continually about something into a bit of a worry-fest. In wondering where the balance lies, I remembered prayer is supposed to actually be the antidote to anxiety:
“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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7
So then, is prayer supposed to be a kind of trust? Or a way of trusting? Certainly it is supposed to be the way to peace. I suppose it could be, if I were to sometimes exchange my “Oh, please, please, please God” prayers for “I’m putting this in Your hands, asking and trusting You to work.”
What is prayer, really, but talking to God? Our Father, who knows and loves us better than anyone, since He made us? And also listening, the part I so often forget to do. Listening to His whispers to our hearts, but also listening to His word.
I put “anxious” into the search engine on Bible Gateway (yay for 21st century technology!), and here is a sampling of what I got:
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts;
Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you.”
‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
“For [the one who makes the Lord his trust] will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”
That’s worth listening to. :)