Anxiety (October 8, 2012)

…Opening To…

We are as sure to be in trouble as the sparks fly upward, but we will also be “in Christ,” as [Paul] puts it. Ultimately, not even sorrow, loss, death can get at us there. (Frederick Buechner)

…Listening In…

“Humble yourselves under God’s power so that he may raise you up in the last day. 7 Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7; context)

…Filling Up…

This week, we are going to start with anxiety, make a few pit stops along the way, and end up at hope. I’m telling you this now, by the way, so that you don’t think this whole week is a downer after reading today and tomorrow’s devos and thus give up before the good stuff.

I have a feeling that we have all experienced anxiety of one kind or another – about an upcoming test, or asking our crush to homecoming, or whether or not the check we used to pay for groceries will bounce. These anxieties are all too real, but the good thing about them is they go away after the test, the proposal, and the bank statement have all come and gone. Maybe you passed the test, got shot down by your crush, and didn’t bounce the check – hey, two out of three ain’t bad. Whether or not the outcomes favored you, they are still over and there’s no longer a reason to be anxious. Of course, until the next thing comes up. Prom?

But these small, time-bounded anxieties fit into a larger framework, a meta-anxiety, if you will, which is more a way to look at existence rather than a worry about a particular upcoming event. This is the kind of anxiety that we begin with this week: Anxiety with a capital “A.” As a worldview, anxiety can lead to lots of bad stuff: high blood pressure, stress eating, worry-lines.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to figure out where anxiety comes from so we can attack it at it’s source and figure out how to slide into a different worldview. So here’s my current definition: Anxiety happens when you realize you don’t control the future but have yet to stop trying.

It’s that simple. Anxiety exists in the present because of the combination of our fears about the vast unknown future spread in front of us and our desire to control what will never really be in our grasp. It’s to this fear that we turn tomorrow. But don’t be too anxious. We’ll get to the good stuff soon.

…Praying For…

Dear God, you are the antidote for anxiety, but I so rarely take advantage of such medicine. Help me to notice when I am anxious and at those times return to you. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, thankful that you are always and forever inviting me to walk the paths of trust and hope.

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