It’s time to talk about anxiety. I know, it’s not a sexy subject. It’s not proper, or of-the-moment, or polite conversation. And I’m broadcasting from the great land of Canada, where polite is our middle name. But Beloved, it’s time. Anxiety is the thing that God wants to talk about right now. It’s what He has His finger on, what He’s fed up with and bringing hope to. Anxiety’s day is over.
This might not be your particular struggle in life, but I’d bet that it is for someone close to you, even if they’d never let you see it. It’s the most common mental illness in our society with some estimates that 40% of the population experiences it at some point in their life. Anxiety comes in varying degrees and specialties, and encompasses things like panic attacks, ocd, constant worry and dread, irrational fears, relentless flashbacks and sleep disorders. Anxiety has immense effects on the body – if you’ve ever experienced it you know how it takes a toll on you. It’ll even make you more sensitive to smells – anxiety literally makes everything stink. Scientists are discovering a lot of connections right now between anxiety and various diseases, and we’re just scratching the surface of this monster.
Another thing you need to understand about anxiety is that it’s never alone. It always partners with something, whether that’s fear, depression or anger. It opens the door to all kinds of things that have no business in the life of a child of God. It starts small too, for most people it’s imperceptible at first. I mean, everybody worries. We all have fears that we struggle with and things we dread. But there’s a tipping point, where anxiety gets it’s foot in the door and there’s nothing polite about it. You might have a sudden panic attack with no idea why you’re panicking. You could start avoiding perfectly safe circumstances because of an intense fear that you can’t articulate. When you’re able to recognize anxiety in your life, know that it is often a sign that something else is wrong.
Now beloved, here’s the secret; anxiety loves being a secret. It’s favourite thing is when it gets to stay hidden. You see, it wants to bring shame in the door too, because that will for sure allow it to stay longer. Anxiety will ask you to control it, convincing you you have a choice and laughing when you fail yet again. This monster feeds on control, and it multiplies in the dark.
At it’s roots, anxiety is the absence of peace. The absence of the Presence of God. I’m not proposing a trite solution here, and I highly encourage anyone facing this struggle to find a good biblical counsellor to walk through this with. What I am giving you today is God’s Word on the subject. He has His eyes on you, and He hasn’t missed a moment. He’s seen it all and He is opening the prison doors for you.
Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Read that again. If its too familiar, if it doesn’t hit you, read it slowly until it does. What God is giving us here, is our alternative to anxiety. When it hits, in whatever confusing form it does for you, run to God. Make your request to Him. I don’t know what that is for you, and God doesn’t put any limits on it. Whatever your request is, just bring it to Him. He’ll trade it for peace. He’s offering to take your burden, your anxiety, and give you His peace that surpasses all understanding to stay guard against another attack. That’s the opposite of confusion. This is the work of an upside down Kingdom, a God who freely gives.
Wouldn’t it be great if this thing that has stolen from you, was brought into the light? What if this anxiety that was intent on hiding and opening the door to other ills was the very thing that drove you deeper into the heart of God? Your Father has never ever put anxiety in your path, but He will absolutely redeem it to tell His story in your life. He’ll take this secret shame and use it to expose His love for you, His limitless grace and perfect peace.
The promises of God are not to be taken lightly. This exchange of peace for anxiety is not conditional, or temporary, or only for the elite. It’s for you. Now. Today and for all your days. Today is the day you bring your anxiety into the light, and run to God with it. Tell someone you trust. Find a biblical counsellor. Write Phillipians 4:6-7 on your hand and on your heart. Pour over the scriptures and get Jesus voice in your head.
I’ll leave you with this scripture. Anxiety’s day is done, Beloved. Your freedom is here.
Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you. And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.