When you read the title of this post... please don't think *that* "a" word. No, the word I'm thinking of is one that gets tossed around quite a bit. A word that some fear.. some live with, some struggle with.. and some may not have any issues with at all. For some people it's embarrassing. For others, they are open about it. For me, it's a reality I have to
deal choose how to handle myself towards everyday.
Anxiety. (Fear.) (Worry.) (Doubt.)
Yep, I have issues with it.. or.. all of the above. Have for a while. Not sure why, don't know if there's a single point in my life that I realized how much I let it take over. I can tell you that I used to have trust issues and I can tell you the exact reason in my life that is there. I can tell you that I'm a person filled with mercy towards others and always have been that way. But the anxiety has slowly crept up on me the last 5 years. I have anxiety over pain in my body.. "why is it there? what is the reason my leg hurts right now? what if I have a blood clot? ... does this headache mean more than just a simple headache? what if there is a tumor or I have an aneurysm?" (Ridiculous, I know!) I worry about large crowds. This is why I've only been Black Friday shopping once... because what if I get trampled. (Crazy thinking. Yes, I'm aware.) Outside of the death of myself or my family members, my two main fears are tornadoes and snakes. I moved from a tornado state (Indiana) to a snake state (Arizona). And poisonous snakes, non the less. Rattlesnakes. Sometimes, I'm afraid to go hiking because I might see a snake, (yes, this has actually happened: my second hike ever in Phoenix, I walked right past a rattlesnake as my husband pointed it out then stopped to take a picture. I sprinted like a Jamaican in the Olympics.)
In the first few months after we moved here to the Phoenix area, Tiffany (one of our founders) and I started a devotional called Breaking Free by Beth Moore and soon after, started Girls of God's Heart as a Facebook and Twitter page. It was challenging for us to go through the devotional, realizing what we still might be holding onto that kept us captive from the relationship we wanted with God. The Breaking Free devotional defined captivity as this:
"A Christian is held captive by anything that hinders the abundant and effective Spirit-filled life God planned for him or her."
Anxiety can sometimes hold me captive. When I question or have doubts, I find myself often running to others first instead of God. I'll call my mom to answer medical questions. I'll question my husband when I should be trusting him, not doubting. God already answers my questions in His Word and I need to run to it and Him first.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the pace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
The notes in my NIV study Bible about this verse are as follows:
Anxious: self centered, counterproductive worry, not legitimate cares or concerns for the spread of the gospel.
In everything, by prayer:
Anxiety and prayer are two great opposing forces in Christian experience.
Thanksgiving: the antidote to worry (along with prayer and petition)
Peace of God: to merely a psychological state of mind, but an inner tranquility based on peace with God - the peaceful state of those whose sins are forgiven. Peace is the opposite of anxiety. It is the tranquility that comes when believers commit all their cares to God in prayer and worry about them no more.
Read those notes a few times. Anxiousness is self centered. Anxiousness is counterproductive worry. Anxiety and prayer are two great opposing forces. Thanksgiving, prayer, and asking God for help = cure for anxiety.
Commit your cares to God and worry about them NO MORE.
AMEN. AMEN. AMEN.