The Comfort that Covers Anxiety
You see them everywhere.
All over your social media feed, in fancy calligraphy art, within watercolor paintings; they’re the encouraging phrases like, “You are enough”, “You got this”, “If you believe in yourself anything is possible” — but no matter how much word art you have posted on your social feed or walls at home, it never seems to replace those deep, nagging anxious thoughts that creep into your mind.
You know those thoughts – the ones that say you will never have what it takes for that promotion, be attractive enough for others, or likable enough to be accepted. Those thoughts are the birthplace of anxiety.
For me, when I am in a moment of high anxiety, I’ve learned to search for the root cause of my aching fear. Without fail, it almost always comes down to the fear of not being good enough or not being accepted. I think to myself, “If only I could be more outgoing, a better strategist, or just smarter, I can be enough. I will feel the confidence and acceptance that I crave.”
But that’s not the case.
What causes the anxiety is that I think I can handle the situation better than God, or because I’m striving for the approval of others instead of God’s. This is the very definition of pride. In 1 Peter 5:6-7, Peter tells us to “cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you.” But right before that, tells us this – “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
We cannot hand over our anxious thoughts to God if we are still proudly trying to fix it on our own.
Instead of having the mindset of “you’ve got this,” Peter is telling us to cast all of our cares on Christ. Why is he telling us this? Because Jesus proved how much He cares for us by dying on the cross for us while we were still sinners. He died for us when we were still thinking “I’ve got this, I just need to believe in myself,” when we were still desperately trying to be perfect, which only leads to — you guessed it — worry and anxiety.
The answer to overcoming fear and anxiety isn’t building up enough confidence to conquer the anxious thoughts you’re struggling with, but rather submitting yourself to the gospel – to our loving and caring God who will convert your worries into a beautiful portrait of His perfect plan for you.
When the Coronavirus pandemic began, many people who had never dealt with anxiety before started experiencing it for the very first time. For my family and I, anxiety isn’t new, we’ve had our fair share of this rodeo. One passage that we clung to was Psalm 46, specifically the first three verses:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
— Psalm 46:1-3
The psalmist is telling us that God is our strength in troubled times – not just that He gives us the strength, but he is the strength. It’s His presence that is our strength. Everything could be going wrong and you may feel like you’ve lost control of the situation, but God is still our refuge and still our strength in these very times. Because of our faith in Christ, we must let go of these fears and let God do His work in us.
What are some fear and anxious thoughts that you need to surrender to God today? Prayerfully run to the gospel and hand them over to our Father and humbly release them so God can take over.
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