A Devotional by Jessica Cross
Anxiety. Something that everyone struggles with. It is a big word for worry. I do not know of anyone who has not struggled with anxiety to some extent.
For me, I have struggled with this for years and still do.
I worry about almost everything.
I worry about what others will think of my choices.
I worry about how well I am doing in my classes.
I worry about if I’ll be able to finish all my work in time.
I even worry about what I’ll be doing next year.
I continually have to turn to God for help. Knowing that everyone gets anxious isn’t an excuse to just let it be. There is something we can do about, no matter how anxious we are.
Anxiety means “distress or uneasiness or mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune” (dictionary.com). This can be in any capacity. You might have anxiety over what you look like or what kind of clothes you wear. You might be worried about what your future holds. You might even be worried about what tomorrow will bring. You can be anxious about anything.
There are many examples of anxiety throughout the Bible. One that really sticks out to me is in Daniel 2. Turn there and read the chapter. This chapter talks about King Nebuchadnezzar and his dreams. He had been having very strange dreams and wanted them interpreted. In verse 3, the king says, “I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to understand.” The king needed peace, not only did he need peace, but he needed God as well. In 1 Samuel 9, it talks about the rise of Saul. Specifically in verse 5, Saul said to his servant, “Come and let us return. Or else my father will cease to be concerned about the donkeys and will become anxious for us.”
When we are anxious, we have to give it to God. And trust me, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You have to make yourself vulnerable and truly rest in God for His peace. I know that breaking yourself down and become vulnerable and humbling yourself is a scary and hard thing to do.
For me, when I find myself becoming anxious, I make myself turn to God’s word. I search out truths. Spending time with God is the only way to get rid of anxiety.
The first passage we will be looking at is Matthew 6:25-34, turn there with me.
In this passage, Jesus is speaking about dealing with anxiety. In verse 25 He says, “Do not be worried about your life.” He goes on telling us not to worry about what we will eat or drink. He asks a very good question. At the end of verse 25 He says, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Immediately, makes us think and shifts the focus off of ourselves and make us think what life is about. This life is about serving others, sharing the Gospel, and bringing God the glory. This life is not about us. When we become anxious, we are being selfish because we are only thinking about ourselves.
In verses 26-30, Jesus gives us examples of how God provides for the animals of this earth and that the animals do not worry. In the end of verse 30, Jesus says, “You of little faith! Do not worry then saying, ‘what will we eat?’ or ‘what will we drink?’ or ‘what will we wear?’” This verse always hits me hard. Jesus says we have little faith. He is entirely right, when we are so focused on ourselves and only concerned for us, we are not placing our faith in Jesus, and we are relying on our own strength. We cannot do this because we know that we cannot do anything without God.
In verses 32, Jesus talks about God. He tells us that the Father knows all the things we need. We need to rest in that and be patient for what God has in store for us. At the end of this chapter, verses 33-34, Jesus gives us a command. He says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Jesus tells us to seek out God, His righteousness, and His kingdom. He tells us not to worry for tomorrow. Jesus tells us to take each day at a time, because each has enough trouble, you do not need more than one day on you.
Now, since we know about anxiety and we know what to do with it, let’s look at some other passages.
Go to Philippians 4:6-7. In this passage, we see that we are to be anxious about nothing, but lift up prayers to God. He hears our prayers, we just need to make our requests known. We are told we will be given peace that is incomprehensible. We are to guard our hearts and minds in Christ. Turn now to 1 Peter 5:7. These two verses go together really well. In this verse the author is talking about casting all your anxiety or cares upon God. We are told that God cares for us. We are to give it all to God.
Turn now with me to Jeremiah 16:7-8. This passage talks about us being like a tree by water. It extends its roots by the water and does not fear the heat. It doesn’t cease to yield fruit nor does it worry about what the weather may bring.
In Psalm 38:17-18, the author is talking about healing. He says that his is prepared to fall with his sorrow in front of him. He is scared to confess, and is full of anxiety because of his sin. Sin is a trap and the only way out is to confess. This is the only way to have peace. I think this is where a lot of us are at. We know that we have sinned or failed in some way and are ready to fall. We don’t want to confess because we don’t like becoming vulnerable. We create anxiety for ourselves over simple things that can be confessed.
There is no sin too big that you can’t confess and no sin too big that God won’t forgive. Jesus paid it all, we are to rest in that assurance.
I pray that you are continually resting in God. Walk with Him.