Just seeing that word…’anxiety’…it makes my heart beat just a tad bit faster. She (“anxiety”…and yes, it’s a she in my head) has been my nemesis, my arch-enemy, my Lex Luthor. One of my “gifts” is being able to vision and see down the road a good little ways. The shadow side of that is when I don’t see God on that potential horizon. Or, worse yet, I see God but He’s either too weak to help, or has a not-so-pleasant destination in store for me. And that ticks me off. And it makes me anxious.
So what is this so called “anxiety”? Here’s the main text I always gravitate toward:
…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I’ve “used” this passage over and over, trying to somehow achieve this elusive “peace” that I want so bad. But what IS anxiety?
As I dug down deep, I learned that anxiety isn’t that angst in my gut, but it (she) literally means “to be divided”. The actual problem is that I see down the road and I have a divided faith. On the one hand I believe that God is: 1) Present and there to help, 2) Wise, knowing how to help, 3) Loving, wanting to help, and 4) Powerful, able to help. But I ALSO don’t believe that. I do. And I don’t.
So what do we do about it? Paul tells the Philippians, who were facing real persecution and danger, to look up at Jesus rather than forward and “around” Jesus. To be “thankful” as we look back and see that throughout all of history God has always, always and always been faithful to bring his people through the desert. Not always how they might want to come through. But always through.
And this only comes in relationship. We can’t just USE God to have him make us feel better. It needs to be the organic back and forth of relationship as we learn that we can truly trust him.
Don’t take away my “man card”, but you can see this hopeful love in one of my favorite songs “Come What May” in Moulin Rouge.
Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place
Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace
Suddenly my life doesn´t seem such a waste
It all revolves around you
And there´s no mountain too high
No river too wide
Sing out this song I´ll be there by your side
Storm clouds may gather
And stars may collide
But I love you until the end of time