When You Feel Anxiety

This post is part of a series exploring how busy people feel and what we can do with those feelings. To see the first post in the series, click here.

Anxiety. It means you’re not at shalom, not at full peace . That you’ve got this generalized fear that something will go wrong and that it will affect you negatively. Anxiety can be debilitating. It can also be a gift, a reminder for you to seek God. Anxiety reminds you that you’re trying to deal with your worries by yourself.

Cast all your anxiety on God

Photo by Lel4nd. Used in accordance with Creative Commons.

As a busy person, you sure have a lot you could worry about. And in fact you do worry about those things. The problem is when you internalize your worries, when you obsess about them, when they dominate your thoughts and you start believing that you must deal with them on your own. That you are solely responsible for these issues.

First Peter 5:6-7 is instructive here. Many of you are familiar with 5:7 – “Cast all your cares on Him because he cares for you.” Some translations even say “Cast all your anxieties,” so this verse is an even better fit. Now, what you need to know is that 5:6 and 5:7 are linked. The command to “humble yourself under the mighty hand of God” and the command to “cast all your cares on Him” are connected. They’re not two separate commands that have nothing to do with each other. In fact, 5:7 is how you do 5:6. You become humbled under God’s mighty hand by casting all your anxieties on Him, knowing that He cares for you.

The image here is that of a parent and a young child. You are to completely trust your heavenly Father’s will for your life. Now, that doesn’t mean you do it silently and blindly. Just like a little child, you tell your heavenly Father everything that’s on your heart. Just like a little child does: “Will you come pick me up?” “Are we there yet?” “I’m tired!” “Will you catch me at the bottom of the slide?” “I want that!” Every one of these is a care, concern, or anxiety. And every one of these, when expressed to a loving and compassionate parent, will eventually lead to a place of greater humility and peace.

To what extent can you tell God everything you’re concerned and anxious about, just like that little child? I encourage you to do it. God is indeed loving and compassionate. He will bring you more peace, not more anxiety. To make this conversation with God more real, either do it aloud or write it down. Or do both. Using your body will help you experience the truth of God’s response more clearly.

Another idea is to regularly write down whatever you’re worried or anxious about on a piece of paper, then crumple it up and literally “cast” it at God. Let your action say that you’re giving it to Him and not keeping . And don’t go picking it up again, unless it’s to throw it in the trash! (Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t be responsible in the situation. It just means that your self-worth is not longer staked to it and that you’re not the only one responsible.)

A third idea is to write the list and give it to a trusted friend who represents God by proxy. He or she can then say to you, “What are you doing picking those anxieties back up again?”, this mirroring God’s loving care (1 Pet 5:7) to you.

May it be that when you tend to your anxieties, that you find that they point you to God. And in God, may you find shalom.

Question: What anxieties can you cast on God right now?

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