“Mom if you lived up here, you would worry about me a lot more.”
These are the words that came from my daughter after she informed me that she walks home alone at eleven o’clock at night. I promised myself that when she turned 18 I would stop worrying about her, and now that she is living seven hours from home and going to college, to be honest I don’t want to hear things that make me worry.
What we don’t know won’t hurt us. The only thing is, it seems that when we don’t have anything real to worry about our minds reach out even further to find something worth losing sleep over. Our anxiety skips from one thing to the next like pigeons picking up crumbs in an outdoor café.
The first time the word “afraid” appears in the Bible is in Genesis after the fall of mankind. God found Adam and Eve hiding and the first sentence out of Adam’s mouth is “…I was afraid…” Genesis 3:10 Before this unfortunate event, Adam had already named all the animals and must have had a blast making up cool words like elephant and platypus. Genesis2:19 I can just imagine God thinking, “Hum, vocabulary builder, afraid, where did that word come from?”
That is a good question. It seems like all the emotions we have are evidence that we have been created in the image of God. God feels jealousy, love, anger, and compassion, just like us. There is only one emotion that God does not feel and that is fear. It is very clear in scripture that God fears no one. Fear is the only emotion that we possess which is uniquely human. It is evidence of the fall and our need for a redeemer. This perception takes anxiety out of the psychological realm and places it under spiritual consideration.
I like reading self-help advice on dealing with anxiety. It seems that we can somehow extricate ourselves from anxiety just by thinking differently about the situation. As if we can do some mental surgery like removing a tumor, we just take it out and voila’ no anxiety.
However, anxiety has a life of its own and strong desire to survive. It seems to disappear for a while, then morphs into a different form and comes back even stronger until eventually we end up admitting that we have been reduced to being afraid of being afraid.
I draw a parallel to the parable Christ told of a demon that was cast out of a house. Matt. 12:43-45 After wandering around awhile, the demon realized that the house was empty, so he returned to the house with a bunch of his demon buddies. Yay-fun! A little demon party! Just like demons, the only way to keep anxiety away is to push it out with something else, like the love of God.
God is love, perfect love, and perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:8 Therefore the only way to get rid of anxiety is to REPLACE it with the love of God. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, living stones. 1 Peter 2:5 & 1 Cor. 6:19
We are already filled with the perfect love of God as we grow in realization of this we allow that love to truly fill us and cast out our anxiety.
Memorize these verses. Keep them close to your heart and mind and the next time anxiety starts to creep in, REPLACE with the words from Paul….
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY!