“Concern or solicitude respecting some event, future or uncertain, which disturbs the mind, and keeps it in a state of painful uneasiness. it expresses more than uneasiness or disturbance, and even more than trouble or solicitude. it usually springs from fear or serious apprehension of evil, and involves a suspense respecting an event, and often, a perplexity of mind, to know how to shape our conduct.” – Webster’s Dictionary 1828.
As a Floridian, there are many anxious minds as we are on the precipice of a deadly storm: hurricane Irma. Many in the Caribbean are without homes, islands were flooded, and the effects of hurricane Harvey have brought loss and suffering to many in Texas and parts of Louisiana. Meanwhile, the northwest portion of the United States is experiencing the opposite side of disaster and is encountering deadly wildfires. Additionally, it is not only the U.S. and Caribbean dealing with disastrous situations; Mexico is being hit with Hurricane Katia and just suffered a devastating surprise from one of the largest hurricanes in their history.
In the midst of all of this, churches have to close their doors, people have to evacuate, and a question is raised that begs an answer: how should I shape my conduct?
Now, many of us would not ask it in this way that Webster does, instead we ask: “Why is this happening?” “What should I do?” “Where should I go?” “What if I lose _______?”
Anxiety affects us all at one point or another. The real question is how am I to respond?
One of my favorite theologians, who struggled greatly with anxiety and depression once said,
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles Spurgeon
In the midst of such trouble and turmoil, the most incredible thing would be for those of us who wish to have the kind of strength that stands in the face of adversity to say, “I will not be anxious.”
Briefly, I’d like to suggest 3 things to remember as you prepare for uncertainty, fight anxiety, and find peace:
- Anxiety is present when prayer is absent:
6 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. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Paul reminds us that not only are we not supposed to be anxious, this is easier said than done and prayer helps us remember that we don’t have to figure everything out on our own.
- Anxiety is the opposite of peace:
When someone has peace about a situation, it intuitively means that they are not anxious. Now, this is not to say that you are without apprehension, but it means you are ultimately calm and focused on the task at hand; sometimes, the best way to steer clear of anxiety is to plan ahead so the pressure doesn’t become unbearable… which leads us to the last point…
- Anxiety begets more anxiety:
Have you ever noticed when you are stressed out, those around you can more easily be brought to the same point as you? I’ve noticed when I’m worried about something and I think, “Oh no! What about this, and this, and THIS!?” Someone will often respond with something like, “Oh no!! I didn’t think about that! What about this and…apocalypse!…the end of the world!” …you get the point. Often our own fear and lack of peace will bring out those same concerns and fears in others.
Sometimes, even when we don’t have everything figured out approaching situations with calmness and sincerity is the best way to figure out what to do.
Ultimately, we must decide how our conduct will be shaped by our thoughts and by our words and how those thoughts and words will impact others. So pray, have peace, and don’t let anxiety control you. Only be concerned with what you can do now, not what will happen next.
If you are still concerned about this topic I would encourage you to:
- Read what Jesus says about anxiety in Matthew 6:25-34.
- Find out why the world has so much going wrong click here.
- Please feel free to contact me with any questions at: DavidB@fbcjax.com
- Read more about anxiety from trusted resources click here.