by Ben Swanson
As a person who suffers with an anxiety disorder, discerning between the illness and a lack of faith proves difficult.
There are times when I feel like nothing is right, everything bad will happen, nothing is stable, and life is a waste. I worry about every little thing and everything is life or death – even dinner plans…especially dinner plans. Sometimes this feeling is my brain playing tricks on me – a chemical reality that I experience as anxiety. It seems that no amount of “right thinking” or “faith” can change the feeling. Only time enables it to pass.
Other times I’m anxious because I’m not abandoned to Jesus. I haven’t surrendered everything to him. I’ve chosen to remain in charge of my life, my family, and “my” church. Anxiety is inevitable when we don’t trust Jesus. Unease happens when we try to be the god of our lives and the people around us.
Instead of trying to determine where the anxiety comes from, I’ve decided to try to focus on what I can do. In a word, I can abandon myself to Jesus.
Oswald Chambers reminded me of this in his May 23rd devotional. (You can read his daily devotional on utmost.org. I HIGHLY recommend it!)
“…do not worry about your life…” Don’t take the pressure of your provision upon yourself. It is not only wrong to worry, it is unbelief; worrying means we do not believe that God can look after the practical details of our lives, and it is never anything but those details that worry us.
Have you ever noticed what Jesus said would choke the Word He puts in us? Is it the devil? No – “the cares of this world” (Matthew 13:22). It is always our little worries. We say, “I will not trust when I cannot see” – and that is where unbelief begins. The only cure for unbelief is obedience to the Spirit.
The greatest word of Jesus to His disciples is abandon.”
Our abandon to Jesus is not reckless. Our abandonment to Jesus is thoughtful and reasonable. He is better at leading our lives than we are. He can sort out the mess of my calendar, my email inbox, and this house project better than I can.
When we pray, “Thy will be done,” and truly yield everything to Jesus, we will find peace. We will lose anxiety and gain comfort and confidence.
Well, not always… God isn’t a vending machine. BUT, I can testify that the best odds of having peace is abandoning myself – this day – to Jesus.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 4:6-7