Did you know in America today, anxiety disorder affects 18% of the adult population? According to the National Institute for Mental Health, approximately 40 million people between the ages of 18-54 suffer from some sort of anxiety. These numbers do not account for those who do not seek help from a medical professional, so it is highly likely those numbers are even higher.
Anxiety can refer to a minor discomfort in day to day activities or a more severe diagnosed disorder. Both lead to nervousness or worry in some regard. Anxiety in day to day activities can range from anything like a job interview to paying the bills, while more severe diagnosed disorders are like: Phobias, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Panic Disorder. Whether major or minor, anxiety can make daily life decisions and encounters a serious challenge. Many who struggle with their anxiety may cope by engaging in the use of drugs and alcohol, which of course creates other problems.
In Matthew chapters 5-7, Jesus addresses a crowd with His famous “Sermon on the Mount.” These two chapters are filled with some of the richest, profoundly treasured words of Jesus we have recorded during His life on earth.
A section in Matthew 6:25-34, is perfectly titled, “Do Not Be Anxious.”
In Matthew 6:25 Jesus says,
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
I deeply appreciate how Jesus begins His passage using piercing words overflowing with reassurance, “Do not be anxious about your life.”
It is incredibly easy when we think about our own lives to feel immediately overwhelmed. From the moment we wake up in the morning until the second we lay our head down on the pillow at night, we are packed with busyness. That itself can bring about much anxiety! Our days can begin fueled in trust and one minor slip or change in routine can lead to worry and fear causing intense moments of anxiety and stress.
But do yourself a favor…Relax.
Take comfort in the words of our Savior, ”Do not be anxious about your life.”
As a Believer in Christ, there is nothing the devil can do when we give Jesus the reigns. However, when we worry and allow stress and anxiety to paralyze us, the enemy snatches up that opportunity to have a welcomed stronghold over us. When you start to feel those internal constrictions creep up, cry out to Jesus for help. He will never give you more than you can handle and He wants desperately to take your burden from you the second you ask.
Matthew 11:30 says, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
In the midst of the section of text nearing the end of chapter 6, Jesus mentions the blossoming lilies and the success in their flourishing. Take heart in knowing God cared enough to create, plant and grow those lilies, but He holds you even closer, with more care than even the most delicate flower. You were created to be both His precious treasure and a strong soldier in the Lord’s Army.
I myself have been there. As I write this devotional I think about areas of my life I need to relinquish control and allow God to give me peace in. I shared in my testimony how I had succumbed to the enemies pressing, but Jesus can do unbelievable things. He did in my life and every day I get to serve Him is a relief and a joy. Please understand I am not discounting the realness of any stress or anxiety you have or are currently experiencing. What you are going through may be heavier than I could ever know. I am sorry for the depth of your pain. In the quiet moment of this message, imagine the Lord Jesus wrapping His arms around you and smiling upon you. He loves you so much. He wants you to trust in Him and have firm faith in His ability to carry you through this dark time of struggle. I want you to know if you need further counsel or prayer over a struggle in your life, that is nothing to be ashamed of. I also delight in being your prayer warrior.
Some ways the Lord has given me peace through anxious times is through prayer, journaling and scripture memorization. Two verses I would encourage you to make a priority to memorize are the following:
1). “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
2). “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
The world worries because they don’t have faith in God’s provision over their lives. If you are a believer, God tells us we should not worry. He takes care of us if we are seeking after Him. God is in control and if we seek after Him, we need not worry. When we aren’t seeking Him, we worry easier because we don’t trust there is a God out there worthy of allowing to lead over our lives. He knows what we need, but we will only have the clarity to see it if we seek Him first. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
*If you are struggling with anxiety and need assistance learning how to cope with it and trust in God, a Christian Licensed Professional Counselor can help. Contact me if you need assistance finding one in your area.