Tom Anderst
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When I was a kid, I remember worrying. I worried about school, friends and whether I would make it in life. But I didn’t really talk to anyone about it. I assumed other people never worried because I never heard them talk about it. So I struggled through my early years occasionally sharing my struggles with my Mom. I carried this worrying tendency with me into young adulthood. Life brings different challenges at different stages. There’s always something you can worry about. Yet thankfully through help from many people and sources, I have learned much about the uselessness of worry and the need to redirect my focus healthier ways of thinking. I also discovered that other people also struggled with worry. They just didn’t talk about it much.

Things have drastically changed today. Anxiety is the new word for worry. It seems like we’re experiencing an anxiety epidemic. Consider this quote from philosopher J.P. Moreland who dealt with severe and debilitating anxiety: “I am among those who do not believe that ‘the percentage of people who have anxiety has always held pretty constant; rather, it’s just that today we’re more open to speaking about it.’ No, I am convinced that the anxiety (and depression) rate is higher today than it has ever been. Why? Because the conditions present today in American culture – e.g., the rapid pace at which we live, the bombardment we receive from all kinds of readily available technology, the isolation we experience in a hyper-individualistic society – are so extreme that we are living with stress, stress and more stress. Indeed we are so used to being under stress that we hardly recognize it much of the time. One of the greatest, if not the greatest causes of serious anxiety is stress.”

No one enjoys anxiety. We long for peace. We seek relief. A multi-pronged approach is necessary to overcome it. Counseling, medication or other treatments and learning to challenge thinking patterns can all help. But as a Christian, my greatest resource is found in God. The Bible recognized the problem of anxiety among ancient people. A Proverb written about 3000 years ago states “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down but a good word makes him glad.”(Proverbs 12:25, Bible). But the Bible does not only observe anxiety. It prescribes the tremendous help we can find in coming to God with our anxieties.

Consider the following. “Do not be anxious saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For . . . your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” – Jesus. “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” – Paul. “Cast all your anxieties on him (God) because he cares for you.” – Peter.

I find great comfort in knowing that God is with me. God is in control. God is bigger than all that is going on in the world. If you or someone you know struggles with anxiety, I pray you will consider the help God offers to enable you to overcome it.

 

 

[1] JP Moreland, Finding Quiet: My Story of Overcoming Anxiety and the Practices that Brought Peace, (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2019), 50. 

3 Comments


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Elizabeth 6 days ago

Thank you Pastor for sharing these thoughts.
“An anxious heart wares a man down, but a kind word cheers him up”.
I’ve found that to be so true in my life, being around positive people helps reduce the anxiety level in my life. God’s blessings on you as you serve Him.


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