Anxiety. That word seems to be a central core for so much of today's ill health. Poking out from anxiety are painful words like fear, worry, nervousness, and these are just a few of the splinter causes for anxiety.
I recently had a blood pressure issue that landed me in the ER in the middle of the night, with follow-ups that included tests and changing meds. Anxiety was mentioned during the conversation. Since then, I've tried to sort out my stressors, and I conclude they come in all sizes and colors.
Surprisingly, I'm essentially an optimistic, happy person. I think I have a handle on being anxious, since I trust God with my worries. I give Him all my stuff, all the time.
The trouble is, I take them back every time, too. I start to think about that stuff again, next thing I know I'm right back there, carrying it inside again, thinking about what I can do to help a situation or someone who is troubled.
But how can we not care about others and want to help wherever we can? Doesn't Jesus want us to give ourselves wholeheartedly to others?
Jesus explains again in Matthew 6, that when we put people, goals, objects and other desires in higher priority than God, we get into anxiety. We let our relationships and plans affect our relationship with God. (vs. 33).
Time and again I have to back myself up and remember I'm living for Christ in my daily life. Physical relationships and duties can easily run havoc on our thoughts, our productivity, and ultimately damage our health. (vs. 25)
Living for Christ in our daily life, though, means we seek God at all times of our day, have continual communication, talk to Him, ask His opinion, His will on our stresses of life.
In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches about worry. In Verse 25, The same God who created life in you can be trusted with the details of your life. Verse 26, Worrying about the future hampers your efforts for today. Vs. 27, Worrying is more harmful than helpful. Vs. 28-30, God does not ignore those who depend on him.
Verse 31, 32, Worrying shows a lack of faith in and understanding of God. Vs. 33, Worrying keeps us from real challenges God wants us to pursue. Vs. 34, Living one day at a time keeps us from being consumed with worry.
In The Power of a Whisper, about hearing God, Bill Hybels says it so well: There is no more critical goal in life than to keep a pliable heart before God. God cannot be seen by spiritual eyes that are shut. God cannot be heard by spiritual ears that are plugged. And God cannot be followed by a heart that stubbornly stays hard.?
Living in turmoil is the new norm for the world. But Christ's way of living usually contradicts the world's way.
In Philippians 4:11, Paul talks about being content through drawing on Christ's power for strength. Paul was content because he could see life from God's point of view. Paul had his priorities straight, and he was grateful for everything God had given him.
I'm grateful for hospitals, doctors and nurses, medicines and machines, but mostly for Christ who has assured us beyond any doubt, that there is life beyond these physical bodies. I love my life on earth. And I know eternity is only a heartbeat away, and we can't take that heartbeat for granted.
Bonnie Donnelly is a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Marietta. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Christy Hudson at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer's convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.