Just about everyone I’ve talked to over the past week has mentioned they are struggling with anxiety of some type- either a dull, underlying yet persistent pain you can’t seem to pinpoint the source of or an intense, end of the world feeling. You’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop and everything to come crashing down. Either way, anxiety is all the rage these days.
Here’s how it happens for me. Around 4 a.m. my eyes pop open for no apparent reason. I lay in bed for a few minutes trying to will myself back to sleep, and then the storm sirens in the back of my mind begin to wail. My chest tightens. My jaw clenches, and my heart creeps up to my throat as I wait for my inner neurotic to deliver up the problem du jour I will worry about for the next 24, but really more like 72, hours. Then I’m off. I mean I really get busy worrying about every last aspect of the problem, every possible catastrophe that could happen, and I wonder where God is and why He’s taking so long to answer my prayer. I’ll probably start suspecting He’s just pushed me and my problem to the side and even fear that in His “loving wisdom” He’s determined what I thought was a need was really more of a want, and an unimportant one at that, and what I really need is a good lesson in tough love. There will be some crying. Actually a lot of crying because I just can’t take it anymore, and I’m tired. I mean really tired. More tired than I was the last time I said I was tired and couldn’t take it anymore. But I’m serious this time. I really can’t go on. And then I’ll shake my fist at God, “Where are you? You said you would help, and I’m drowning!”
Recently I’ve been meditating on the words of Isaiah, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” (Isaiah 30:15) I’ve been reminding myself that if I want peace and rest then I’m going to have to keep trusting that God is good and always true to His word, because He is-even when I can’t see it, and that He has done great things and is still doing great things for me. And, this is the hard part for me, I have to repent of all the lies I’ve believed about Him. Peace always comes, but on His terms not mine. Only then do I begin to see the good around me…and there’s a lot of it.
What are the comforting words you turn to when faced with anxiety? I hope you’ll share them in the comments. Peace be with you.