Why do we let the worries in our lives rule over us? Why do we allow it to consume our very being and take the reins of our day? I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of letting anxiety determine my mood, my day, and my life in general. Sadly, because of the fall, anxiety is a normal part of life. We live in a busy and driven world where everyone is constantly on the move. We let worry win, and we don’t realize when it begins to take over our soul. God has given us a spirit of peace; not worry, fear, anxiety or stress, but peace. Isn’t that amazing? We’re able to live surrounded by the peaceful presence of God.
Peace is a fruit of the spirit that many of us struggle with. How many of us can say that we’re always at ease and never have any worries whatsoever about our days and nights, our future, and everything in between? We can’t help but be curious, and that curiosity can lead to uneasiness because we’re afraid of the unknown. If this is something that you wrestle with, just bring it to God. He’s waiting for you to hand Him all your struggles because He doesn’t want you to carry it all on your own.
I had a vision the other day of what it looks like for God to take on our burdens. Personally, my biggest burden is anxiety. What I saw in my vision was me with the word “anxiety” written all over my body. I gazed up at Jesus, who was standing in front of me. He smiled and reached for my hand. As soon as He touched my hand, all the words quickly vanished. I watched as He stood there, taking all the anxiety and holding this word firmly in His left hand. Jesus opened up His right hand to reveal the word “peace.” Suddenly, “peace” slowly began to appear on me. This vision the Lord showed me made me cry as I realized that I don’t need to carry my struggles by myself. We have a wonderful and caring God who loves us beyond all compare. He wants us to cast our cares on Him and lay them down at His feet.
For the majority of my life, I’ve struggled with extreme general anxiety as well as SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder). Everyone has a bit of anxiousness to some extent, but when I was in middle school I realized that I was affected by it so much that it interfered with the way I lived my life. Because of social anxiety, my mind was constantly flooding with the idea that people were judging me for everything. It was hard to live life normally because I was so afraid of judgment and rejection that I hardly talked with anyone. It was difficult for me to even order food from a restaurant, introduce myself to someone new, pay for my groceries, walk around my neighborhood…basically anything that required social interaction or me being out in public. It was terrible. Life was burdensome for me. Even leaving the house was often unheard of. I became so used to isolating myself that it grew to be more of an issue.
Now that I look back a few years, I notice that I was so focused on myself rather than God. If I had put God first in my life, then I wouldn’t have suffered as much. But that’s all part of life and learning. His plan was for me to experience that pain so I would learn to run to Jesus and make Him my first priority. Since I’ve been practicing that, most of the anxiousness has faded away. It hasn’t disappeared completely, because I am still only human, but I believe God still has a lot of work to do through me and He will use me in miraculous ways. I still struggle every day with anxiety. Something I’ve learned to do is give it to the Lord daily. I simply say, “Jesus, I know this anxiety I feel is not of you. I ask that today you surround me with your peace.”
Anxiousness is not of the Lord, and we need to learn to pray against the spirit of anxiety. It’s a daily fight. You can’t just pray against stress once and think it will all vanish. Every day is full of new excitements and challenges, but you have to face the day knowing that God is on your side and that He is for you. Give all your worries to God. After all, all He wants is our whole hearts. If we don’t give everything to Jesus, then are we really trusting in Him?
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV)
Written by Averie Coen