By Robert Williams, Lead Pastor at The Bridge Church
Are you laughing less than you once did? Do you see problems in every promise? Would those you know best describe you as increasingly negative and critical? Do you assume that something bad is going to happen?
Do you dilute and downplay good news with doses of your reality? Many days would you rather stay in bed than get up? Do you magnify the negative and dismiss the positive? Given the chance, would you avoid any interaction with humanity for the rest of your life?
If the answer is yes to a number of these questions, then there is a good chance that anxiety is beginning to rule over you.
We all experience anxiety. It’s natural. Just like we feel pain when something is wrong, we feel anxious when something needs to be dealt with. Personally, I didn’t think I had a serious problem with anxiety until I began to do the research on it. The problem is that anxiety seems to be so much more invisible, sometimes even to ourselves.
Anxiety is what makes your chest tighten and your head feel light and dizzy when you worry too much. It keeps us from people and holds us back from intimacy. It’s a low-grade fear. An edginess, a dread. A cold wind that won’t stop howling.
Someone once said that, “When it’s bad, it feels like an electric current building up inside of me and like it’s going to start shooting out of me, except it doesn’t, which is worse.”
In its worst form, anxiety becomes a parasite that takes and takes and takes. It takes our breath, our sleep, our energy, our well-being, our relationships, and even physical wellness. And anxiety is sweeping across our nation in a way it never has before.
So how do we deal with it?
One of the most famous stories we see about Jesus comes from Mark chapter 4 in the Bible. It’s here that we see him and the disciples heading out across the lake on a boat. I’m assuming it’s been a pretty long day because as they travel across this lake, Jesus falls asleep.
Meanwhile, a storm begins to brew. The clouds are rolling in, the waves are beginning to kick up, and the some of the apostles are fisherman and they begin to realize that there is no way out. They become anxious for what is about to happen. What if they die?!
So they cry out to Jesus to save them.
You probably know how the story ends. Jesus shakes his head at the apostles, accuses them of having “little faith”, and then reaches out his hand to calm the storm.
Max Lucado writes in his book Anxious for Nothing, “The presence of the anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.”
Listen, if Jesus can literally calm the wind and the waves, don’t you think he can calm your storm? The anxiety of “what if…,” the storm of your relationship, the stress of work, the fear of failure — God can handle that. God’s got this. You just have to give it to Him.
When are you going to give it to Him?