Unload my anxiety with changes!
Maybe we are trying to deal with anxiety the wrong way…
Consider how Peter addressed his community of Christians as they lived in community:
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5b-7, NIV)
In the original language Peter used, verses six and seven are not two separate sentences. They are connected—they are one. This means the ideas are connected as cause and effect — casting our anxiety on God requires humbling ourselves first. When pride goes, anxiety goes with it.
Wait...what? Where my pride is present, anxiety is revealed.
There have been many times when I quoted verse 7, prayed this verse and even preached about this verse. But, each time, I just wanted to unload my anxiety without really changing anything about myself. Have you ever tried to cast your anxieties on God while holding on to your pride. It doesn’t work that way, does it?
Pride and anxiety come wrapped in the same package. If you insist on doing it your way, then expect to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You may have a lot of investment in someone or something—so of course you are going to pay attention. The only way you can rid yourself of the kind of needless anxiety is by first ridding yourself of the notion that you can somehow control people, outcomes, situations or circumstances. Something even more dangerous is to believe everything you believe is right, correct or the truth. Slow down...read that again.
I’m not suggesting that all anxiety is rooted in pride. But I do know Peter knew a lot about pride and humility. Consider the events of Holy Week and you get the picture. Humility is a choice. When we are focused only on ourselves—our hurts, hang-ups or habits—our attempts to make things right won’t sustain a sense of peace for very long. Marvelous, miraculous things happen when we relinquish control and surrender to God.
Imagine praying like this: “Lord, I am tired of trying to get others to do what I want and do things on my own. I realize that I cannot control others and I don't want to make a decision without You. I can’t be the spouse you want me to be without You. I can’t be the parent or grand parent You want me to be without You. I can’t do my job without You. I can’t live without You! I trust you with my people, outcomes, situations and circumstances. I need reminding that I CAN trust You because YOU have my best interest at heart. Forgive me. Fill me with Your presence, so that, I may more like You, amen.”
May His mighty hand lift you above the waves and put you onto solid ground.