I have posted before about anxiety and fear. We live in such an anxious world, full of stress and conflict. If we're not worried about ourselves, we're worried about others close to us. If they have nothing to worry over, we can find plenty of other things to worry about (oil spill, war, famine, the 10th Amendment, etc). There is just plenty out there to worry about if we spend more than a microsecond thinking about it. And yet, we're not supposed to.
Rom 8:31-32 What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?
It does make sense, when we1 look at it logically. God will provide for all that we need, if we trust Him to determine what it is we need. And we need so little here compared to the need of entering eternity right with God. If we trust in God, then this should be simple. All we have to do is seek first the Kingdom of God.
Mat 6:33-34 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.
All very simple. And we still stress out! Or at least I do. I can get anxious over just about anything!
The drive to work: "Why are these people so slow/fast/idiotic/in my way?"
Work: "Why does he want that? I need to get this done! Why are my numbers wrong? WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THIS MESS?"
Volunteer Activity: "Why is no one helping me? What is that kid doing? What if I have an emergency?"
You name it, I can stress over it. That stress leads to anger... fear leads to anger too, if we listen to Yoda. And if we can quote that Jedi a bit, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.
And boy do we suffer! Think of the sleepless nights, worrying about tomorrow. Think of the upset stomachs, the headaches, the muscle aches, the illnesses brought on by stressed out immune systems. Add in the hurt or broken relationships, tensions among people, and mean spirited things we can do in our worry and we have quite the mess. We can totally screw this up, and do so every day.
I realized today at Adoration that I've been praying and asking God to help me with this for the wrong reasons. I want to avoid the suffering. I like sleeping. I like having a happy tummy. I like having a good immune system. I like getting along with my friends. What's the problem with that? I want to not be anxious for all the wrong reasons!
Suffering is a consequence of our anxiety. Suffering is the consequence of our sin. Asking for help dealing with my anxiety to avoid the suffering it causes is a lot like a two year old asking that the cookie jar be removed so they can avoid a spanking. It works when they're two, but I'm a grown up. My motivation should be a bit different. Suffering from anxiety is the consequence of not following God's will. Suffering, in this context, is a good thing. I should be thankful there are such obvious indicators I have gone astray.
Pro 3:11-12 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
Pro 15:31-32 He whose ear heeds wholesome admonition will abide among the wise. He who ignores instruction despises himself, but he who heeds admonition gains understanding.
Heb 12:1-14 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons?--"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him.
For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.