The Answer to Anxiety
When I read the lyric again, it rang true. I had an epiphany. If I keep my life as an unbroken gaze fixed upon Jesus’ face; then the circumstantial chaos swirling around me is meaningless. However, I couldn't wrap my head around what that would look like in real life.
Over the weeks that ensued, I have had some ups and downs as far as focusing on the Almighty. It's almost as if I've been jumping on a trampoline looking through a window at God rather than fixing my eyes on Him. I'd bound upward to get a quick glimpse of his face through the window. Then, naturally, I'd return to the trampoline's surface and do it again. I kept trying to focus on Jesus and lay my burdens down, but any attempt I made was ephemeral at best. Finally, this morning, it all came together.
This morning, I walked around in circles and babbled about all the different issues that assailed me to my husband. It was like a stream of consciousness that wouldn't stop. My husband sat there staring at me blankly. In my anxiety, I didn't really see what I was doing. I was vomiting it all up and onto him. He was patiently holding my hair back as I did the proverbial “worry retch”. Of course, you know what happens to the person holding your hair out of the way as you puke? They eventually get splashed by the yuck, too.
"Enough is enough," I thought. "I'm taking out innocent bystanders." The word ANXIETY flashed in my mind. I sounded it out, "anx... I...ety. Hmm.. That's interesting. The emphasis on the word is "I". Holy smokes. The source of my anxiety is me." I read a devotional to center myself. God's word jumped off the page, "...For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves." 1 John 3:20 (MSG)
"So, what do I do about it? How exactly do I get the peace I seek, Lord?" I questioned God. I felt compelled to go back and read all of 1 John 3.
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." 1 John 3: 16 - 20 (NIV)It occurred to me that God's answer was right in front of me in 1 John 3 in the form of a P.E.A.R.
Step 1: Pray. Get outside of "I". God is bigger. Look Up. "..For God is greater than our worried hearts.." Sing some worship songs at the top of your lungs. Go on a prayer walk around the neighborhood.
Step 2: Empty out your worries at the foot of the cross. Cry out."....than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves." He already knows. He's waiting for you to ask for help.
Step 3: Act. Get moving. "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." Love somebody by helping them out. Volunteer at a shelter. See a need and fill it. Give some money to a worthy cause or ministry. Intercede for someone else's needs.
Step 4: Re-energize to rest. By practicing these steps, it will help you to breathe in God's presence and breathe out the negative energy. "This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us."
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, a P.E.A.R. will keep worry at bay. Cheers!