Anxiety: The Thief of Joy

August 16, 2016

As women, we can imagine a thousand horrible outcomes of one situation before we even realize we are doing it. The Lord has been showing me how anxiety plagues the lives of so many people, but we think it is normal to live with these constant fears. The Father wants to challenge what we live with as our “normal” and show His heart for us to live in peace and joy. I asked Him what anxiety is and He said to me, “The root of anxiety is fear of the future.” I started thinking of different times I have experienced anxiety in my own life. I found what He said to be true in every situation I could recall. The root of my anxiety was not knowing how something was going to turn out and not having any control over it.

 

My grandfather went to the hospital last week for the second time in a month due to complications after his open heart surgery. When I heard the news, I felt so much anxiety. Before driving to Illinois to be with my family at the hospital, I went to lunch with my husband, Paul. I was so nervous I had inhaled my entire meal and Paul wasn’t even half way done with his. I told him I was feeling anxious and I did not know how to make it stop. I was afraid for my grandpa’s life and worried about what would happen to my grandma if he didn’t make it. My imagination was running wild with possibilities and I felt like a nervous wreck. I was trying to focus on the Father, but I was really struggling. Paul helped me through this by teaching me about the verse that says, “Cast all your cares on the Lord for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). Paul explained that it can also be translated, “Cast all your anxieties on the Lord…” He encouraged me that no matter what happens, the Lord holds my grandparents in the palm of His hand. There was grace for every situation. This does not mean that death and loss are not heart breaking, but there is peace in knowing that the Father has everything under control. There is nothing to fear. (Grandpa is doing much better, but keep the prayers coming!!)

 

Personally, I am guilty of letting my imagination run wild in difficult times. I think this is partially what the Lord was talking about when He says to “take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  It does nothing good for our hearts to dwell on situations that could possibly never even happen. We allow anxiety to rule our hearts and welcome it into our life when we dwell on things we cannot control. Matthew 6:34 says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” We cannot affect any change by worrying about things we cannot predict or control.

 

This past Sunday a sweet lady at my church shared with me a picture the Lord had given her. She saw me sitting in a wheel barrow that the Father was pushing. I was sitting backwards looking right into the face of the Father as He was pushing me along. She explained that the picture panned out and she was able to see that the wheel barrow I was sitting in was being pushed on a tight rope stretched out over a huge canyon. She said that the picture was petrifying! Then she looked back at me and saw that I was laid back and totally relaxed like I was experiencing no fear.  I was locked in, looking into the Father’s eyes, and I was not fazed by my present situation. She said that this season I am going through is absolutely terrifying, but I am at peace because I have not taken my eyes off the Father. Man! Talk about a powerful picture! I have thought about it every day since last Sunday. It gave me such a clear visual to what I feel in this season. I know that I could start thinking about the fact that I have been sick for over a year, gone through several different treatments, and still am not pregnant- and then take off tail spinning. “What if I never get pregnant? Will Paul be upset if we never have children naturally? What if I have to have a hysterectomy soon?” The fears could go on and on and on. BUT! When I keep my eyes focused on the Father, all those fears fall away. When I focus on the Father, I see that ten years from now Paul and I could have five adopted children and love our big family! While the possibilities might be endless, I know one is thing for sure: God has it all under control and I do not need to worry about it. Paul and I will have a family one way or another and it will be beautiful! That is truth that I can rest in. That is the Father’s heart.

 

The Lord woke me up in the night recently and spoke to my heart about anxiety. He said that anxiety is a great thief of our joy and fullness of life. I started pondering what that meant and was in awe at the realization of what a secret and silent thief anxiety can really be! Anxiety can keep us from great joys in life because it keeps us from living life to the fullest. Anxiety can keep us from going to new social gatherings because we are anxious about how they will go. “What if I do not know anyone? What if it is awkward?” So we come up with excuses to just stay home. We may miss out on new experiences and beautiful relationships because we let anxiety quietly rule our lives. How about with your children? Are you fully enjoying every moment you have with them or are you overtaken with fear regarding their futures? Are you always waiting for something to go wrong? That is no way to live! Jesus came to give us life and life in the fullest (John 10:10)! I guarantee He did not mean a life ruled by anxiety! This realization makes me want to wage war on anxiety. Anxiety, your secret power has been exposed and you will no longer rule my life! My life will be ruled by peace that passes understanding through being in relationship with my great Father! 

 

Life is full of uncertainty, but one thing is sure: the Father is a Good Father and He is in control. When we keep our eyes locked on the Father, all other fears fall away! If there are things in your life that continuously cause you anxiety, I would encourage you to take them to the Father. Ask Him why you have fear in that area, and then ask Him to help you trust in His heart that is for you. He is such a kind Father with your best interest in mind! Focus on Him and get lost in His overwhelming peace!

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