Anxiety is a powerful feeling. It can paralyze, making even the simplest task overwhelming. We all worry. Life is full of giant question marks and what-ifs, but keeping our worries — especially the ones about things we truly can’t control — in perspective is a healthy strategy so that we can live productive lives and stop anxiety from getting in our way.
In “Anxiety is a Spiritual Issue,” an article posted in Relevant by Rachael Dymski, anxiety is analyzed in the context of faith. Some people might argue that worrying is a sin and are quick to offer simple phrases, such as “God is good” or “Keep the faith,” but these aren’t terribly comforting in a real time of need. Dymski cites several examples from the Bible that support the notion that God has a more gentle, gracious and tender-hearted view of anxiety. For example, in 1 Peter 5:7, the Bible tells us to cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you, and in Matthew 11:28, Jesus, with arms wide open, calls for the weary and heavy-laden to come to Him, and He will give them rest.
Dymski suggests reading scriptures like these — which offer powerful words of support and encouragement — might actually help some people reduce their anxiety. She also points out that anxiety often stems from feelings of isolation and the overwhelming idea of having to go it alone, but the Bible clearly supports the idea that we are communal creatures. It is natural for human beings to share in each other’s joys and sorrows — it is one of our most honest and true actions.
Dymski offers a specific strategy that helps her reduce her own anxiety. When she is worried about something, she writes it down. Then below the worry she lists all the ways God has been faithful to her in the last six months. When she looks at the list, the worry seems insignificant compared to the powerful support and faithfulness she has received from God, and it wipes out any doubt she may have had in God’s faithfulness since clearly He is faithful to her in so many ways. Everyone can find many things to worry about — school, work, family, growing responsibilities, money — but maintaining perspective on our worries and striking a balance among the many demands in life is important for forward progress and growth.