Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Confronting Stress and Anxiety With Truth

There are many trials in life, sometimes daily. Often we confront them in our own exertion alone. We may not fully realize how much extreme effort we are putting in, as anxiety, stress, and what you might call "freaking out" may actually be a kind of work in itself to us. Somehow we feel it will effect an outcome of some kind. In this, our circumstances are held closely to our chests, without considering healthier ways of dealing with them. The energy it produces, even though harmful to our emotions and even our health, in our minds is a valid way of striving and trying to cope. It becomes part of the process of handling life.

In contrast, when we come to God first in our need, when we lay our agitated hearts before Him, we confront life with truth. We cry out for the whirlwind to stop and for Him to be our peace. Peace is sorely missed today - in the world, in our hearts, our minds, and in our relationships. When we give up on the notion of self sufficiency and trust in a gracious God in Christ Jesus to be our enabling and contentment, then we become free. I use the word enable deliberately, as ever I come to see that help alone from God is not what I need. I need Him to enable me Himself entirely, with me out of the way. Grace is not a one time event only when we are saved; it is God's relationship to us daily, moment by moment.

I find that relearning and renewing all my own past unhealthy ways of dealing with life or trials is crucial as I seek total trust in a God who tenderly loves me. It is a process I receive, not one that is manufactured out of self improvement. I am filled with His freely offered grace, through the trials He allows me to be faced with. He allows them because He is a sure trust. More sure than anything we so rely on today.

Faith is only as good as the object it is placed in. In our Father, in His blessed Son our Redeemer, what a sure trust we have. We serve a beautiful God who reigns and has each breath we take in His care.

As someone who has life long suffered from anxiety attacks and social anxiety, there are days when I need to remind myself of these truths over and over. I have a choice to let the anxiety and mental duress define the truth for me, or the character and work of God, even as my emotions seek to control the moment while I seek Him. It seems a precarious balance at times, were it not for God's grace. Praise God for His tender mercy in our Lord.

Artwork: © Jeffrey M Green. "Through the Trees", 16 x 20", colored pencils.

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