Too Mature to Feel Anxious. Not.

My stomach ached. I tossed from side to side at night trying to find a position that relieved discomfort.

After a week of misery and little food, I went to the doctor and got checked out. When I finally got the all clear, I wondered if I could possibly be feeling anxious and overwhelmed. By “coincidence,” I heard three sermons about anxiety in two days which forced me to sheepishly recognize that my “sickness” was not a physical one. After a season of caring for others and in the face of some upcoming decisions, I had been overtaken by anxiety.

God got my attention and spoke to me through His word and His people:

God’s care extends to every age group. When I was younger, I struggled with anxiety. Over the years I have learned to trust God more regularly and automatically. So, it was humbling to be in that anxious place again and to have to admit that my stomach problems were mostly stress-related. At the same time, it was a comfort to recognize that the God who has cared for me as a younger woman still actively cares for me in my older years. His promise to Israel in Isaiah 46:4 reminds me that we don’t grow out of God’s care, “Even when you are old, I will take care of you, even when you have gray hair.” (I’m there, Lord, with the gray hair.) “I will carry you. I made you and I will support you; I will carry you and rescue you.”

Anxiety points out something or someone I am trusting and hoping in more than I am trusting in God—that’s idolatry. But in the face of that idolatry, God doesn’t say to me, “just stop it.” Instead, he directs me in Philippians 4:6-7 by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, [to] let [my] requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard [my] heart and mind through Christ Jesus.” Doing this actively acknowledges that my sovereign God sifts all circumstances through His hands. He is the God who acts, who guides, who directs, who comforts, who supplies. Why would I want to trust another?

Anxiety isn’t just emotional. While I need to bring my concerns to God, I also need to take care of my body. After Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal, he fled in fear, but God gave him food and rest. (1 Kings 19:3-6) While I wasn’t confronting false prophets, I did need to take care of myself. When I chose to eat healthy food, exercise and take advantage of some days away from the routine, God began to restore me and I’m grateful.

Has anxiety touched your life this month? Consider memorizing a verse that speaks to you about his care for you. Bring your concerns to God. And take care of your body. Carve out time to be refreshed by the Sovereign One.

 Image “Anxiety” by Kevin Dooley https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Beth Barron and her husband have worked cross-culturally for decades, first in the Middle East and now in the U.S. She teaches English to refugees and uses her writing skills to advocate for them. Beth enjoys writing, biking, vegetable gardening and connecting heart to heart with other women. She is involved in her church's External Focus ministry. She and her husband have three adult children, two daughters-in-love and three grandsons. Beth graduated from Rice University in Houston, attended Dallas Theological Seminary and is committed to life-long learning.

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