Worry and Anxiety: No Build Up Necessary

May 23, 2011

Have you noticed that laundry and other housework does not naturally reset itself at the beginning of a new week? You don't wake up on Monday morning to find that the counter is set to zero, and the baskets are miraculously empty for reloading. No, instead, we find that what awaits you on Monday morning is the culmination of what you have or have not addressed the previous week. When it comes to housework, there's no "clean slate," so to speak, unless you cleaned the slate, or are progressively cleaning the slate. This is not a difficult concept.

So why do we struggle to apply this same reasoning with our attitude towards worry? Jesus tells us not to worry, to be anxious for nothing. But, rather than addressing the worry and anxiety the moment it comes into our minds, we so often grow lazy and allow the piles of fruitless thinking gather in the rooms of our minds. Before we know it, we are overwhelmed by the clutter that dominates our hearts and minds. We may, at times, believe that a massive change in circumstances or some huge effort in positive thinking will reset our minds, but ultimately, these efforts produce no lasting change, and we are right back in a pattern of worry. In the same way that laundry requires consistent upkeep, our minds require deliberate maintenance.

Please do not misunderstand: I am not speaking of our right standing before God, as believers (justification.) Praise God, we ARE given a clean slate when we repent and trust in the work of Christ on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sin. Our entire spiritual man is reset when we come to Christ.

Instead, I am simply making this observation: As believers in Christ, we are given a clear imperative for responding to fear and worry. It is this:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 4:6-7

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear...

...But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

-Matthew 6: 25, 33

Prayer and thanksgiving is diligent de-cluttering of a mind prone to anxiety. Seeking first his Kingdom, rather than our own...this, too, is how a child of God learns to combat worry. These imperatives we carry out in faith because we rest in this indicative (declarative):

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

-2 Peter 1:3

 

So, as you begin your Monday, perhaps with a crusty build up of worry and anxiety (and perhaps a messy build up of housework), begin by remembering the declarative: that you are a child of the King. Your joy is to seek HIS kingdom. Het takes care of your every need. You can come to him with prayer and thanksgiving. He hears your heart, and faithfully molds it. We can do away with the piles of worry. No build up necessary.

He has paid for our clean slate, he continues to conform us to the likeness of himself, and gives us all the tools and power we need to follow in fruitful obedience.





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