So that Lent thing…yeah…giving up being anxious is “so easy,” I wrote.
It turns out, when anxiety builds and I don’t want to admit it, I just keep filling and filling and filling my life so there is no room to think. Until the anxieties break through in the form of nightmares.
So, that anxiety thing. It doesn’t just go away.
“…stand firm thus in the Lord…Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you…I can do all things through him who strengthens me…And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” –Philippians 4:1, 4-9, 13, 19-20, ESV
Paul knew. He knew that being anxious is an engrained state of experiencing the world. He knew the Philippians needed to hear the reasons why they could lay aside worries. And God knew you and I needed to read it today.
Remaining unanxious (is that a word?) requires standing in the Lord. Standing is not just laying around. It requires balance, endurance, and dare I say, alertness. But it is not just standing. Standing in the Lord requires an awareness of what He is doing, what He wants to be doing, and what He wants us to be doing.
You know what He wants us to be doing? Not being anxious. That’s what.
But He knows we can’t just “not” do something. He knows our busy hands and our spinning minds. So through Paul, He gives us all sorts of things that fulfill His desire that we not be anxious. Check out the list:
- Rejoice in the Lord
- Ask His for things (aka: supplication)
- Giving thanks
- Talk to Him
- Think about true things
- Think about honorable things
- Think about just things
- Think about pure things
- Think about lovely things
- Think about commendable things
- Think about excellent things
- Think about things worthy of praise
- Then go back up a few bullet points and practice all those things
Then, when you have completed that massive checklist, then you can worry. Wait, no? That’s not how it works? Surely Paul knew that worry was necessary. Surely he allocated some time for worry, right?
No? Well, how can he be so sure? Because if we do all those things, if I fill my day with all those things, there will be no room for worry. Not only will my day be filled with things of Him, but “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And even more, no room for anxiety because “God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I gotta go make me a list.