Hello, Anxiety, My Old Friend

Anxiety is as much a part of me as my hazel eyes and the wax in my ears. I would rather that it were not so, but no matter how I think I am doing fear-wise, something generally comes along to remind me of my weakness. Perhaps I come by it honestly. I remember my mother waiting up because one of her "chickens wasn't in the roost" yet. I remember my dad searching the churning sky as another springtime storm overtook Taney County.  These are behaviors I have repeated. Do I get them from mom and dad? It doesn't really matter. Even if I am wired this way, it's not somebody else's fault that I get anxious. I have to own it.

For example, when the furnace wasn't working the other day, I went to the anxious place. I began to fret and stew. I couldn't sit still, I didn't want to talk. I had to walk around and fidget. My thoughts were something on the order of, "What are we going to do?" and "Why did this have to happen?" This past year has been one of job loss and diminished resources and so the specter of a major appliance repair or, gasp!, replacement was frightening. At least for one who worries.

Also inherent in my questions are accusation. Maybe it's not wrong to ask questions of God when things seem to go wrong, but there was a tinge of accusation in my thoughts. I toyed with the idea that God wasn't being fair. And at that point, I've crossed a line. The nature of God is such that He cannot be unfair, but I get so focused on the scary stuff around me that I fail to elevate my imagination and remember what I actually know is true.

And what is true for the guy with the busted furnace? The same things that are true for the guy with a working furnace. God knows all about me. He is not caught off guard by my dilemma, in fact, if I understand the Bible properly, He has been right by my side as I approached it. In other words, the Shepherd has led me to this moment. It is actually good that I am here for He does all things well.

So, ideally, how does Busted-Furnace Man handle his lot in life? Listen to the Shepherd:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (Matthew 6:25-27 ESV)

Indeed, which of us, by the power of Anxiety, can add a single hour to his span of life?

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