We recently did a series at our church on anxiety.
Many churches have done a version of this based off of Max Lucado’s great book entitled “Anxious for Nothing” which is based off of the Apostle Paul’s writings to the Philippians.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything… or, as some translations say… “be anxious for nothing.”
That’s hard enough to say when we are dealing with our every day anxiety triggers – stress, debt, health, kids, marriages, retirement, cars, clowns. You know, the usual stuff.
But then throw a pandemic on top of it? It can get out of control.
I don’t want to minimize the pain of those who have either been infected by COVID-19 or have family who have… but for those of us on the fringes who are simply fearful of this, we have our own anxiety to deal with.
We are anxious. Anxious about getting COVID, about our family getting COVID, about running out of food, about running out of water, about running out of toilet paper! We are anxious about entertaining the kids, we are anxious about calming the kids, we are anxious about our jobs, the economy, the election, our neighbors, our aging parents, our future plans, our canceled plans, and the list goes on.
Here’s the one thing I learned this week. Just because the cause of anxiety may have changed, the remedy is still the same.
Just because the cause of anxiety may have changed, the remedy is still the same.
COVID is a new one. But our cure is an old one.
A few days ago it all hit me. I had tightness in my chest and was struggling with anxious thoughts. I thought, what is the problem? I know I don’t have COVID, my family doesn’t have it. We have toilet paper. Why do I feel like I’m having a panic attack?
Then it hit me. It’s my OCD. It’s my obsession with order and schedule and routine. My plans, just like yours, have all been changed. My daily routine is out of rhythm. I can’t even look forward to decompressing by watching basketball. Everything has changed. And for most of us when everything changes, we freak out.
So I did the one thing that we often forget to do. I talked about it.
I hit pause on whatever TV show we were watching, looked at my family and said “I think I’m struggling.” I apologized for being short with them, explained my fears and concerns, and something strange happened. I relaxed.
They said “great… now hit play.” (they were actually nicer than that 🙂 )
The tightness in my chest went away, I could breathe again, all because I brought a little light into the dark corners of my mind.
As we’ve all heard, our secrets make us sick. And they make us anxious!
Now, if Amazon would just deliver our toilet paper!