There is so much more to be anxious about these days. As in more than there was three months ago.
So you’re going to feel that. I do. The pressure points are unavoidable, and all around.
If you feel pressure, it doesn’t make you bad, sinful or weak. It’s no different than your ears popping when your Boeing 737 climbs to a higher altitude.
If you don’t feel any pressure at all, that’s actually a bit more of a concern.
It means that you are either posing as Superman (whom you are not—with apologies to the real Superman if you’re reading this, but there is that Clark Kent thing) or you don’t have a pulse which means you are dead (physically, but perhaps emotionally or spiritually).
I am studying the word “anxiety” in the Bible, often times translated “worry.” But get this. Its base meaning is not a negative one at all. It has the sense of care or concern.
It is used positively in 1 Corinthians 7:32 where the apostle Paul mentions a man being “concerned about the Lord’s affairs,” and 1 Corinthians 12:25 reminding believers with different abilities and interests to have “equal concern for each other.”
So how does “concern” turn into “anxiety?” I’ve found this description extremely helpful. It’s like a rocking chair.
Care or concern rocks gently, content in the moment, not even realizing that it is rocking. Slow. Peaceful. Relaxed. Mindful of the pressure points but not mastered by them. Happy to be rocking. And rocking. And just be there.
Worry or anxiety rocks fast and furious, trying to actually get somewhere, do something, make things happen. And the more it tries to control these, the more overwhelming it feels, so it tries even harder and rocks even faster. Lots of activity, but getting nowhere.
Which will you choose today? Care and concern, with the right amount of interest in what’s happening in the world and in your own life, but it doesn’t own you?
Or worry and anxiety, trying to play God?
The presence of anxiety is unavoidable. The prison of anxiety is optional. Be concerned. Be cautious. Don’t be so controlling, rocking so anxiously you can’t enjoy the moment.
There are many things God can do better without your help. Rock gently. Relax in this moment. And see what God can do.
PRAYER: Dear God, the pressure is increasing, and anxiety wants more control than it should have. Turn my heart away from worry and toward you. Calm my fears. Have compassion on our world and lead us all closer to you and each other. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Prayerfully meditate for 5 minutes right now. Set a timer. Let everything else just take a rest for 5 minutes; God can handle it. Consider moments recently when you functioned with genuine, balanced care, and when that grew into anxiety. Imagine yourself in a rocking chair, and what gentle, content rocking looks like. Remember that the next time anxiety wants more control than it should have.