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Vital Signs - Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Many of you have fought the giant of anxiety for years, suffering from the paralyzing effects of panic, anxiety, or depression. I would be a fool to try to prescribe a simple Band-Aid of spiritual-sounding mumbo jumbo. But, as I sit on the other side of this valley, I can tell you that God does not want you to lose hope.

During my journey, it was important to realize my “anxiety” wasn’t a thing in and of itself. Rather, my anxiety was a symptom of something else. I found myself saying things like, “I’m not going to be able to make it to work today, my anxiety is acting up again.” Or, “I feel like my anxiety is rising up, I better go lie down.”

I was acting like anxiety was a cause rather than a symptom.

That's incredibly frustrating because you can’t touch or see anxiety, or even describe it well. Anxiety in all its forms, is vague, murky, invisible and hard to pin to the wall.

But, something was causing the anxiety. Sometimes it was something deep in my heart, and other times right on the surface of life. Most often, it was a person. Someone was doing or saying something that unsettled me, or was outside of my desired outcome. I was spending hours trying to manage results, replay conversations, control scenarios, or protect myself and those around me.

But, Jesus offers a better way.

1 Peter 5:7 invites you to cast all your anxiety on Jesus, because he cares for you. I love the mental picture of us throwing our anxiety onto Jesus—off-loading what’s troubling us onto him.

Once you can identify it you can specifically cast it on Jesus in a meaningful way. You can transfer the weight and concern to His care, knowing He cares about you.

Because Jesus cares about you, He wants to make you strong. He wants you to learn that He can be strong in and through you. So when “anxiety” starts creeping in, don't generalize your condition. Stop and think about what it is that is actually making you anxious. Name it. Say it out loud. And cast it on Jesus.

“Jesus, what ______ is saying about me is making me angry.”

“Jesus, I’m afraid of what’s going to happen when I show up for this class at school because of _____, ______ and ______. They are taunting me and making me feel afraid and inferior.”

“Jesus, I’m worried about my son.”

“Jesus, my business partners, _____ and _____, are trying to rip me off and cut me out of this deal.”

Once you can say it, hand your worry to Him.

To do so doesn't guarantee that you will wake up to find the problems are gone. Living free from anxiety is all about trust. Do you believe God is able? Do you believe he loves you and cares about you? Do you trust Him to work in and through the circumstances you are facing to do what’s best for you?

Your answer is found in the cross, the place where God demonstrated He is able to take any situation and bring through it what is good for us and what brings glory to His name.

Dwell on the cross. Dig down beneath your anxiety. Look up to your Shepherd. Give your worries to him.

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