Aug 7, 2014
Worried, Fearful, and Anxious
I need wisdom for how to handle a relationship from way back in my past.
It’s difficult, because I have no idea what to do, every option looks painful, and I need to do something soon.
So last week I found myself feeling worried, fearful, and anxious about this.
What Can I Do?
God’s word commands me to not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6), to fear not (Isaiah 41:10), and to let the peace of Christ rule in my heart (Colossians 3:15).
But how can commands like these be obeyed? I can’t just choose to stop being anxious or fearful, because feelings can’t be changed by simple acts of will-power.
And yet God’s perfectly true words command me to not be anxious or fearful. So what can I do?
What AND How
The good news is that God not only tells us what to do; he also tells us how.
We can see that in Isaiah 26:3 –
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Peace comes when my mind is stayed on God — clearly seeing and trusting who he is. Which means lack of peace shows that I’m not clearly seeing and trusting God.
We can see the same truth in 2 Corinthians 3:18 —
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.
So who I am — including my feelings — can be transformed by beholding the glory of the Lord. And when my feelings are not transformed, that shows I’m not beholding his glory.
Riding a Stationary Bike
Last week I was riding a stationary bike. And as I rode I felt worry, fear, and anxiety about this long-past relationship — which showed that I was not seeing and trusting Christ.
So I turned my heart to him, just as I was. I confessed my worry, fear, and anxiety as willful blindness and sinful unbelief.
And even though this sin was still in my heart, I knew that by faith alone in Christ alone I was forgiven, clothed with Christ’s perfect righteousness, and welcomed and loved for his sake.
Then I prayed and asked the Father for more of the Spirit’s transforming work in my heart. I quoted Luke 11:13 to strengthen my faith that he would answer.
Then I reminded myself that faith means trusting all that God promises to be to me in Christ. And how my feelings of worry, fear, and anxiety showed that I was NOT trusting all that God promises to be to me in Christ.
So I set my heart on Jesus as he is revealed in God’s word, trusting that as I did this, the Spirit would change my heart (2 Corinthians 3:18).
I thought about how —
- Jesus would give me all the wisdom I need (James 1:5),
- he is in sovereign control of this situation (Mark 4:39),
- he has ordained this situation to bring me even more joy in him (2 Corinthians 4:17),
- he will provide every need I face through this situation (Philippians 4:19),
- and how I can trust him completely because he has loved me to the extent of giving himself up for me (Galatians 2:20).
As I set my heart on these truths, I kept praying that the Spirit would enlighten the eyes of my heart so I could see and feel the glory of Christ in these truths (Ephesians 1: 17-18; 2 Corinthians 4:6).
What God Did
In great mercy, the Father answered my prayer.
It’s hard to explain. And I want to be clear that I don’t usually experience God working this quickly or dramatically.
But I’ll share what God did, to magnify his mercy, and to encourage your faith.
As I set my heart prayerfully on the truth of Jesus Christ, I slowly felt the Holy Spirit start to change me.
With the eyes of my heart I started to see and feel the truth that Christ was my sovereign, loving, all-satisfying wisdom-giver.
He was real. He was true. He was glorious.
And seeing him in his glory —
- strengthened my faith,
- calmed my fears,
- overcame my worries,
- filled me with peace,
- and satisfied me in him.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- How to Strengthen Your Faith
- A Surprising Outpouring of God’s Love
- What Is Faith?
- What Are the Promises of God?