Living with Shadows

My first unwanted encounter with anxiety evolved from a series of unexpected, unfortunate, and unsolicited life events.

“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

Imagine an intimidating affliction that inflicts your body with weakness, invades your mind with helplessness, ingrains your emotions with hopelessness, and infects your soul with faithlessness.

My first unwanted encounter with anxiety evolved from a series of unexpected, unfortunate, and unsolicited life events. Anxiety’s shadowy specter ceaselessly challenges my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual demeanor.

Regrettably, in many Christian circles, social stigma and wrong theology imply that flawed faith produces personal anxiety struggles. However, Scripture reveals that Jesus’ divinity did not disqualify His humanity from experiencing overwhelming anxiety. Though He felt it, he did prevent anxiety from exploiting His vulnerable heart and mind by confronting it with persevering prayer and taking every thought captive. He overcame by obediently trusting His Father’s Word, will, and perfect peace. Today’s verse reiterates Jesus’ strategy – confronting anxiety with prayer – soliciting God’s will and seeking God’s peace for a vulnerable heart and mind.

Do you experience anxiety? In today’s turbulent world, anxiety is a common and constant companion for many people – an unavoidable effect of living this side of heaven. It attempts to exploit personal vulnerabilities, oppress self-esteem, and mire conviction. It is no respecter of persons. Flawless faith or mental disciplines do not banish its company. Its stalking presence constantly compels vulnerable lives to despair, but as believers, we can persevere and triumph through truth and trust – knowing that Jesus relates with and knows our struggle. Despite its persistent presence, He enables us to persevere through anxiety’s sordid shadows – shielding our hearts and minds with His perfect peace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for a Savior who can relate with my ongoing struggles. Protect my heart and mind from anxiety’s effects. Create in me an attitude of thanksgiving and praise. Help me realize that despite my anxious struggles, You are sovereign over every circumstance in my life. Help me to take every though captive by daily affirming the truth of Your Word. Amen.

Thought: Consider using one (or more) of the following strategies for coping with anxiety:

1) Read and pray through Jesus’ wilderness temptation, Gethsemane and Calvary experiences.
2) Confront anxiety with prayer and thanksgiving.
3) Take every thought captive daily by memorizing key Scripture verses that address anxiety and fear.
4) Encourage someone struggling with anxiety by sharing your insights and strategy.

By Allan Mitchell
Used by Permission

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