Below is a collection of writing that originally appeared in my sermon 10.11.15. To watch it in its entirety click here.
When Karen and I were younger we had a name for thinking about all the things that could happen. We called them the “what if” statements. I’m sure you played that game before.
What if…… this
What if….. that
What if….. whatever you want it to be.
The “what if” statements give us a chance to think about all the things that might happen based on any given situation and any given moment.
Have you ever done this before? Think about how often you may dream about all the things that could go wrong in any particular situation. What if a car hits me on my way to work, what if I lose my job and we don’t have enough money to pay the bills? What if I don’t get into college? What if I don’t have anyone to take care of me when I can’t take care of myself?
Those are some of the physical “what ifs,” then I think there is a whole other level of thought that goes deep into who we are, and if you are anything like me some of these will sound really familiar:
What if I get there and no one likes me?
What if I am alone for the rest of my life?
What if I fail?
The “what if” game is a slippery slope, it gets slippery because what once started out as simple questions can soon lead to full blown anxiety.
And when you are walking the tight rope of life anxiety is one of those things that can cause you to fall off.
Anxiety may feel like the “what if” game gone astray, but the real definition of anxiety is fear and distress caused by our own mind.
I love that last part of the sentence, “caused by our own mind” meaning that all the anxiety we have in the world originates from the thing right between your ears. So, in other words anxiety is born inside of you. It stems from the basis of our humanity and can only be fed by its originator.
Simply put: my anxiety is 100% my doing.
I love what God’s word has to say about it:
1 Peter 5:6-9
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lionlooking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Do you see the connection in this writing? There is a direct connection between humility and anxiety. When we are humble we are able to cast our anxiety towards God, so that God might protect us from evil.
The key to dealing with anxiety is to realize that we were never in charge to being with. The “what if” game doesn’t matter if we are willing to admit that God is in charge and we aren’t.
Anxiety prowls around like a lion, waiting to devour us when we feel like we have any control over the world and try to do things our way versus God’s way.
Humility is the key to balancing anxiety on the tight rope of life.
When we are able to humble ourselves to God, and to the Kingdom of God, then our perspective on life begins to change.
It changes because we begin to listen less to the voices in our head and more to what God has to say about the reality of our life. If we focus outward rather than inward then God opens us up to a whole new world.
The most important thing that you can do is to humble yourself enough to remember that God is in charge, and you aren’t God.