It is one thing to experience anxiety without knowing why; it is another thing entirely to experience anxiety and know exactly why it is happening.
My experiences with anxiety have been primarily of the former kind. Recently, however, God has seen fit to provide situations in my life that are of the latter kind. I know why I am feeling anxious this time.
Strangely, whether or not I know the reasons behind my anxiety, the results are still much the same.
It is perhaps a little easier, in the physical sense, to deal with anxiety when you know the cause of it. Supplements of various stripes still help ease the physical symptoms that go with anxiety. Distraction and trying to keep busy help, too.
But anxiety with a known cause is difficult, too. It’s definitely more pervasive. You keep remembering it, and although distraction works for a while, it takes very little to trigger your mind back to the rut where it was previously.
No matter what the cause, anxiety is tiring and mind-numbing.
I believe that that in my current situation, the Bible exhortion to “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you” rings quite true. I feel that this is it; this is crunch time. This is the time where the rubber meets the road, where I am called to “cast my anxieties on him” because he not only cares for me, but for the other people in my life, people who are also facing anxiety-filled situations.
I feel compelled to give these anxieties over to God. I have written on this blog so many times about my deeply-held belief that God works everything out for my good, as well as working things out for the good of all his children, which includes others close to me. I do believe that, but that belief feels a bit … challenged right now. But yet, this is where it’s at. This kind of trust in all situations is implicitly part of being a Christian. If I can trust God to work good out the seemingly less-important situations in my life, won’t he work good out these seemingly important situations in my life, too?
I don’t know what the future holds. But I sense that a new lesson is about to be taught to me, a lesson in trusting God to work out not just my own problems, but also to work out the problems of his other, equally-important children. And for my family’s sake as well my own faith’s sake, I can’t spend my time worrying over situations over which I have no control. I simply have to trust God.
I’m trying to trust that it’s all going to be okay. The fact that I don’t know how it will happen — doesn’t matter. It will. I have to believe that. I have to. Otherwise there’s no point in believing in a God who has solved my biggest problem – sin. You may think I toss off that Lutheran-y phrase flippantly, but I don’t. It’s taken me 32 years to begin to figure out that my sinful nature and resultant sinful deeds are the biggest problem in my life, and I still don’t truly believe that every single day. But I’m starting to understand why the gospel has to be central. I’m starting to understand why I can’t focus primarily on living my Christian life. Although, now that I’ve realized that, I feel a bit less happy-go-lucky than I did before. But I appreciate my Savior more, and that’s what Christianity is truly all about.
Life here on earth is not perfect. Life is not fair. Life here is nowhere close to what it will be in heaven. And — that’s okay. Because it’s not about my life here, it’s about my life there.
Bad things happen on earth, and bad things happen to believers and unbelievers. But God promises that no matter what those bad things are, whether they’re our own sins or the results of living in a sin-filled world, he works things out for the good of his children. So I am left with no choice but to trust that. I trust it imperfectly, to be sure. But if I can trust God with my biggest problem, my sin, then I have no choice but to trust him also with the current situations in my life.
Everything will work out for good. It’s all okay. It’s already okay. I don’t know how, I don’t know … any more than that, but God is in control, and it’s okay.
And no matter how much my emotions and my body fail in believing that, I try (I pray!) that my soul will remain strong in that promise. God is working things out for my good and for the good of all his children.
Somehow, someway, it’s all going to be okay.
(Yes, I realized that I didn’t mention specifically what I’m anxious about. Perhaps the time will come for that information, but that time is not now. But these situations are not going to go away soon, and they may have a dramatic effect on my family. If you would be so kind as to send some prayers heavenward on our behalf, I’d greatly appreciate it.)