Lord, Help My Anxious Heart
I’ve had many struggles in this life (I’m sure you have too); for the past 9 years chronic pain has taken center stage, but I would say one issue has been even more challenging to face - anxiety. I have a lot of really bad memories around chronic pain, the isolation it tends to breed, and some very poor interactions with the medical system in trying to find an answer. After three years of relative calm my pain has come back with a vengeance, and along with it waves of anxiety that at times feel as thought they might crush me. I know anxiety can also be a real struggle for moms - our world of social media and instant information is filled with endless reminders of all the things that might hurt or damage our kids.
So what do we do as followers of Jesus? How do we handle life when we feel as though we’re fighting a losing battle with anxiety, or our kids seem to be struggling with worry? Jessica Thompson with Proverbs 31 Ministries wrote an excellent devotional on this topic called “Lord, Help My Anxious Heart.” Jessica opens by sharing a story about her son, a skilled athlete who excelled at many positions in football during his high school career. However, when he got to college he was asked to move into an entirely new position, a move that was bumpy to say the least. The harder he tried to fix things, the more he seemed to fail, and the pressure created tremendous anxiety. Then one day a good friend shared this truth: “…his identity was not in how he performed, but his identity was in Christ alone. …he didn’t have to be afraid of failing because God was with him and loved him during every single play of the game — whether good or bad.”
Those are wise words that any of us could take to heart! In talking about her own kids, Jessica said, “Too often we tend to focus on what our children should be doing — instead of what God has already done and what He promised to continue to do for them. Maybe it’s time to give our anxious kids some good news instead of more commands to stop being fearful.”
What is that good news? How about Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Or Philippians 1:6: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Or one of my favorites over the past month or so - Psalm 56:3-4:
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?
I love the way Jessica stated these words of encouragement:
As believers, we’re promised in Philippians 1:6 that the One who started the work in us will complete it, as the strength to endure comes from Him. We are never left alone to deal with our anxiety. God promises to help us and our kids. He will be my help as I help them.
She also reminds us that there’s no shame in reaching out and asking for professional help if anxiety becomes too overwhelming. Thompson leaves us with these parting thoughts:
The truth is, God is holding fast to you and your children, and nothing will ever change that. Pray the Holy Spirit reminds you that you and your kids are held, you are His, He is with you, He promises strength, and He will keep you safe in His care.