Living Free from Anxiety – Matthew 6

Matthew 6

Do you suffer with anxiety and worry? You’re not alone. But God doesn’t want us living in a state of stress, and instead wants us to be filled with His perfect peace. In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus told the crowds, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’….Do not worry about tomorrow.” (Matt. 6:31,34)

Easier said than done right? Needless worry is something I struggle with every day. An expected call from my son that comes ten minutes late can send my mind racing.  In less then a minute my thoughts can go from he’s just running a little late, to he’s laying in a ditch somewhere unable to contact me. I become like a hamster on a wheel. My mind racing faster and faster, and in the end I’ve gone nowhere and accomplished nothing except raising my blood pressure and giving myself a stomach ache or a panic attack.

I did not grow up in a safe loving environment. And as a result, the concepts of trust and surrender were very foreign to me. The thought of giving up my perceived control over my life and circumstances was beyond a scary thought. But that’s just what God commands us to do. He tells us to trust in Him, and in His love.  To surrender to His ability to take care of every need we have.

In 1 Peter 5:7 God tells us to “cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” The word “cast” comes from the Greek verb “rhipto” which means to throw off or to lay down. It’s the act of deliberately laying something down and leaving it there. God is telling us to hand our worries and fear over to Him and leave them with Him!

Being fallen beings in a fallen world means that it will be in our nature to worry. But living a life of worry is pointless. It doesn’t change the outcome of any situation, and only adds undue anxiety. Jesus teaches that focusing on our worries will not extend our lives by even a fraction of a second let alone improve it. In Matthew 6:27 He says, “And who of you being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Spending our time worrying about what might be prevents us from experiencing the joy of what God is doing for us right now. And more often than not, things usually don’t turned out as we feared. A scholar once said, “worry about the future is wasted effort, and the future of reality is seldom as bad as the future of our fears.”

I am definitely a work in progress. One of the many things I am thankful for is God’s work in me about letting go and surrendering all that I am and all that I have to Him. I used to be so very tired.  Tired from carrying all of my burdens, worries, and fear. And tired of feeling helpless, defeated, and wounded. But through Jesus’ redemptive love I can find peace and joy. The freedom that comes from laying down my pain, fear, and worries at the feet of our Savior swells my heart to the point of bursting. And although it’s a constant fight, each day by trusting in God and striving to walk closer with Him, I can pray with peace and conviction,  “Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

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