A few weeks ago it arrived, an email slipped into my inbox, unexpectedly. It was from my sister and it spoke of anxiety.
I read it, nodding in agreement, closed it and largely forgot about it. I had no way of knowing that, only a week later, I'd be searching it out, digging through the contents of an overgrown inbox to find the words she had typed a few days before.
As this season begins to draw to a close and I set my eyes on the coming Fall, my heart skips a beat and I let it come flooding in: anxiety. Worry about school for the kids, extra curriculars, obligations, more scheduled days. Stress about just how homeschooling 3 kids with 2 crazy little boys running around a tiny house in the ice cold winter will work out. I can feel my pulse quicken and my cheeks flush just thinking about it. At night, I can't sleep - a thousand lists and worries playing a constant loop in my mind.
And yet - we're told not to be anxious. Not just encouraged not to, but told rather directly "do not be anxious." It's right there in the Word of God. Do not be anxious. I read the words over in her email and crack open my bible to the spot to see them for myself.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God."
Sometimes being anxious feels oddly good. All that energy, rushing blood and mind throbbing stress can make us into anxiety junkies. Making up the lists and tackling them with manic motivation gives us the illusion that we are somehow the catalyst for how this all goes. The problem is, when we wear anxiety, we block peace. No amount of anxiously darting here and there and attempting to take on the world with our own strength will give us peace. That is reserved for those who can let go of the reigns and shed anxiety.
Could I let it go? I can't comprehend how it could work, how letting go and refusing to get anxious could possibly yield a good result. I must be proactive! But here is where the very next verse comes in and addresses these very thoughts -
"...and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
I don't have to know how it works...or have it all figured out. I just need to trust and obey...and, in shedding anxiety, let Him shower me with peace.