This week I had a couple friends that were caught in anxiety. I was trying to come up with some encouragement and a bible verse came to mind:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Immediately a picture of a man, knee deep in water, tossing a cast net into the waves came to mind.
I thought that was a nice picture. Just throw your anxiety out into the water and be done with it. But no, God was showing me something else. Anxiety is the net.
Anxiety is like a net, and we are the not-so-bright fish that are caught in the trap. We are swimming along in the shallow water of life and then we aren't. We are wrapped in a tangled grip of nylon and lead weights...and the more we struggle, the tighter the net wraps around us.
We find ourselves on shore in the hot sun, gasping like we ran a marathon and the fisherman standing over us...pulling out his scaling tool and fish knife.
I know that sounds a bit over dramatic, but if you've ever had a real anxiety attack...it's as if your heart is being wrenched from your chest and you can't breathe. It is debilitating and frightening.
So what is the solution? Anxiety is triggered by things we believe are true, whether its our job security, bills or family situation...we are very sure that the thing we dread is going to come true and our body reacts with the fight or flight response. Our breathing gets faster, our mind starts trying out all kinds of possibilities, our heart rate picks up and still there seems no way out of the situation.
So what if we introduced into our mind what is true about God?
Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25
What if we started to look up His promises to us about being our provider, our healer and our concerned Father? What if we started thanking Him for the little things as well as the big things?
I have found that the enemy always starts with our heads. If he can get us to believe we are what he says we are, then we stop believing what God says we are. And once we start doubting what God says, we are back in the Garden with Adam and Eve...staring into the eyes of that serpent that hissed, "Did God really say..." (Genesis 3:1)
Could it be that simple? It could be. Maybe it's time to start swimming in the deeper water of study. Pick up your Bible, find a passage that speaks to you and dive in. There are no nets there.
It's when we go swimming in shallow worry that we find ourselves already caught.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)