In the 1990’s, the National Anxiety Center in New Jersey conducted a survey. The top 10 anxieties were found to be:
- Drug abuse
- Nuclear waste
- The ozone layer
- The homeless
- The federal deficit
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
I certainly don’t know how the survey was conducted, but as I look at their top 10 list, I must admit I didn’t realize I needed to be anxious about that stuff. That stuff, perhaps erroneously so, isn’t even on my radar. My top 10 list of anxieties would be far different than theirs.
Anxiety. We know this quite well, don’t we? It’s nervousness, worry, concern, unease, angst, and fear. Charles Swindoll boils worry down to simple math. Check it out:
- We worry when we add unnecessary pressure to an already full plate.
- We worry when we subtract God’s presence from our crises.
- We worry when we multiply our problems by inserting our solutions prematurely.
- We worry when we divide life into the secular and the sacred.
He’s right on, isn’t he?
The Apostle Paul’s charge to us in Philippians 4:6-7 is “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We have an uncanny knack for anxiety, don’t we? It’s so easy to get stressed out about our worries and fears, but Paul very plainly says to us, “Don’t do that!” (Easier said than done, of course!) Don’t worry, don’t fret, don’t freak out, fear not!
So, what are we supposed to do besides worry? Pray! Pray like crazy. Pray about everything. Tell God what you need. God specializes in getting us through the tough stuff we face. Trust Him. Talk to Him.
And according to Paul, what will be the result? Peace. You see, God has an amazing way of breathing calm into our chaos. When we give Him all the worries that consume us, He displaces our stress with stillness. Isn’t that cool?
As the anxiety of the Holidays approach, remember Paul’s charge to us. Stop stressing. Pray about the details. Relax. And remember that God is always right there to shower us with His perfect peace as we keep our minds on Him and trust in Him.