Be anxious for nothing (Thought for August 2019)

September 1, 2019

in Monthly comment

I was reading an article today (27th August) about anxieties that particularly millennials suffer from. Specifically, it was about ‘Errand paralysis’ — a condition where errands pile up on you and you just simply can’t get around to doing them, not necessarily because you run out of time, but because they grow into big monsters in your head that you feel unable to tackle — and so you end up with hundreds of unread emails, a mess in your home, a frazzled mind and heart, and such like. It sounds like a modern, primarily Western condition — somehow I can’t imagine these being primary concern for, say, African parents struggling to make ends meet. Indeed, there is a kind of anxiety that primarily affects us in the West with our comparative ease of life when it comes to getting our daily bread.

Think about it: as Christians in the UK, we rarely utter that part of the Lord’s Prayer with trembling in our hearts — we are largely used to Him kindly providing for our bodily needs. We’re not, most of us, living under the poverty line — unlike in the times of Christ. But our knees proverbially, maybe even literally buckle when we read, “Do not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6) — er, anything? But I have so much on my mind: decisions I have to make; studies I have to do; people I need to get on with, please, or at least not offend; figuring out what God wants me to do next; jobs I need to perform — and about a thousand smaller things I can’t even think about right now. Anything?

The article was not written from a Christian perspective.

It offered a solution, though: delegate. Share your responsibilities, and that should help. Sound advice on one level, that’s for sure — and you may need to do that. But this solution is only skin-deep. What does God say on the matter?

In the same verse as quoted above, Paul tells me to pray when I am anxious. But how can I pray in a mindset like this? Yes… If you’re looking for a quick-fix-arrow-prayer that is just the right one for the situation, works instantly and dispels the mist or anxious thoughts, indeed you may find it doesn’t come. It might. It might not. Here, though, comes a great comfort to me: when in my weakness I don’t know how to pray, I am being helped in that weakness by Someone Who does: the Spirit of God (Romans 8:26-28). He Himself intercedes for me. And He does know what to pray for, because He knows the mind of God.
What may I feel when asking for this help? Presently, maybe nothing — maybe just groans. The cloud lingers, the problems are unsolved. But I preach this truth to myself: I rely on The Triune God — the Father Who chose me, the Son Who gave up His life for me, the Spirit Who helps me in my weakness —, and not my own ability to tackle life. Eventually, this will sink in. Till then, I pray on, fixing my eyes on Him.

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