Bad Anxiety

Written on 03/03/2023
Christian Dunn

Verse: Matthew 6:25-27

25 “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? 26 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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Devotion: (written by a friend of mine!)
HAHA. This feels like one of those reminders that God has a great sense of humor. It’s not a mistake that I’m the one writing the devotion today. Before I looked at the verses  to write about today, I spent some time listening to the song Jireh (by Elevation Worship & Maverick City Music) on repeat. It’s become my anthem over the last year. Here’s the sense of humor: some of the lyrics state, “If He dresses the lilies with beauty and splendor, how much more will He clothe you? How much more will He clothe you? If He watches over every sparrow, how much more does He love you? How much more does He love you? It's more than you ask, think or imagine, according to His power working in us. It's more than enough.” If you haven’t listened, I highly recommend you go listen to it.

Hear me LOUD on this one. I can speak on behalf of our church when I say this is NOT a statement about clinical anxiety. There is no condemnation for medical conditions and I’m so sorry if anyone has ever made you feel bad by twisting verses. This used to be my least favorite passage in the Bible because people would throw this at me when my anxiety was spiraling out of control. I’m now learning to heal and understand the way the Lord intended it. I spent over ten years fighting to stay off of anxiety medication because this verse was used and manipulated in a way God never intended. It made me feel like a “bad Christian” and that I just needed to have more faith and pray harder. It took me spiraling out of control, covered in hives daily, and having multiple panic attacks a week to decide enough was enough. Clinical anxiety and related mental health disorders are 100% real. We fully support seeking out a doctor for support if that is what you are experiencing. God does NOT want you to suffer in silence. Mental health disorders are a chemical imbalance and God has provided resources to support our health. It does not say anything about your faith. God wants freedom from bondage for us, not suffering in silence. You are not alone, and there is nothing wrong with you.

So, the last disclaimer launches us into our devotion today. The interpretation is not a statement about medical issues, do not let the word anxiety trigger you like it used to trigger me. You can substitute the word anxiety for the word worrying it that helps you, the way it helps me.

Based on the original Greek translation, when it says not to be anxious about your life, it means to be careful about that which distracts your thoughts. It means to not be derailed by uncertainties in circumstances that God already has control of. We do not need to be consumed by thoughts of how to control our future when the Lord has already won our battles for us. God has taken care of His creation, which we can see when we look at the beauty of nature around us. I love this part of the passage because I connect with it so much. Stepping outside into nature is grounding for me, it reminds me that our life’s purpose is so much greater than the worry I’m fixated on. God takes care of the plants and animals of His creation, and He loves us even more than the creatures of the Earth. He is more than enough for us in every single moment.  He cares for us abundantly, He sees our hearts and knows our needs. Even though it may not always feel like we are living in comfort and that we are taken care of, God sees us, cares, and draws near to us as we face the burdens of a broken world.

The passage concludes with the reminder that worrying will do nothing good for us. It will not shape our circumstances into what we want instead. We are not meant to be in control and needless worrying will not add any value to our lives. The Lord can be trusted to be in control, just as He always has been. Instead, we can draw near to Him who sees the big picture and wants to trade our heavy burdens for a yoke that is easy and light. (Matthew 11:29)

This is a hard passage to dissect in a small devotion. I have a deep connection to this topic and I have endured the hurt of people treating this topic poorly. If you have any questions, would like to discuss this further, or would like someone to pray for you about this topic, please reach out to someone in your church, or a local counselor, for help!

Lord, thank you for giving me reminders that provide nourishment to my soul. When the world tries to overwhelm me and fill my head with lies, please let Your Truth be louder. Thank you for loving me and providing for my needs. Help me to keep a big kingdom perspective and trust you to have control of my life. Lord, remind me in moments when I fight for control that You are enough and that Your are for my good. Amen

Author: Becca Artymenko