A battle for the heart

April 30, 2008 — Leave a comment

One thing I am absolutely convinced of is that it is physiologically impossible for anxiety and peace to co-exist in a person at the very same moment in time. These two states of being are engaged in an all-out war, and your heart is what’s at stake.

More and more during the course of day-to-day activities, I’m hearing signs of rising anxiety. The news reports on radio, TV, and internet are enough to push most anyone to the point of fear.

Then there’s the incredible oil prices, which are elevating prices of nearly everything, from gasoline to groceries and beyond. The mortgage crisis and record levels of consumer debt further exacerbate anxiety, as does this unbelievable political season. I have never been one to declare that the sky is falling, but I will not quickly dismiss today’s fears and anxiety as simple paranoia either.

In the face of increased stress, people seem to be working harder and longer hours, just to keep the bills paid. Stress leads to anxiety which can easily lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair, even clinical depression. Just today a client said to me, “I just feel so completely overwhelmed. It’s like one person just can’t make a difference the way things are now. I mean, it’s really scary how things are in our world.”

That is a true statement. After all, history serves as a pretty good indicator that things will likely get worse before they get better. We know that when the economy is bad, our society can seem to go nuts. Burglaries, thefts, and violent crimes all tend to increase in response to the rising stress level. So does marital and family strife.

Here’s the good news: Not one thing that is happening in the world is a surprise to God. In fact, He remains solidly in control. Let these verses encourage your heart today:

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, NIV)

Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-32, NASB)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your forebearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7, NASB)

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Regardless how crazy things seem to get in this world in which we live, my prayer is that your faith is firmly in Christ. If not, I’d love nothing more than to share that hope with you. Feel free to contact me.

If you are struggling to manage your fear and anxiety, please don’t bottle it up. There are people who can help you cope more effectively. Perhaps the most courageous thing you can do today is just reach out and ask for that help.

 

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