Can you recall the last time you felt anxious? How did you experience it? Did you feel the anxiety in your body; racing heart, tingling in your arms? Or was it more emotional â€” your mind consumed with troublesome thoughts?
The fact is, anxiety affects all of us at one time or another. It can be genetic, brought on by circumstances beyond our control, or can be present because of underlying stress that we have placed upon our lives â€” which affects our lifestyle and eventually our bodies and minds.
God cares about our emotional well being. The Bible even addresses this issue of anxiety and worry: â€œDo 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 Jesusâ€ (Philippians 4:6b-7).
My grandfather raised his family in the La Crescenta area. He was an excellent husband, great father and an upstanding citizen in his community. However, he did not accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior until three months before he died. Yet he lived a life more indicative of Christian values than any human I have ever met. He did not lie, cheat, embellish stories, get drunk, and he rarely even ventured out of the house without his wife by his side â€” because he loved her so much.
With only a junior high education, this man worked his way to become vice president of a big company, and he was known for his ethics. This gentleman served his family, made a good living and loved his wife for 65 years. But this man suffered from anxiety. He would lie awake at night and worry about family.
As Christians, we are blessed to have the peace of God when we worry and struggle with anxiety. I thank God that if I ever have a sleepless, worry-filled night that I have the gift of prayer. But what did my grandfather do while he lay awake at night with worrisome thoughts without the peace of God? I have no idea. I simply know that sleep eluded him at times. Yet, he lived a moral life and treated his family and fellow humans with kindness and dignity. To me he is an example of how people should live their lives. Even as a man without a relationship with God early in his life, he behaved in a manner indicative of the fruits of the spirit.
How do you handle your anxiety? The remedies are numerous â€” prescription medications, drinking, drugs, shopping, sexual addiction, gambling, exercise, and even spirituality and prayer. As you can see, some of these examples have a negative connotation and others are more positive. We often have one or two vices that we run to when we are stressed. Even as Christians we may initially go to a negative fix before turning to God in prayer. However, God is the remedy that often works.
If you are experiencing anxiety, turn to your maker for comfort. If the stress is prolonged or extreme, seek help through professional counseling or a medical doctor, because sometimes God uses professionals to help us heal. But do not forget to involve God in the process. After all, He created our bodies and our minds. He knows the circumstances from which we suffer. And His plan is to heal us, get us through the bumps in the road of life and grant us peace. We have only to turn to Him for our comfort and our answers.
?The Rev. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN's column runs every Saturday. Reach her by e-mail at holyhouse9@ gmail.com or by mail at Holy House Ministries c/o the Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian, M.S. La Vie Counseling Center, 650 Sierra Madre Villa, Suite 110, Pasadena, CA 91107.