“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? 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? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:25-30)
Worry is a given in this life, it seems. So the real question is not so much how to eliminate it, but how to fruitfully deal with it and come against it. The human strategies for dealing with anxiety are many and varied. We can try to avoid or deny anxiety, using to old “if I don’t think about it, it will go away” strategy. But, as we all know, it doesn’t go away. At least not for long. Or we can run off into busyness, toiling and striving to arrange our lives in such a way that whatever it is that we are anxious about will never come to pass. Good luck with that one as well. Or we can let it totally consume and paralyze us so that it is all we can think about. Who wants to live like that?
So exactly how do we deal with anxiety in a healthy way? We do it, Jesus tells us, not by not thinking, or by thinking too much about what lies before or within us, but by thinking about him, and his care for us, as well as his care for our world. Jesus points us to nature, to looking at and considering how God cares for all that is around us. Then reminding us that he cares for us far, far more. When we really begin to believe that, when we really begin to live our lives trusting both his heart and his hand, then we will really begin to trust him, which will give us peace rather than anxiety. Try it today. When you are feeling particularly anxious, stop and take a moment to refocus your heart on the incredible love and faithfulness of our God. See if that doesn’t begin to give you some handholds in your battle against worry.