Many people today are living with an anxious heart – a sense of heaviness.
Something is weighing them down. They feel worried and anxious. They are trying to control people or events, and that means they can’t focus on what they need to do to move forward in their own personal lives. And often their biggest fear is losing control.
Have you ever felt you must have control of others? We try to control our children, our spouse, our friends, extended family …and we get impatient, sarcastic, mean and bossy. We become angry and controlling. And the amazing thing is that when we feel out of control, we use intimidation. We might bully others, or use manipulation – and do whatever it takes to get others to do what we want.
But the problem is we can’t control others. We can’t control the events of life around us, even though we think we can. And then things become worse – we become increasingly anxious, we worry, we become fearful; we live under this illusion that if we do everything right and control others around us, we’ll get the results we want. We think we can make it work. But it never works out the way we want. Maybe you’ve learned this lesson in recent times.
The Bible has a lot to help us get life in perspective.
- Proverbs 12:25 says “an anxious heart weighs a man down”. Even the things we think we can control because of talent or skill are not fully in our control.
- Ecclesiastes 9:11 says the fastest runners and the greatest heroes don’t always win races and battles. Wisdom, intelligence, skill, don’t always make you healthy, rich or popular. We each have our share of bad luck. We can make plans, but ultimately we must acknowledge our limitations.
- James 4:13-15 says, “What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life?” We cannot control events around us, but there are things we can control. Enjoy what we have.
- Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, be happy and enjoy life. “God decided long ago that is what you should do”. (CEV)
Imagine taking a long holiday where you rush in and rush out of everything you came to see. You’ll see a lot, but it won’t be an enjoyable experience if you can’t appreciate the present experience, or wishing you were somewhere else. It’s called “living in the present”. Take time to enjoy the blessings God has given to you. And make each moment special.
The Healing Power of Faith
Studies have shown that religious people are less likely to become depressed and anxious than their non-religious counterparts. Going to church often was shown to be associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression. It’s interesting to see that several studies showed that religious involvement can protect against mental and psychological problems.
In one study, 20 out of 22 people who practiced prayer or meditation to reduce moderate to severe anxiety showed marked improvement after three months.
We Can Control Our Attitude
It is actually our attitude toward what we have, that we can control. You can choose to be miserable or you can choose to enjoy life as it comes. Events will happen to us, things that are completely out of our control, but the attitude we have as we face those events – that is what we can control.
Each day we may need to remember this wonderful verse from 1 Peter 5:7 – God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to Him. The Amplified New Testament puts it this way, “Casting the whole of your care-all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all-on Him; for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you watchfully.”
We cannot throw away our troubles. We cannot run away from our problems or pretend they don’t exist. But we can get rid of the anxiety that is caused by our troubles. We can refuse to be burdened down by care. We can reject the kind of worry that disturbs our peace and distracts our mind. What we do instead is to turn to God.
Hand Your Worries to God
We find relief in God. We hand our worry over to Him so that we don’t have to carry our worry ourselves. We pour out our anxiety to Him in prayer. We cast our cares on God. When we do this, we can feel at peace. We can be calm even in the midst of times of trouble. We can experience the serenity that God promises and that Jesus exemplifies. God is big enough to carry our cares for us. We can’t really do this for each other.
Have you ever tried to tell a friend about your troubles, and it seemed like all they wanted to do was tell you about theirs? We often can’t ask someone to carry our burdens because they’ve got enough burdens of their own. But God has broad shoulders. God is so big that He can carry all of my burdens and all of yours. Even the burdens of the whole world are not too much for Him.
Therefore, Peter says to us (1 Peter 5:7), “Cast all your cares on God because God cares for you.” That may be the message you need to hear this morning.
- Explore more episodes of Morning Devotions with Chris Witts