What I Learned About Anxiety

What I Learned About Anxiety

I went for a walk last night. I needed to focus my thoughts and slow the many that were racing. I began as a stereotype of our times—with my headphones blaring, but I soon removed them. The running music and the loud thoughts together were getting in the way. I had a lot on my mind and I needed to think clearly. I needed to figure somethings out. While I was doing my best to manage my fears and anxiety this passage providentially came to mind. It came, not while in prayer, but while seeking answers apart from it.

Matthew 13:22 (NAS): 22 “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Jesus is speaking to the crowds in parables; a kind of revelation in a riddle, but only to those who have ears to hear. The passage is from the parable of the sower. In part, it’s a means of explaining why some who reject Him don’t have ears to hear.

Consumed with my thoughts, the timely recollection exposed the folly and, more importantly, the danger of trying to managing my fears.

I had never considered until that moment that, in the mind of Christ, there are worries that are particular to the world that are antithetical to the fruitfulness of the word.

The Character of Anxiety

These are worries that are characterized by the world and it’s not hard to figure out what they are. They have become familiar companions. They can be reduced in any age to, how will I maintain the lifestyle I’ve set my affections on.

Jesus brings the worldly worries together with the deceitfulness of wealth. They are a fit pair. The deception of wealth is that it is the answer to all of our worries—the means to the lifestyle we pursue. All the while, it continues to allude our grasp. It stays just beyond our reach. It’s close enough to entice, but far enough to cause fear and anxiety.

These are not simply moral vices to be avoided.

Worry and the deceitfulness of wealth, according to Christ, have the power to choke the word of God out of me.

It’s capable of taking from me what has been sown in me. I had to let that thought settle on me. I needed the gravity. In the words of Jesus, even what I have will be taken from me, because of worry.

Worry Is No Trivial Matter

What a sobering moment. My fears and anxiety are not to be managed as unfortunate companions. I needed to humble myself and cast them upon the Lord.

1 Peter 5:6–7 (NAS): 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

In our world, worry has become so common and accepted. If you’re not worrying you’re not trying. We have taken fire into our bosom believing we won’t be burned. But worry is no trivial matter. It has the power to rob you of the fruitfulness of the very word of God sown in your life. The quick and powerful word of God can be rendered unfruitful. By worry, what has been given can be taken away.

So what’s the answer? What’s to be done. I had to humble myself. Trying to manage what I had to worry about was an exercise in pride. If I could manage them, there would be no need to worry. They required someone bigger and more capable than me. I needed to cast them on the Lord.

11 thoughts

  1. Just taking a moment to say how much my husband and I enjoy reading your posts. We are very thankful for this resource. Hope you and your family are doing well.
    Best,
    Bruna

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The writer’s argument was that the market place was God’s plan for the entire community to flourish. They completely missed the fact that with that system the plan for meeting the needs of the poor was alms giving.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wonder if this blogger ever read Revelation 18.

        “Come out of her, my people” is a very delicate translation of verse 4. The idea is more along the lines of John the seer telling a young man, “Pull out of that whore before your you orgasm!”

        Notice it is the MERCHANTS on their ships that mourn the loss of the great whore Babylon.

        But, of course, if you have a nest to feather, the temptation is to interpret the Bible in ways that do that.

        Actually, we all have this tendency. All of us. Me too. We must wrestle the Angel. There are a myriad of ways to remake God in our own image. Americans are masters of this evil thing. (I am American…. )

        So, it’s a problem

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s like talking to a wall.

        I don’t expect people to listen, really. I have persuaded VERY FEW with my arguments, and I have seen precious few ever persuaded by arguments. Doesn’t mean stop making them, but I learned as a Hospice volunteer when I was young, we don’t save many.

        On the same token… I must say, I have been persuaded by good arguments. I had to hear them multiple times, but I was swayed into much of the stuff I belive today.

        Good post.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been meaning to get back to this post all day. Sorry… been hectic here…

    Anyway…

    You wrote these sentences which I found insightful:

    “These are worries that are characterized by the world and it’s not hard to figure out what they are. They have become familiar companions. They can be reduced in any age to, how will I maintain the lifestyle I’ve set my affections on.
    Jesus brings the worldly worries together with the deceitfulness of wealth. They are a fit pair. The deception of wealth is that it is the answer to all of our worries…”

    But this one sneaked up on me:

    “It’s capable of taking from me what has been sown in me. ”

    Maybe it’s as poetic as it is insightful. Not sure, but you have illuminated depths for me in it I had not expected, and I have studied this passage (more so as found in Mark) quite extensively.

    Yes, we live in AMERICA! Yay! It’s great if you want a nice delusion (and who doesn’t?), but terrible if you want to be true to Jesus. The deceitfulness of riches and the worries of the world are capable of taking from me what was sown in me. I am American. I have a LOT of those things competing for my love and allegiance which in reality belong to Jesus alone.

    Yes. I think you could do a whole series of posts on just this one passage and the import it has for us.

    Liked by 1 person

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