Do Not Worry: On Anxiety

I’m a bit of a worry wart.

Or at least, I used to be. I worried about my GPA, I worried about my reputation. I worried about my future career, I worried about relationships.

Then I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I underwent outpatient group therapy at Meier Clinic, and it radically changed my life. Therapy validated who I am, why I am this way and who God calls me to be. It clarified how my upbringing and relationships from my past contributed to how I operate, think and feel.

It helped me put anxiety in its place: nowhere in my life.

God does not want us to worry.

I think worry and anxiety can be different things. Worry is a natural fear of whatever may be uncertain that can be combatted with rooting ourselves in scripture and seeking peace. Anxiety is a mental illness that some, but not all people suffer from. I happen to struggle with both.

In Matthew 6, we are told not to worry about what we eat, drink or wear. We are reminded God feeds birds and clothes flowers in fields, we are reminded we are worth far more to Him than creatures and land. We are called people of “little faith.”

Christ says to “seek first His kingdom” and all other needs — and at times desires — will be given to us as well. He begs us to not worry about tomorrow, because each day as “enough trouble of its own.”

Sometimes I don’t seek His kingdom first.

I go after the desires of my eyes, flesh and the pride of life. I become gluttonous with my time, I strive to succeed at work and to try to be happy rather than holy.

When I do seek His kingdom first, everything changes. I am overcome with a peace that transcends all understanding. I am radiant and joyful and know who I am and whose I am.

I now combat anxieties with Truths. If I fear someone doesn’t like me, I remind myself I don’t have to be liked by everyone. If I worry my disorder will overcome me, I remember God equips my weakness with strength. If I doubt my future, God washes me over with security in His plans.

It isn’t natural and it isn’t easy. Sometimes fear creeps into my mind and doubts plague me. But when I seek His kingdom first, when I rest in His truths, when I walk worthy, worries and anxieties cannot attack me. They cannot overcome me. They are paid for on the cross. They fall prey to the Holy Spirit within me, they are nowhere to be seen.

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