Anxiety. Some seven letter word that we use to try to describe a feeling that can’t really be described. It seems that the experience of anxiety is as unique as the individual experiencing it. For many years (pretty much until I came to The Village) I didn’t think that I suffered from this affliction. And those Christians who did, I callously supposed, should just “cast your cares (or anxieties) upon Christ because He cares for you.” (I Peter 5) Simple, done, period, end quotes. This careless and inexperienced approached seems to have lost its efficacy over the years.
I started a new job this week, and have been experiencing consistently high levels of anxiety throughout most of my days there. The physiological experience of anxiety seems to so overwhelm my system that it renders me incapable of movement or purposed thought. Feeling trapped and helpless, I try to take some deep breaths. This is difficult, because it requires focus and concentration. I go on short walks. Drink lots of water. Try to eat good calories. Listen to my favorite Village music. But still, my experience of anxiety is what overwhelms. I try to reason through where this anxiety could be coming from. What am I afraid of happening? I thought I had everything in order, and that I was a cool, calm customer. Why am I getting so frazzled? Ugh, my new coworkers can tell! They see that I’m bothered and upset, not chill and in command.
At last, I’m able to take 10 or so minutes. I go and sit in my car, where my Bible sits. I’m in Daniel, which I’ve really enjoyed. Some truth hits me as I read through chapters 9 & 10.
“…for you are very precious to God (9:23)”
“Daniel, you are very precious to God… (10:11).”
“Don’t be afraid, for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong! (10:19)”
What, me, precious to God? I’m just a wreck, a hopeless headcase. Far from precious. And yet the invitation from Jesus remains, softly and clearly. Believe that you are who I say that you are. My thoughts about you are what define you, not yours or theirs. You are so precious to me. Do not fear! Be filled with my Peace. Take heart, and be strong.
Whose voice will I choose? The voice of fear is strong, and what I feel. Yet, this other voice, this is where Truth is. And Grace. And everything Good. I will follow this beckoning.