After church the other day, I was talking with a friend about a particularly stressful and anxiety-inducing situation she is dealing with right now. She is waiting on a decision to be made – by someone else – that will affect her life in real ways every single day, and her struggle in the waiting period is simply with the uncertainty.
“I’ve made it through other things, though,” she told me, “and I’ll make it through this. I’ll be stronger on the other side.”
I was relieved to hear her say that, because it showed she had reconnected with her hope in the midst of it. Nonetheless, I found myself saying this in response:
“Yes, you’ll make it through, and I’m sure you will be stronger. But just don’t let the anxiety take you down on the front end.”
I am convinced the words were from the Holy Spirit. I did not think them before I said them, and they were as much for myself as they were for her. As
the Holy Spirit went on to explain (through me), worry and anxiety don’t do anything to change the future, but they change today in ways we cannot reverse.
When we worry about something – or when I do, anyway – it is about how that event will affect us somehow in the future. What we don’t recognize, though, is that the event can rob us of today. Worry is, essentially, allowing ourselves to be destroyed today over something that may or may not hurt us at some point down the line.
And isn’t that the danger? Our enemy keeps us so focused out ahead of ourselves – ahead of where we actually are – that we don’t see what’s right under our noses. We are so wrapped up in the “what if’s” of tomorrow that we don’t see the “are’s” of today.. We apply so much mental effort to trying to change what’s still out on the horizon that we don’t realize we’re changing what’s right in front of us.
And friends, I am convinced that that is exactly what our enemy wants. Satan seeks to rob us of everything Jesus died to give us, with peace and joy sitting at the top of the list. If he can get us to do it to ourselves by holding our thoughts hostage, that is even better for him.
The words I said to my friend were, hopefully, helpful to her. They were meant for me, though, and have given me something to think on. Anxiety is powerless……..except for the power I give it over my present situation. As Satan works to nullify the power of the cross in my life, I too must work to render his weapons against me completely, embarrassingly impotent.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)