DEALING WITH ANXIETY.
Everyone has anxiety at one point in time or the other. Take for example the feeling you get when you’re on your way to a job interview or going for an exam or even taking the opening speech for an upcoming event…that feeling of fear, eagerness or nervousness is anxiety. However, it gets to a certain level when it is no longer normal. When it is persistent, extreme and prolonged, then, we are dealing with an anxiety disorder. The College of Medicine, University of Ibadan defines anxiety to be intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. And I know that mental health conditions like this aren’t easy to break out from hence, the purpose of this week’s post.
The unnecessary pressure on everyone now is to become the next Bill Gates. Now, don’t get me wrong, wanting to achieve the goal of being a ‘big shot’ in the world is not bad but so many have been so pressured by the demands of their goals that they have now caught the get-rich-quick syndrome. Not only does it constitute to greed, it also leads to compound anxiety such that at every point in time, money is the only thing the person worries about. God says that ‘you need to be calming down, you must rest a little’. Your being anxious on things like that would only lead you to making decisions detrimental to you on the long run. It can hamper your destiny…avoid it! Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it [Proverbs 13:11]. Do not be in such a hurry about the money…slowly and steadily work for it. The tomorrow that you are so worried about, will take care of itself. Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under earth“ Ecclesiastes 3:1. You have to understand that everything has its time for fulfilment [Ecclesiastes 3]. Getting anxious over something that already has a set date, I’ll say, is a waste of energy. Here’s a tip: do not compare yourself to anyone…everyone also has their time to shine. If you believe God to be your heavenly father and you believe He provides for the birds of the air and waters the plants how much more you, His beloved child? [Matthew 6: 25-34].
“I’ll be happy when…”. If you keep living your life on this statement, you are sure to keep wallowing in anxiety. The search for what we call ‘greener pastures’ is a never-ending search. It puts you in a position of constant agitation that you have to get to ‘the destination’. So many people have put themselves in messy situations because of this. You should not be happy when…you should be happy now! It is important to know that wherever you are now is where God wants you to be and Gods plans are always better than ours [well, as long as you are a child of God]. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11. God put you in the place you are now for a reason, it’s all according to His plan. Everything is working according to His excellent plan for you. Quit being anxious of the ‘when’ and start being satisfied and optimistic of your ‘now’. Don’t be happy when…be happy now…don’t stall your joy because of an untamed eagerness.
The last but not the least of the factors of anxiety is fear. Fear and worry go hand in hand. What if this and what if that? When you live in fear of tomorrow, or of the next possible event, or of what could happen, or what someone could say, then you need not wonder why anxiety has eaten deep into you. Your fear results into worry and worry, anxiety. My mom used to be afraid of travelling so much. She’d worry about the slightest thing going wrong. From the day it’s decided that she’d be travelling till the moment she gets to her destination. She’d be worried about the possibilities of something not working right. The truth about the matter is that her worrying and fear only made things worse for her let alone help the situation. Jesus asks in Matthew 6:27 that “Which one of you, by being anxious can add one moment to his lifespan?”. Your worry doesn’t cause your ‘problem’ to move a muscle. Take advice from Philippians 4: 6 which says “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”. Worrying or harboring fear doesn’t help. God doesn’t calm worries, He answers prayers…but everything you need to remain calm, He has given you in His word. Little wonder why the Psalmist said in Psalms 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Trust in God is the best substitute for anxiety based on fear.
The summary of anxiety in Christians is doubt. Everything we worry about has already been covered by the bible. It is doubt in God’s word, lack of faith, that would cause a Christian who has a Bible to be anxious. It’s the devil’s best tactic to disorientate God’s children. Whatever poses a problem to you, take it to God. I gave an example of my mom’s former disposition towards travelling. Had it been she had trusted God’s word in Isaiah 41:10 saying “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” travelling won’t have been so worrisome to her. God wants you to trust Him and have faith in His word.
In the kind of world we live in now, so many things could make a person anxious. But God who knows all things including how best to live has something to tell you…He says you don’t need those anti-anxiety pills anymore because He has something better to help you tackle anxiety. He says in 1 Peter 5:7 that you should “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you”. I’ll end with Proverbs 12:5 “anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad” that good word is the Word of The Lord…stay glued to it…keep believing it.