A few days ago I posted a meditation to my Facebook page posted below. It raised a very important comment about mental health and anxiety disorders. First, let’s read the post…
Here is the original post:
Posted by Richard Rohr, OFM on Jul 31, 2020 5:00:00 AM
For Jesus, faith is not opposed to not believing in God, it doesn’t mean you go to church, or that you’re into religion or that you say “Lord, Lord!” (see Matthew 7:21). Faith for Jesus is the opposite of anxiety. If you are anxious, if you are trying to control everything, if you are worried about many things, you don’t have faith, according to Jesus. You do not trust that God is good and on your side. You’re trying to do it all yourself, lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. The giveaway is control. That’s a good litmus test of the quality of your faith. People of faith don’t have to control everything, nor do they have to change people. You have the wisdom to know the difference, as the Twelve-Step people say. You cannot “fix” the soul. “Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself ’” (Matthew 6:33-34a).
—from Jesus’ Plan for a New World: The Sermon on the Mount by Richard Rohr, OFM
I love Matthew 6. It is my favorite chapter in our Bible.
I am about to say something that may offend some of you.
God does not want us to have anxiety.
ANY anxiety. It is not what He called for us to do. In fact, he devotes an entire section of Matthew 6 to this matter. Here it is:
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)
Our society thrives on anxiety. Our society thrives on busyness, stress and worry.
This is not the will of God. I have anxiety. I have had at times debilitating anxiety with my heart pounding in my ears and my mind swirling as I capture my thoughts so I can leave my house. But, why?
I do not trust God.
I do not trust him to get me safely to my destination. I do not trust him that the person I have to have a meeting with will not say something I don’t understand, demean me or make me feel I am not good at my job. I do not trust God to protect me in social situations because I have what society has dubbed “social anxiety.”
I don’t even work with mean people. It’s just how my brain works.
Oh, we love our anxieties. But we don’t have to have them. When did we decided that having anxieties is how we need to live? It’s like a badge of honor.
The worries and stresses of life have taken over. But this is not what God intended. I want to hold on to things. EVERYTHING. I want to control my circumstances, situations and outcomes. But, here’s a secret I discovered since I posted that post on Friday–I have no control. Over anything. Absolutely none. Only God has universal control. And, the moment I trust him in it, I experience peace. Not worry.
But why is it so hard to give God our worries? I “trust” God. I do. Or, at least I like to say I do. I write about God, for God and of God every single day. Yet, I still have worry. But as I pray and peel back the layers, I understand now thanks to my friend who commented on my post that all of my anxieties are truly my lack of trust in God. ALL of them. Believe me, I’ve been super analyzing this since our comment exchange. And, today I know longer wish to have worry in my life. So, God, I pray right now for you to increase my faith like that father in Mark 9: 23-24:
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (NIV)
God cares about you. He cares about every single nit picky, piddly worry you and I have. Give them to Him and see what happens. I will too!
So if I have offended you today, I want you to think. Who are you giving the power to in your life? God? Or your false sense of control? And, I want you to know one thing–I’m right there along with ya.