By Bob Zoellner
The pace of life, the demands of modernity and the stress of sometimes just surviving another day can bring about anxious feelings. Depression can also set in.
We were not created to live that way.
The believer has “become a new creation in Christ,” living above our circumstances, no matter what life brings our way at the moment.
Sometimes medication may be necessary, and wise intervention through counsel is recommended, even encouraged. We also need to learn how to deal with life as it comes.
An erroneous view of Scripture tells us that after conversion we will have nothing but smooth sailing. We still live in a fallen world, however, and we bear the consequences of that, through our own poor choices and the poor choices of others.
Life can be hard. Death, relationship problems, parenting issues, financial difficulties, workplace chaos, Tampa traffic or even being a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan can wreak havoc on our psyche. But we persevere, because we were not promised that life would be easy.
As the disciples approached some trying circumstances, Jesus said: “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33).
The best way to deal with anxiety is to simply pray. We have become good at talking about our troubles to whoever will listen, and sometimes that venting is good. Not everybody wants to hear our woes, though. But the Lord is ready for us to pour our hearts out. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” (1 Peter 5:7).
We also have to get better at leaving the past behind us where it belongs. We’ve all had successes and failures, but our problem is that we tend to relive them.
The apostle Paul learned the secret of letting the past go—to gain Christ. In his letter to the Philippians, he concludes: “…forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Author Gary Chapman, in his book, The 5 Love Languages, states, “I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday. They insist on bringing into today the failures of yesterday and in so doing pollute a potentially wonderful day.”
Once we learn to let go of the past, reconciling the good and the bad and learning to trust in the Lord through it all, we can live much more calm and peaceful lives, handling anxiety with grace when life gets tough.