“Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petition shot through with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, let your minds be filled with everything that is true, everything that is honorable, everything that is upright and pure, everything that we love and admire — with whatever is good and praiseworthy.”
– Philippians 4:6-8
“Hello, my name is Mike. I am a scientist and a sports coach–and I’m an anxiety driven worrywart.”
There, now I feel better getting that off my chest. Common wisdom says admitting to a problem actually is the first step to recovery, right?
I am an anxious person. Always have been. I fret over details, which is probably a reason I am a decent scientist and a decent sports coach.
I worry about things, so I can have a plan when, or if, those things ever arise. Sometimes it is a curse, sometimes it is a blessing. I work very hard to control the anxiety, though. I know it is important not to allow the worry and the anxiety to collapse into fear.
This brings me to the Paul’s quoted verse from Philippians. These two rather grammatically complex sentences are a guidepost for me. I think of them as a “Shining Light of Hope” for my anxious tendencies. Knowing God is there always helps me draw a distinct line between being prepared for anything and living life in paralyzing fear.
The first part reassures the anxious me and reminds me I can’t control every detail in my life. It grounds me to God’s mercy and guidance, while telling me God is on my side and understands me. All I have to do is ask and God will provide with a knowing peace the things I need. This is a great feeling.
The second part relieves my anxiety about life. It is a list of how God wants me to live. There is no longer any question or worry about my place in the world. Paul lists the road I should travel to be a faithful servant of the God who loves me beyond all measure. Be true, be honorable, be upright and pure, be something to love and be admired to the point that everything about me is good and praiseworthy. These verses from the Letter to the Philippians provide a good road map to carry in my back pocket.
Hearing this from St. Paul lifts the weight of anxiety from my shoulders. Just knowing this breaks the shackles of worry that drag me down and keep me from being open to God’s love. Allowing myself to relax in this glorious gift, gives me the opportunity to shine bright and be the person He believes I can be.
Let’s see. Take a deep breath, say a little prayer, and try again.
“Hello, my name is Mike. I am a scientist and a sports coach–and God is 100% behind me and thinks I can be an awesome person.”
Amen, St. Paul. Thanks for the reminder.
Don’t worry, trust God.
Copyright 2014, Mike Hays