Anxiety seems to be on many peoples’ minds lately. Severe anxiety is becoming so prevalent in today’s society that it is increasingly being called a “plague”. Many of us experience anxiety all too often. Some anxiety is a normal part of being human, but too much anxiety can be crippling.
Jesus, too, was concerned about anxiety. He spoke to his disciples about it, pointing out that worrying is not a productive activity:
One important approach to managing anxiety is self-talk. Self-talk is the inner conversation we have in our minds during our day, the things we say to ourselves. Many psychologists believe that self-talk is very important to most people in managing their anxiety. If one’s self-talk is negative, anxiety will increase; if one’s self-talk is positive, anxiety will diminish. While we cannot control what happens to us in our life, we can exercise some control over what we say to ourselves about it.
Jesus suggested some positive self-talk to his disciples:
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! … Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you — you of little faith! [ Luke 12:27-28]
Jesus’ advice here is this: remind yourself, when you are feeling anxious, that God meets the needs of even the birds and the flowers, and you are much more valuable to God than those. Trust in God’s love for you: think of this love, this great love, when you are worrying. Tell yourself this: God loves me very much. He takes care even of the little creatures: how much more will he take care of me? I am not alone in my needs, God is present too; he knows what I need, and he loves me. Indeed, he does love you, and he cares for you. When you feel crippled by anxiety, take Jesus’ advice: remind yourself of God’s great love for you.