Do not be anxious.
Easy to say, isn’t it?
Harder to do.
I wouldn’t normally say I’m a person given to anxiety. I would, however, freely admit that I get overwhelmed. Perhaps they’re not entirely different.
God’s Word speaks about anxiety and how He wants us to handle it:
…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6 ESV)
The Greek word translated “anxious” is mérimna. It has some of the meanings we’d expect, such as worry, fear or care. But it also carries the connotations of being drawn in many directions, fracturing a person’s thinking into many parts.
Yes. That’s me. Is it you, too?
When I find myself overcommitted, overtired and stressed, my thinking is fractured into distracted fragments. I bounce from task to task and back again, often neglecting my relationships with God and those I love, simply to try to get something removed from my mental queue.
A series of events in my life have resulted in fewer commitments on my plate. Those that remain have escalated in their importance and gravity. Though the stakes are higher in those places, I’m finding that having fewer “parts” to manage is creating a mental clearing for me. My mind, instead of being drawn in many directions, is concentrated on only those things of great weight.
I feel less anxious about them. Not because a positive outcome is certain. Far from it. But because my heart and mind are stayed on just those things of great import to me. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus corrects Martha for being distracted, “anxious and troubled by many things.” He invited her to sit, alongside her sister, Mary, with Him. Her work wasn’t done. And the passage doesn’t even tell us whether she stormed back into the kitchen or parked herself a chair to join them.
Focusing on the One thing–spending time with Him–helps me to see which things are needful and not become distracted by the many.
Will you pull up a chair and sit with Jesus today? I’ll save you a seat.