“Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me.” Job 19:21
Anxiety has been a long term way of life for me. Lately I have been really feeling the effects of stress and anxiety. I have believed my anxiety has been the function or doings of other people. What a lie!!! I would say to myself that this situation or that person made me become anxious. People doing or saying things around me when I become anxious does not equate to my anxiety being their fault. Anxiety is the way I respond.
By my request in prayer, the Lord has been opening my eyes to my anxious thoughts. Wow, I am anxious over so many insignificant things and I am learning that my anxiety is sourced from selfishness and pride. For example, during dinner with my immediate family and closest friends I found myself being anxious about getting my own words and stories in during the dinner time conversation for fear that others would not think I am important, valuable or fun. I began to speak lies to myself like: “I better say something in this conversation so I am included” and “I have a better story or can out do that ‘bee sting in the lap’ story.” My attention became about myself and how others would perceive me. I became anxious because I didn’t think others were thinking of me they way I think their perception should be of me [or I didn’t think others were thinking of me the way I wanted them to think of me.] Here is where it got ugly.
The Lord has been prompting me to state aloud the items I am anxious about, and He prompted me to say something at the table. The group was already in a jovial mood laughing and joking, and as I began to state what I was anxious about, everyone at the table continued to laugh at the absurdity of my anxiety. Now I totally agree with them, but at the time I reacted and began to get emotional about how nobody cared about my issues and struggles. What PRIDE and SELFISHNESS. My response was one of “come have pity on me and my problems.” What a bunch of junk!!! I praise God for the loving correction from my beautiful wife stating, “Quit looking for a pity party.” At that moment I made a choice to run away from myself and run to His face which changed my whole perspective on the situation and life at that time. Anxiety, who cares!!! It was no longer about getting others to feel sorry for me, or God getting rid of my anxiety, but seeking His face. His face is the only thing that is peaceful and pleasing. It was seeking the very face of God that changed my heart. Seeking Him changed my heart, not my circumstances.
God is showing me that living life isn’t about Him fixing our problems and living a more comfortable life, but about seeking the One who created me; the One who loves me unconditionally. My heavenly Father always has an open door and wants to sit with me where ever I am.
“My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘LORD, I am coming.’” Psalm 27:8 NLT
“Seek the LORD and the strength he gives! Seek his presence continually!” Psalm 105:4