Anxiety and the Kingdom of God1
With the birth of my second son, Gideon, came a whole host of “mommy fears” and questions. There were the common ones, like “Will I be able to handle two kids under two? Will I ever sleep again?” (The answer to that one appears to be no!) and ones like, “What will this do to my marriage? Will I be able to meet my spouses expectations of getting everything done?” Then there were the “irrational” fears, like “I won’t be able to save Silas from drowning if I’m holding the baby!” or “What if I’m holding the baby and Silas runs in front of a car?” All these fears, irrational or not, are completely normal. I understand that. But they also were revealing inside of me, and still ARE revealing to me, that my heart is prone to anxiety and a fear of not being in control of my kids. Or in control of anything, period!
I can’t control when they will interrupt my plan for the day, and I won’t have dinner ready when my husband gets home. I can’t control when I’m breastfeeding Gideon and Silas decides to throw a massive temper tantrum. I can’t control when one of them is always waking up at night. I can’t control when…fill in the blank. If you’re like me, then you can’t control a single thing your kids do or don’t do. And it causes anxiety to burst forth in the quiet of the night (Just kidding…the nights aren’t quiet.) Anxiety comes at inopportune times, and leads to anger, resentment and even depression when things don’t go my way.
That’s when this Scripture comes to mind. “Do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” There is so much truth in those two sentences that I could spend eight blog posts unpacking it. But suffice to say, this has been my anchor for a few months now.
To me, the fears are real. I have a real, terrifying fear that my son will drown. “The peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind…”
I get anxious about being able to adequately take care of my kids on very little sleep. “Let your requests be made known to God…”
I get anxious about what my husband and roommate will think coming home to a dirty house. “Do not be anxious about anything...”
David Powlison calls this applying a little bit of Scripture truth to a little bit of life. And as a mom of young kids, this is my lifeline. I don’t necessarily get extended time in the word every day. I’m lucky if I shower every day. But when those anxieties arise, I have a choice. And this is something I CAN control. How will I respond?
For you, it might not be anxieties about your kids or spouse. It could be something completely different. But the application is the same. We have a choice: will we trust God, or will we give in to the fears and worries that hound us?
Of all the people who have ever lived, I’m pretty sure that Jesus understands the most what the temptation must be like to want to give in to anxiety. Of course, He didn’t because He is perfect and completely trusted the will of God, that included being abandoned, rejected and humiliated at the hands of those He created. He willingly suffered the excruciating pain of the cross, and He willingly suffered the full wrath of God so that we did not have to. Of all the things to bring me comfort, this is the one thing that can bring it every time. My Savior understands, which is why He told his disciples this in Luke 12:
22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 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! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[c] 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,[d]yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his[e]kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
I don’t know about you, but if seeking the kingdom of God is the answer to my anxieties, then this is what I want to do. Everything else is secondary.
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