When a child comes from brokenness, whatever the reason may be – whether it be divorce, illness, addictions like alcohol or drugs, their world view tends to be broken. The map that we all develop to navigate this world tends not to work so well when the environment you are raised in is broken. Now, we don’t all start feeling fearful and anxious, but if you have a disposition to anxiety and fear that will certainly be magnified when you come from brokenness.
And I believe that you can come from a non-Christian home and fully have faith in life and never battle with anxiety the way that I have. I have before alluded to a friend of mine who is as skinny after having two kids as I was before having one – and she doesn’t have a body issue. But, she comes from a family life that allowed her to cultivate a positive outlook on life.
And cultivating that positive outlook on life has nothing to do with money or prosperity. It has to do with security – that as you face the adventures of growing up and separating from your family as you mature into adulthood, you feel secure in following that path. When that security isn’t given, you have fear that fills its place.
Now, I’m not saying that all children who come from broken homes are filled with fear – very often taking your child to a psychologist or a counselor to teach your children ways to navigate this life with security (i.e. life skills or coping mechanisms), despite the turmoil of their home lives can be very effective.
Now, you know, from reading this blog, that my parents are divorced, my dad was never at home, my mother was controlling and filled with anxiety herself and used me as a means to validate her issues and coupled with that I was naturally shy and fearful already. I did not have a chance to develop a healthy world view.
But, this is something that can be taught – because ultimately fear, anxiety or a negative world view has to do with a faulty belief system. When you correct that belief system, you very often correct the feelings of fear and anxiety that go with it. And this is the path that I have been on since that day my husband told me I’m negative and aggressive. And now, many years later, I can see what he meant so clearly. But, because the faulty belief system is intrinsic, it may take many years to relearn a healthy belief system. And there may be situations that arise that will throw you right back into that faulty thinking – but this is where God comes into play. God teaches us that through faith, life can be okay. Well, not that life will be okay, but more that we can handle whatever life throws at us.
Romans 8:28 King James Version (KJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Once we start developing that faith that allows us to navigate this life with a positive and healthy world view, we can really start embracing life.
John 10:10 New International Version (NIV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
When you read all the blogs on people battling with anxiety and fear, and you read how so many people are on anti-depressants, you realize that fear is something the devil can and will use (and does use) to prevent us from having that healthy worldview. And that God uses to bring us to our knees to bring us into a closer relationship with Him.
Do I still feel fearful or anxious?
All. The. Time.
But, I am realizing a couple of things that I am nurturing – that I hope will eventually become so intrinsic in my nature, that whatever feelings of anxiety I may experience in the future, will just flutter away.
One of the many things I am learning that God is on my side. I can trust His word that He truly loves me.
Romans 8:31 New International Version (NIV)
More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
And that God will never want any harm to come to me.
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
And if something bad does happen – like illness, financial pressures, etc, I can actually deal with it. I will cope and I will be fine.
Philippians 4:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.
But, most importantly, that fear and anxiety is not a gift from God. In fact, God has given us love, wisdom and a sound mind. So, therefor I have a choice in deciding to feel anxious or not – or perhaps a better way to say it is I have a choice in how I want to deal with feeling anxious.
2 Timothy 1:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
I came across this blog post a little while ago, which explains everything so nicely (please note that this was posted in 1988 … and is still pretty much relevant today.)
Unbelief as the Root and Essence of All Sin
Let me hang a bridge between last Sunday’s text and our concern today with the unbelief of anxiety. In Hebrews 3:12 it says, “Take care, brethren, lest their be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, leading you to fall away from the living God.” And verse 14 says, “For we have shared in Christ, if we hold our first confidence firm to the end.”
In other words the evidence that you have come to share in Christ—that you are united to him in saving faith—is that you hold that confidence firm to the end. Perseverance in faith is necessary for salvation. When a person is truly converted, the heart is changed so that now life is lived by faith (Galatians 2:20).
The new birth introduces a person into a life of warfare. That warfare is called the “fight of faith” in 2 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 6:12. And here in Hebrews 3:12 it is called the battle against unbelief. “Take care [that’s the vigilance of battle], brethren, lest there be in you and evil heart of unbelief [there’s the enemy in the warfare], leading you to fall away from the living God [there’s the warning against not taking the warfare seriously].”
Anxieties We May Face
And so we follow today the pattern of Jesus and Paul. We battle the unbelief of anxiety with the promises of God.
- When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with the promise: “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
- When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise, “So shall my word that goes forth from my mouth; it will not come back to me empty but accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
- When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9), and “As your days so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25).
- When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).
- When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the promise, “If God is for us who can be against us!” (Romans 8:31).
- When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise that “tribulation works patience, and patience approvedness, and approvedness hope, and hope does not make us ashamed” (Romans 5:3–5).
- When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).
- When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself; if we live we live to the Lord and if we die we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose again: that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living” (Romans 14:8–9).
- When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promise, “He who began a good work in you will complete it unto the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6). “He who calls you is faithful. He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). “He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
And yesterday when Rob and Gail got married, they printed the promises of God in the wedding folder. With these they have and they will fight off the anxiety of all the unknowns of marriage: “And the Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; he will be with you. He will not fail your or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
So I urge you in your warfare, take up the book of God, ask the Holy Spirit for help, lay the promises up in your heart, and battle on. And remember the promise of Proverbs 21:31, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”
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