Before we dive into the Doing Level, I wanted to give you some real life illustrations of fear, worry and anxiety on the feeling level.
My husband and I have 3 children, the youngest of whom just turned 16 yesterday. We have been contemplating selling our home for a while now and this has opened a whole arena of practical application of truth up to me, your humble correspondent in the area of fear, worry, and anxiety.
Our home is larger than we need at this stage of life and selling it would enable us to be more available for ministry and mission opportunities. However, in this current economy, selling a home is not easy as it was a few years ago and the value of homes is much lower than it once was. Our desire is to move into a condominium which would eliminate all the nasty snow removal and other tasks we no longer really enjoy.
Here is where it runs off the rails into the land of fear and worry. Two of the major components in anxiety of all types are, "what if" and "if only." I have seen that I can tie myself into knots of paralysis with these two little questions!
What if our house doesn't sell? What if the inspection reveals something terrible about the house? What if it sells but not for enough to make a large down payment on the new place? What if we cant find a place we like? What if the size we want is not affordable? What if we get an upper unit and then we can't sell it in the future?
I attempt to answer all these questions so I don't have to live in the land of "if only" one day. Those thoughts would go this way; If only we would have waited 6 months. If only we would have stayed in the house. If only we would have known about (blank) when we made this decision.
Do you see what an impossible situation this is? It is impossible to examine every "what if" and to try to do so completely discounts the sovereignty of God! What people who fret and worry must realize first of all that it is sin. When we worry what we are doing is meditating on things that are not either real or complete.
What do you think you will accomplish by worrying? (Hmm, didn't Jesus say that?) Can you change the future? Does your worrying help change one single thing? And...does worrying glorify God?
How is being fearful helping the situation? Does fear make you think clearer? Does fear glorify God?
To have fear, worry or anxiety as a way of life is exceedingly prideful. Whether you realize it or not you are subtly telling God that He needs your help to figure this all out. That God is not able to cause a solution independent of you and your worrying and fretting.
All of these anxiety related thoughts and feelings have got to be taken captive and brought into subjection to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
We are told to meditate on what is true (Phil 4:8) and real, lovely, praiseworthy, of good report, pure, holy, and I don't see things like "where will I live" and "will my house sell" on this list!
So, reading friends, this is where I counsel myself. And I tell myself all the same things I would tell you if you would ask me. It goes like this :
God is sovereign. He is in charge of every atom of all of creation. All things consist in Him, He holds it all together. He is faithful to do this every morning and He is trustworthy. Because He is sovereign nothing surprises Him. He already knows where I will live, how much my house will sell for (and He knows if it will sell at all!) and He knows how much where ever we end up living will cost too. My job is to live each day to glorify Him through service and love in every respect I am aware of. I am to prepare the house and research things to the best of my ability but in the end, God is God and I am not. I must trust Him and trust He has a plan for my family that He intends to prosper me and not harm me.
I either believe this and leave the worries and fears in His more than capable hands, or I continue to think that I am accomplishing anything worthwhile by wasting my efforts meditating on things that are not knowable by me at this time.
I think I will endeavor to opt for the first option...God is aware, God has a plan, God is in charge.