Help for Anxiety

calm and anxiety t

After our worship service a few weeks ago, someone hit me with a pleading question. “PC, in one sentence, what has helped you most in dealing with anxiety?”

Have to admit it. I immediately dropped back ten and punted. “Can I ponder that for a bit and get back to you?” Then, I thought, wait a minute, I have an answer. I told her that since returning from my sabbatical I have been operating daily with a new motto in mind:

Expect nothing; enjoy everything.

I’m not sure anything has ever helped subdue my anxiety demons more effectively than this little phrase. Why expect nothing? Because I don’t deserve anything. Well, that’s not entirely true. This sinner deserves judgment. That’s why I often respond to the question, especially from strangers, “How are you?” with “Better than I deserve.” because it’s entirely true.

But back to the anxiety issue. The longer I live, the more Psalm 115:3 becomes my life verse. “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” I control very little in the big scheme of things. Keep the expectation bar set this low and you’re liable to avoid a lot of disappointment. God is in control. He will do what He will do. I remain on a need-to-know basis.

Why enjoy everything? Because God gives graciously. First Corinthians 4:7 also competes regularly for my new life verse. “What do you have that you did not receive?” Answer, nothing. Everything I experience daily – salvation, life, breath, health, family, vocation, food, drink, friends, housing, books, faithfulness, fruitfulness – the list could go on infinitely – comes to me as a gift from above (Jas. 1:17) for which I am immensely grateful when I consider the alternative.

Expect nothing; enjoy everything.

Take a dose of that every day and you likely won’t have to call me or any other pastor in the morning.

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