Fear and Anxiety in 2021
- Dr. Timothy Sumerlin - Denver, CO, USA • Feb 27, 2021
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. – Psalm 139:23
2020 was a year full of anxiety for many of us. 2021 seems to be more of the same. Anxiety is a feature of the human experience and God is not unaware of the challenges. I am reposting an article from Jim McCraigh which deals with anxiety.
How to Deal With Fear and Anxiety in a Time of Trouble
Unprecedented fear and anxiety are gripping many people in our country with ever-changing lockdown rules, quarantines, school and business closures, looting, riots, threats of violence, charges of racism, masks, contact tracing, media disinformation, and economic uncertainty. For many, it has become a mental health issue.
Since last spring, the way we go about our daily lives has been rapidly and radically changed. Comfortable routines of school, work, church, social events, dating, clubs, sports events, movies, and family gatherings have all been dramatically interrupted and often replaced with gut-wrenching stress.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the last election cycle, many people have come to feel isolated from friends and family. Suicides and drug overdoses are on the rise. Money troubles due to business closures and job losses have affected many. The visceral hatred of one’s neighbors abounds because of simple differences of opinion. Politically motivated violence is rearing its ugly head. Lies about almost everything are now commonplace in the media, schools, and even the government.
But there is a way to overcome our feelings of fear and anxiety.
First and foremost, don’t go it on your own and self-isolate with your worries. The key to moving past these feelings is to look for answers in a biblically-based church setting as opposed to the secular world. Why? The secular world will tell you that you have the power within yourself to overcome this. That is simply not true.
The only way we will fully recover from these things is through the healing power of Jesus Christ. Worldly ideas are not enough. They will always fall short. But, how?
By reading scripture regularly (especially the Book of Psalms), seeking pastoral counseling, and looking for programs in your church (with safe people) that deal with these types of issues. If there are none in your church, perhaps its leaders would be open to sponsoring one.
Our ability to overcome fear and worry is based on faith, not something that we can do or say. Faith comes as a gift from God through His Holy Spirit.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – Ephesians 2:8 NIV
While we may not be able to prevent all fearful or anxious thoughts from entering our minds, we can practice right thinking when they do.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6 -7 NIV
The fact is that God knows everything and is in control of it all (Psalm 68:20). When the disciples became fearful in a storm, Jesus first rebuked their lack of faith, then ceased the wind and waves (Matthew 8:23-27). God is constantly working behind the scenes in every area of our lives, even when there appears to be no visible evidence of it.
Throughout life, we will always face situations that will cause us fear and anxiety. But, in his letter to the Philippians, Paul assures us that we can find peace in every circumstance.
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. – John 14:26-28 NIV
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
Our world may be changing for the worse, but God is unchanging. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)