The Root of Anxiety: Taking the Fear Out of the Unknown

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October 12, 2016

Welcome to Day 12 of Battling Anxiety with Biblical Truth!

Last week we let the sparrows remind us that our lives have value and the breath remind us that God sustains us with each inhale. And yesterday we left ourselves considering the lilies. We are well on our way to battling anxiety with Biblical truth and this week we are taking a closer look at those lilies in Jesus’ appeal of Matthew 6:25-34.

Depending on which translation of the Bible you read, you will find a slightly different heading for this particular section of Matthew. Your heading for Matthew 6:25-34 might read Do Not Be Anxious, or Do Not Worry, or my personal favorite, The Cure for Anxiety.

Leading up to this series, I’ve thought a lot about the real root of anxiety. Regardless of how your anxiety manifests itself, I believe all of it can be summed up with this: Anxiety is the fear of the unknown. I don’t know if tomorrow will bring a visit to the emergency room or not so today is filled with anxiety. Or you don’t know if you will have the answer you need tomorrow so today is filled with worry. Or you aren’t sure how that thing will turn out tomorrow so today is filled with fear. Regardless of the details, all of it is rooted in the unknown.

If anxiety is rooted in the unknown, then it stands to reason that it’s cure would be found in what is known.

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Based on what Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25-34, we’ve got two ways to do that: we must ground ourselves in the present and familiarize ourselves with the One who knows the future. If we want to take the fear out of the unknown, we’ve got to take our attention to the known.

Considering the lilies is Jesus’ way of encouraging us to focus on what we can see in the present moment, and not worry about the various unknown scenarios wanting to play themselves out in our minds. I just adore that while the crowd before Him on the mountain is likely letting their minds run rampant with a million what-ifs, Jesus simply wants them to stop and smell the roses. Or the lilies.

When we take the time to notice what is right in front of us, we take our attention to the known. And the reminder about what is known is this: God lavishly cares for you.

When we root ourselves in the knowledge that God will take care of us, we gain the luxury of living in the moment. Anxious thoughts are refused entry to our minds and we are free to enjoy God’s presence in the present.

Living in the moment. Being present. Hmmm…sounds familiar to this yoga teacher. Join me tomorrow for some tangible tips on grounding ourselves when anxiety wants to take flight. I’ll also share with you my favorite piece of advice from my father. Hint: it has a little something to do with our verse from Sunday and our thoughts from today.

Until then, carry on warriors!

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