The Weight of Anxiety

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The topic of mental health is a hot one in today’s world. As a result, institutions are focused on offering support to those who need it. Individuals are admired for talking openly about it, and organizations are popping up in many places to address it. Often, at the center of the mental health challenge is anxiety. Our society is increasingly more anxious about what is happening around us. Whether it is the uncertainty of the future or the overwhelming pressure of the present, people seem captured by a sense of anxiousness.

As a college professor, I see this with students. When I started teaching several years ago, the common reason for someone missing class or having an issue with an assignment was a physical illness. Today, it’s more often a mental illness issue. It’s always a challenge discerning what’s real and what’s a smokescreen because a student doesn’t do the things required of them; however, one thing is true; anxiety is weighing people down.

The word of God speaks to this topic in Proverbs 12:25, which says, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.” The phrase, “weighs it down” is written as “stoop” in the King James translation, which means “to prostrate in homage, to fall flat, to do reverence, to worship.” Whatever is the object of our anxiety will cause us to worship it or pay homage to it. According to the Proverb, anxiety will cause you to focus entirely on whatever makes you anxious, which takes your eyes off Jesus. When you consider the magnitude of what is taught in this verse, it’s probably no surprise that the scripture says don’t go there.

In Matthew 6:34, Jesus says, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day brings enough trouble of its own.” In Philippians 4:6, the apostle Paul follows the same line of truth when he writes, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” In both cases, we are warned, don’t go to anxiety. But, it’s not always that easy to “not” do something. However, this is where God’s word is so powerful.

The second part of Proverbs 12:25 reads, “but a good word makes it glad.” So, what’s a good word? In Isaiah 50:4, the prophet writes, “The Lord God has given me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens me morning by morning; He awakens me early to listen as a disciple.” The tongue of disciples speaks the word of God just as Isaiah spoke the word of God. The truth of the scripture is the only way to fight the lies of anxiety. Relief comes when we wash ourselves in the word of God.

What is fueling your anxiety? Is it something related to work? Read and meditate on the truth of Philippians 4:19. Is it something related to your marriage? Read and meditate on Ephesians 5:25. Are you struggling with an uncertain future? Spend time in Proverbs 3:5-6. The scripture offers a “good word” for every circumstance in life. Remember that a good word will make your heart glad, and a glad heart won’t have time to be anxious.

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