Anxiety and Easter
Easter was last weekend. From Good Friday to Resurrection Day and beyond there’s so much depth, hope and life that we can experience.
You’ve probably never seen anxiety and Easter in the same sentence and neither have I. Its such an odd combination. I do think though, that at the core they overlap a lot.
“You see, just at the right time, when we were still powerless Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might dare to possibly die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-9
Christ died for the unrighteous, the struggling, the broken-hearted, the suffering…the anxious. Christ died for imperfect people and promised us that one day, we will be free from all struggles.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4
I get anxious a lot. A lot isn’t even good enough to describe it. Some days (and this happens often), I wake up anxious. I wake up feeling like I am already defeated and the game is over. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. There’s another way with God.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
To the FULL. Did you really soak that up, friend?
No matter how you feel today, no matter how anxious and burdened you are, Christ came (and died and rose again) so you can live a whole, Holy Spirit filled, joy-exuding life.
And yes, some days might still feel terrible. We are humans with bodies made of flesh that feel pain, after all.
My struggle with this feeling of anxiousness can last throughout the day. It stops me from being productive and takes my eyes off of the immense power God has, and puts my focus on the power that my obstacles seem to have. But Christ died so that one day my anxiety and I will be eternally separated. Because he died, I know that my days of waking up anxious are numbered.
John Piper has a really good view - Psalm 56:3 - “when I am afraid, I put my trust in you” not “I never struggle with fear.” Piper says: “Fear strikes and the battle begins- the Bible does not assume that true believers will have no anxieties, instead the Bible tells us how to fight them when they strike.”
The apostle Paul encourages us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. - Philippians 4:6-7
Fight your anxiety through honest, vulnerable, heartfelt prayers. On days when you feel like you have absolutely nothing to be thankful for, pick the tiniest thing, come to God in prayer, and give thanks for it. On my really bad days, I just thank God for the sun. I thank him for all the rays that hit the skin on my face and warm me up. After you’ve thanked him for whatever tiny or huge thing you picked, proceed to enjoy it :)
Morgan Harper Nichols says it so well “Cling to joy: audacious, unbridled joy, that looks for light in everything, even in your waiting” - This joy is the joy given to us, as we dwell and live in relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It isn’t the temporary joy provided by our flashy world around us.
Your anxiety is not God punishing you. It is a by-product of our fallen, messed up world. Friend, don’t try to deal with anxiety alone. Above all, the root of my anxieties is that I’m trying to handle life all alone. Our hearts and minds will only grow more confused, more anxious when we focus on how we can or can not handle the obstacles of life. Bring your burdens to God. He came into our world to say “I will carry your anxiety for you, let me take your burden”. God promises peace which transcends all understanding; he promises to guard our hearts and minds IN Christ Jesus.
At the end of the day, we are not promised all that we want here on earth, God knows our immediate needs which have to be met, so we can become more holy according to his will. God is in the business of making us more holy, not more happy (although he delights in making us happy too!!). I’m not guaranteed freedom from anxiety, but I’m guaranteed peace in Christ - peace knowing that he carried my sins on the cross, that he bore my just penalty of death. And so, I am at peace, free from my biggest and realest anxiety - eternal separation from my Father in heaven.