Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Anxiety: My Worry Box

I have found it. And I have opened it. It was scary. But that has changed everything.

You see, I have this imaginary box. In it I keep all manner of scary things, things that promise me harm. It throbs with foreboding. It rumbles. It keeps calling out to me with veiled threats.

So what is in this box? In general terms, this box contains things that will harm me unless I do something. Maybe I need to save money, fix something, do maintenance, have a difficult conversation, get disciplined, get specific direction from God, read a book, follow up with someone, plan something.

This box holds all those things that steal my joy. I know they are in there, but I dare not open the box. I could never cope with the crushing weight of so many problems and situations crying out for action. I keep the lid on the box, knowing that's the only way I can be safe. I preserve myself by ignoring the box, hoping it will just go away. Or at least be quiet for a while.

It's like the monster under the bed. Its existence haunts me. It rules my soul. Sounds from within it get my attention. It reminds me that I certainly must be scared. Now. I dare not let my guard down. I could not handle the catastrophe that would ensue. I would surely die, or be broke, or friendless, unemployed, miserable, a failure, humiliated, worthless.

Even when I deal with one of the items, I merely crack the box open enough to pull it out, refusing to look at the countless other burdens preying on my mind.

But now, with some considerable courage, I have dared to recognize this box for what it is. It is a huge deception, a bluff. When I do look in the box to see all those menacing problems, I realize that there is very little substance there. I look at the problems one by one and see that they are mostly empty. At worst they are complicated, but never unmanageable. Almost always they are no actual threat to me. When a truly unmanageable problem arises, I can trust that God is already handling it.

"He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord." Psalm 112:7.

Now I can laugh at the box. I can experience real joy. I can face those things that threatened me. I can stop putting off the tasks that I dread. They will not crush me.

What a relief!

What's in your box?