Most of us likely feel considerably more anxious today than we did one month ago. Uncertain times and circumstances beyond our control cause our thoughts to wander down dark paths of “what if”. What if this gets worse? What if this last for longer than another month? What if we don’t have enough? What if our family gets exposed?
I’m sure your mind has walked a few of these dark paths too. Have you found anything good on those paths? Did you find yourself feeling happier, stronger or better in any way after the barrage of “what if’s”?
No, and you never do.
So how do we control those thoughts when we can’t control our circumstances? How do we shine light on this darkness?
The word used in scripture to describe worry or anxiety is mirimnao. It’s a combination to Greek words, one which means divide and the other which means mind. It literally means divided mind.
To worry or have anxiety is to have a divided mind. To feel anxious is to have your mind divided. Faith tells you one thing and fear tells you another. The result is anxiety.
I’ve heard it said if you really believe in God, you wouldn’t struggle with anxiety. If you really trusted God, you wouldn’t worry. May I personally say I believe that is a load of BS directly from the enemy to further drive us into a downward spiral of guilt, shame and darkness. Now I’m not only anxious, but I’m convinced there’s something wrong with me that I can’t just trust God.
Honey, it’s completely normal to feel anxious. Those “what if’s” are not always just imaginary threats. They are real. They are possible and we were never guaranteed to be spared from all of this.
Understand the reason fear and anxiety is talked about so many times in the Bible is because it is REAL and we will all be touched by it.
Anxiety, a divided mind. You know God will provide for you, right? You believe that. Yet, when the money isn’t there to pay the bills, it causes you to stress. There’s a division there.
And God understands that division. You don’t have to be ashamed of it. We simply need to surrender that division to God and ask him to help bridge that gap. The gap between faith and fear. The gap between believing and seeing.
In Mark chapter 9 we read of a father who is seeking Jesus to heal his son. In verse 23 Jesus says to the father “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” And the father who knows how long his son has suffered, who knows not a single doctor has been able to help, who knows there is no cure for his son cries out to Jesus in verse 24 “Lord, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
What is he saying here? He’s saying I’m struggling. My mind is divided. I believe, yet I don’t see it. I have faith but I still struggle with fear. The “what if’s” are still real.
And what did Jesus do in response to this man’s anxiety? He healed his son right before his eyes.
God doesn’t turn away from you because of your doubt. He isn’t limited because of your “what if’s”. He can plow right through your divided mind, if you ask him.
And that’s the key, if you ask him. What did the father say? “Lord, I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”
I do believe you will provide for me, help me overcome my unbelief that makes me question how.
I do believe you are here in this with me, help me overcome my unbelief that puts so much pressure on me.
We don’t have it all together. That’s the truth. You can stop pretending like you do. We simply can’t see what God can see. All we can do is trust he does see it all and he’s working all of this together for our good.
And when we trust him, that divide begins to lessen. The gap is filled.
Our own understanding can’t figure this out. Our own ways won’t fix this. We are here in this holy place of complete dependence on the Almighty. The one who has known the details of today since the beginning of time.
When I visualize my current thoughts, worries and fears I see two pieces of wood stretched across a divide. I’m walking these two planks trying to get from where I am to where I want to be. In the beginning, they are merely inches apart, making it easy for each step. My left foot on the left plank and my right foot on the right plank. But as I continue, the planks are growing further and further apart, making it increasingly difficult to continue walking this way. Now I’m at a point that I cannot continue as I have walked using both planks. My legs are stretched and I can go no further.
These planks represent our divided mind. One plank tells us God will provide, and the other plank tells us the money is running out. One plank tells us God will strengthen us, and the other plank tells us we can’t keep going like this.
In the beginning we could walk both, but now the divide is wide between the two and we must choose. If we want to move forward, we can no longer walk both planks. Both feet must be firmly placed on one.
This is what it means in Proverbs 3:5 when it says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Hop on over to God’s plank, his way, and don’t try to walk both. This thing won’t make sense and I’m beginning to understand it doesn’t have to. Because when we submit to him and surrender full to him, he will make our paths straight. He will take us where we are going. This is where we find our peace and our minds are calmed and no longer divided.
Lord, help me get fully on your plank to walk across this great divide.