When Anxiety Threatens To Steal Your Christmas Joy
I am excited to welcome Andrew Adams into our community. Andrew is a husband, father, Missionary Associate through the Assemblies of God, and blogger at heinspiredme.com. He is passionate about seeing people enter into life with God and helping them become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. He writes regularly on a wide array of Christian living topics.
by Andrew Adams
The holiday season is upon us (unless you are reading this after the fact…but it’ll be back soon enough!) and anxiety is filling the air. Everywhere I look I see busyness and worry amidst the joyful atmosphere. A smiling face is lost amongst the endless stream of shoppers.
I’ve always enjoyed celebrating Christmas. My wife looks forward to Christmas for months. Just thinking of Christmas fills her mind with songs, movies, lattes, hot chocolate, presents, and extravagant meals.
Many, however, dread December. This festive, joyous month becomes hectic, filling them with anxiety, a feeling of torment. They feel rushed and worried. Shopping, decorating, and cooking somehow steals their joy.
The Biblical Answer for Anxiety (Whether It’s Christmas or Not)
Matthew 6:25-34 is one of the strongest passages to use in the combat against anxiety. Jesus, in His infinite wisdom calmly and clearly tells us, “Don’t be anxious about what you will eat, drink, and wear. Life is more than food and clothing.”
We might respond, “Sure Jesus, but you never celebrated Christmas!”
But He goes on to paint a picture for us. Imagine a bird in overalls, plowing the field as his bird wife slaves over dinner and the kids. Or imagine a flower stressing out about which shirt to wear or if it matches it’s leaves. Do you see what Jesus does? He uses an absurd picture to point out what we ourselves do. His point? God provides. He feeds the birds. He clothes the flowers. Being anxious seems silly. It shows a lack of trust in God because we’ve taken our focus off of Him as our provider.
Jesus proclaims, “Don’t be anxious, God knows.” Instead, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and what you need will be provided.
Three anxiety killers:
God has a love so pure, so real and so TRUE, that it fills us with peace and joy. When we embrace Jesus Christ as Savior, our problems begin to disappear. He goes with us into our darkest times. We have a friend and savior to turn to. Whatever we fear, whatever we have done, and anything that has been done to us cannot compare to His endless love and peace.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
We must face our fears with truth, proclaiming ultimate truths and praying for help. But don’t be fooled. It won’t be easy. We live in a world of lies.
James 1:5-8 (MSG) states, "If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who ‘worry their prayers’ are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open."
It’s easy to trust ourselves. We have control over what we say and do. We have faith that we will do what we say we’ll do. It’s an entirely different situation to have faith or trust in God. Saying it is easy enough. But acting on it takes…faith!
Applying truth to overcome anxiety means we trust that God will lead us in the right direction and that He’s bigger than our fears. In faith, we know that God wants better for us than we want for ourselves, even when we do not understand it.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
When we don’t have God at the center, the world competes for that spot, and that’s when we become deceived.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) tells us to "cast all of our anxieties on Him because he cares for us." It takes faith and trust to take our situation to God and lay it at His foot, trusting that He will work in the situation. And in these moments, our faith can grow. It’s not comfortable, but transformation takes place.
Being thankful during a moment of anxiety sounds and feels counterintuitive. But it’s the key that allows us to recognize the truth and grow in faith.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.(Philipians 4:6, NKJV)
God is faithful and he wants the best for us. When we trust that, we do not need to fear evil.
"I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."(Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
Without God, we are left vulnerable to the tormenting anxiety that grabs a hold of us. Let God be the one who grabs ahold. We turn to Him and say, “I need you Lord” and He is there.
Psalm 56:11 says, “in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)
God's Truth. Faith. Thanksgiving.