Loved this piece from CATALYST on a topic that affects all of us...
I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently, about anxiety. I’m sure there is a ton of research out there as to what causes it, and where it comes from biologically speaking, and I encourage you to ask an expert if you find yourself struggling. Here’s what I can tell you that I have constantly reminded myself these past few years.
ANXIETY, THE KIND THAT CRIPPLES YOU WITH FEAR, IS NOT OF GOD.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28
This idea appears in two separate Gospels, spoken out of the mouth of the Savior, and yet can you guess where a majority of my anxiety stems from as a young leader?
Tell me if this is true of you; somewhere along the way your fear of monsters, and strangers, and even rollercoasters gave way to failure, dislike, and rejection. You don’t even have to be a naturally anxious person to know that cold feeling you get when you know you’re facing one of these things. I’m finding that the very fear we are warned against feeling is the thing we face most often, and it’s for a reason. The enemy knows exactly what anxiety can do to our hearts.
ANXIETY WILL DO ITS BEST TO KILL THE GOD-BREATHED PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE.
You and I serve a massive God, with a massive plan, within a massive story. It doesn’t matter how large or small your part of the story is, if you are serving Jesus your dreams will scare you. It’s what you and I choose to do in the midst of that fear that sets us apart and defines our legacy. I’m twenty-six years old, I’m getting married in three months, and I have dreams that I don’t understand how in the world will come to pass. You have your own things; we all have reasons for sleepless nights, and for good reason. What I’m finding is the nights I lose sleep follow the days I forget that:
THE STRENGTH WE NEED TO OVERCOME ANXIETY IS FOUND IN SURRENDER.
The kind of fear I’m talking about; the, “I’m too nervous to even try to be great at this so I quit,” kind will only ever be overcome with a choice to surrender.
Surrender to the fact that you will fail along the way
Surrender to the fact that growth takes years of refinement
Surrender to the fact that you will have confrontations that don’t go your way
Surrender to the fact that none of this is a surprise to Jesus, and yet He has still chosen you to play a part in His story. This surrender, it’s a Holy thing, comprised of faith and trust in the God who promises to bring to completion that which He began.
After all that’s where leadership of others starts with being led personally. We all have things to overcome, to surrender, things we desperately need God to work in and on if we are ever to lead others. The thing that will determine if we are successful in the long run is whether or not we are willing to stop clawing at our anxieties ourselves, and trust God to step into the fight.
He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”
2 Chronicles 20:15