Anxiety is not my Master; Jesus Is
Anxiety is not my Master; Jesus Is
By Debra Paul
I hate the interstate. I absolutely hate driving on the interstate. All those zoomers! Zoom! Zoom! A car will pass me in the next lane, and sometimes I say with anxiety, "Jesus, a car!" as if this is a danger to me. If I have to change lanes, God forbid, I practically need a Xanax. I joke, but this is a very real problem for me. I pray constantly for lots of room if I need to change lanes.
A couple of weeks ago, I witnessed a wreck. An SUV was in the lane next to me. The driver lost control, hit the wall, and the SUV landed upside down. Fortunately, the driver was okay. If I had left my house just five seconds later, the SUV could have landed on top of my car. I thank God for his mercy to me and to the driver. What a supernatural moment!
At the time, I did not understand the reason that God had allowed me to witness this wreck. In the past few days, however, I have received revelation.
God was showing me that He can protect me from wrecks. He was mercifully teaching my heart the truth that He is sovereign; he is able, so I do not need to be anxious when I am driving.
Recently, I moved into a new apartment. It is twenty miles from my church. Sunday morning, I took the back roads to church. I avoided the interstate, and I was fifteen minutes late for church. As I was driving, I asked the Lord why I was running so late. I could tell that I was going to be significantly late. This is unusual for me.
The sermon that morning was from Philippians 4:1-9. You can listen to this sermon online at https://atltrinity.org/sermons/philippians-41-9-westside/. The speaker is Ashley Mathews.
Philippians 4:4-7 says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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."
Ashley states that anxiety "is an irrational, persistent fear about the future... Oftentimes it manifests itself by imagining things that you have no rational reason to believe might actually happen or befall you. They're just possible. And because they're possible, they're certain. It is not the same thing; but anxiety tricks you into believing they are the same thing, probable and certain."
One of the examples she gave was about driving, "I once heard someone say driving in traffic is a constant burden for them. They cannot look in their rear view mirror because to look in their rear view mirror is to surely ensure that [the person behind them is] going to have a wreck and die and [they] will witness it."
Ashley talked about our choice to feed fear or feed peace.
I realized that I had given in to fear by taking the back roads to church. On the way home from church, I took the interstate. I had more peace than usual. On the way to my Bible Study Wednesday night, I took the interstate. I am choosing daily to feed peace by facing my fears and trusting the Lord.
Fear is not my master; Jesus is.
When I have felt fear or anxiety this week, I have responded by quoting a Scripture, worshiping God through song, or kneeling before Jesus and proclaiming his worth, his Lordship, his power, his ability, his goodness, and his righteousness. It has been my goal to defy fear by exalting Jesus.
Earlier this week, God specifically spoke Isaiah 41:8-16 to me. He paraphrased to make it personal.
But you, Debra, my servant,
Debra, whom I have chosen,
Debra my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
“All who rage against you [fear and anxiety]
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you [fear and anxiety]
will be as nothing and perish.
Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you [fear and anxiety]
will be as nothing at all.
For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
Do not be afraid, sweet Debra,
my beautiful child, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
“See [just watch the amazing thing I am doing in your life], I will make you into a threshing sledge,
new and sharp, with many teeth. [I will make you strong and able.]
You will thresh the mountains [of fear and anxiety] and crush them,
and reduce [them] to chaff.
You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up,
and a gale [the Holy Spirit] will blow them away.
But you will rejoice in the Lord
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
This has been an instrumental passage in the war against fear. In addition, I have reminded myself that God is my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, I will not fear (Psalms 46:1-2).
Peace, I leave with you. My peace I give to you (John 14:27). Jesus is the Prince of Peace himself.
I have had a vision of the Lord Jesus appearing in different places around my apartment. He is near the door, near the window, in the corner, over there, over here. He is the One who keeps me safe. Knowing his presence in my soul combats fear and anxiety. I can say with the Psalmist, But as for me, it is good to be near God; I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds (Psalm 73:28)
Kneeling is an act that acknowledges that Jesus is worthy of exaltation. It is an act that says God is Master, and I am servant. It is an act that says, I will not bow to fear; I will bow to the One true Living God.
The first time I knelt this week, I had a vision of Jesus in a white robe standing before me. I specifically saw his feet with sandals on them. When I feel fear, I kneel down and take hold of his feet in desperation.
Worshiping God through song is an instrumental part of learning to live in the freedom for which Jesus died. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1). Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
Jesus is a God who is worthy of all glory and honor and praise. Fixing our minds on Christ through singing or saying the Psalms out loud directs our thoughts and emotions away from lies and toward Truth.
One very important revelation I received this week is that God is full of patience and grace as I grow. I got scared about something and started singing worship songs. In the middle of worship, my mind began to think that it would be okay to act in accordance with the fear; that it was only logical. So, I sang and engaged in actions to relieve my fear at the same time.
Before I could even feel guilty about this, God showed me a vision of angels clapping for me. God wanted me to know that He was proud of me; that in His eyes, I had done well. I am transitioning out of following fear and into following God, and God is loving me and cheering for me in this process. Blessed be His name!