By Jennifer Holmes
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:8
If ever there was a year for anxiety, 2020 is it. As I talk to women, both as friends and as a counsellor, I’ve realized that anxiety is growing drastically. People who usually struggle with anxiety are finding it increased and some are experiencing it for the first time.
Anxiety can be simply defined as the fear of the unknown or the uncontrollable. Sounds like life right now, right? Some people are afraid we are opening up to early, some that it’s not early enough. There are riots and protests and fears abounding in all. The hardest part about today’s anxiety is, much of what we fear right now is valid. There are real, hard issues in the world and we cannot be blind to the fact that we might be affected.
Our anxiety can surface in many ways - shortness of breath, an inability to concentrate, tightness in the chest and back, or the constant worry over a situation, to name just a few.
Many Christians try to get rid of anxiety by telling themselves to be more spiritual, just pray more, or memorizing “casting all your care on Him” and hoping that the problem will be fixed quickly. But this is just another way we try to control the situation. Many times anxiety is a long road that requires much help for our bodies and our soul.
So, am I saying the Bible doesn’t have the answers? Of course not! It always does. What I’m saying is that quickly memorizing a verse doesn’t always fix complex problems. But this verse in Joshua has a key for us. He tells us not to be afraid. That we can be strong and courageous. But why? It’s not because we figured out the situation, working out every detail. It’s not because we feel in control of the future. It’s not because we have no need to fear, because there is no danger.
No, the situation can still be dire, we can still feel anxiety in our bodies, we can have no idea what the future holds and we can still be strong and courageous because the Lord is with us. Wherever we go.What a promise. He is with us in the middle of danger, in the middle of anxiety, in the good days and the bad, in the times we’re dependent on Him and the days we forget who is in control.
Joshua reminds his people and us that true courage comes not from us, but from who walks beside us.
Hold onto that hope today. You don’t have to figure it all out. You don’t have to get rid of your anxiety right now. You can just lean on the Lord and get your courage from His presence.
Jennifer Holmes is a writer, speaker, podcaster, and currently earning her masters in Biblical counselling. She is offering access to a webinar on anxiety to help you understand what is going on in your body, some practical tips for that, and how the Bible speaks to it- just click on the link in the comments. For daily encouragement, follow her on Facebook or Instagram @jensnewsong or find her podcast Jen’s New Song anywhere you listen to podcasts.