Life offers plenty of opportunities to worry, which seems increasingly true these days. Will the kids go back to school? Will I lose my job? Will my health be affected by the virus? Will someone I love get sick or die? Will we be safe? Will life ever return to how it once was, whether for the good or the bad? I, for one, can worry even in good times, even without pandemics and riots.
I visit my mini backyard garden at least daily, sometimes more than that. It is in the back area of our large yard, so gazing at it from the deck is not sufficient for me. But it never seems to amaze me how I can visit so often and yet I can spot a newly grown weed, fully grown, creeping threateningly by my tomatoes where just the day before there was none.
Weeds grow quickly and aggressively. They take over and suck the nourishment from the healthy plants, eventually overtaking and killing them if not removed.
The weeds of anxiety in our minds are similar. They can climb over good experiences, memories and thoughts and suck the life out of them, leaving us defeated, anxious and worried. So how can we hunt down those weeds in their forming stages and pluck them? How can we stay on top of them before we one day look around and realize they have taken over?
Proverbs 3:5-6 has been my long time anxiety weed killer and it has never failed me. Although stubborn weeds can sometime require the truth of Philippians 4:6-7 too.
In order to grasp the anxiety by the root, we must first, trust in the LORD with all your heart. This requires a release of trusting in our own untrustworthy hearts and a full dependency on the Lord. Trusting He’s got it, He’s got me, as He has before. Having a track record with the Lord over the time we have walked with Him, begins to give us the strength to release figuring it all out and trust our good God to work it all out while holding us up.
Secondly, we must lean not on our own understanding. I cannot see the future nor can I control the future. My understanding is as limited as my vision in the dark of night when I walk full on into the bathroom door because I was sure it was open farther. But God’s understanding is immeasurable, far reaching and unhindered. He seeing the end from the beginning and every detail in between.
When returning home from a family vacation one year we drove through West Virginia. My husband had the grand idea of stopping in at a coal mine to sightsee and my boys were quickly sold as soon as they saw the mining cars and the dark tunnel. Adventure awaits. But deep in that dark, cold mine the tour guide turned off the light he was holding and the darkness was tangible. It was so very dark, I felt I had to remind myself to breathe. That is a taste of how dark, limited and desperately in need of the Tour Guide’s light we are. Lean fully on Him and you will see the next step with clarity.
Finally to pluck out that embedded anxiety, we must acknowledge Him in all our ways. The original word translated “acknowledge in Proverbs 3:6 is from a Hebrew word that means to know intimately, from experience, to perceive. This word “yada” is the same word used in Scripture when describing intimacy between a husband and wife, “he knew his wife”. To grasp the anxiety by the root is to seek to really know God in the very circumstance we are experiencing. Know His character, acknowledge who He is and claims to be. Call to mind what previous experiences with Him taught us and depend on Him doing that again. Really know God in all your ways.
The outcome? He will direct our path. This is not to say life will be cupcakes and sunshine but our path is de-weeded. Our minds are healthy and at rest, regardless of the inevitable circumstances that swirl around us because He will direct the path before us. It is in His hands. The original word meaning includes to make smooth. Thus a smooth path is a weedless path. A path then where fruit can grow healthy and strong and unchoked by the anxieties that threaten our mind. And who couldn’t use anxiety-free path?