I am an anxious person. I have always been an anxious person. I come by my anxiety naturally. It is a family inheritance bequeathed to me by my anxious mother.

Jesus said, “For this reason, I say to you, do not be anxious.” (Matthew 6:25 NASB) It’s easy for him to say. Jesus did not have family obligations clamouring for his attention. He did not have a lawn to mow, office hours to keep, or meals to cook. He does not appear to have been required to keep to any schedule or even to earn a living. What could Jesus have to be anxious about?

But the fascinating thing about anxiety is that it has almost nothing to do with external circumstances. The anxious person will never fail to come up with something about which to fret. It does not matter how small your life becomes, the worrier within will always find cause to worry.

As I watched my mother’s life get smaller and smaller I noticed that she always managed to come up with something upon which to focus her anxious attention. When her meals were provided, her bed made every day, her schedule planned, and her laundry done, she would worry about whether she had missed a family birthday. The problem of anxiety does not originate nor is it solved in the realm of the things about which we feel anxious.

The resolution to anxiety is found in the dimension of the spirit. The only solution to anxiety is faith.

Richard Rohr points the way beyond anxiety when he writes,

The opposite of faith is not intellectual doubt, because faith is not localized primarily in the mind. The opposite of faith, according to a number of Jesus’ statements is anxiety. If you are fear-based and “worried about many things,” as he says in Luke 10:41, you don’t have faith in a Biblical sense. Faith is to be able to trust that God is good, involved, and on your side. So you see why it takes some years of inner experience to have faith. It is not just that somewhat easy intellectual assent to doctrines or an agreement with a moral position. This has passed as the counterfeit of faith for far too long.

When you cannot rely upon an Infinite Source, you yourself become your primary reference point in terms of all preferences, needs, results, and controls. That would make anybody both anxious and insecure.

Richard Rohr Adapted from Jesus’ Plan for a New World, p. 118

When I am anxious I have misplaced the centre of my life. I have lost touch with that “Infinite Source” that lies at the heart of my being and upholds and strengthens me no matter what the circumstances of my life may be. When I am able to stay connected to my awareness of “Infinite Source,” there is nothing about which I need to feel anxious.

The solution to anxiety is not getting the circumstances of my life under control, a futile undertaking at best. The answer to anxiety lies in focusing my attention upon that which is greater than those things about which I feel anxious. As I learn to rest and trust in the faithfulness of God, the anxious knots of my life begin to untangle. It begins to be possible to meet each day, not with fear and uncertainty, but with openness and acceptance.

There is nothing in the day ahead that can ever overwhelm the strong abiding reality of “Infinite Source.” I need to see that Jesus pointed to the fundamental nature of life when he said, “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.” (Luke 6:38) Life is abundant. There is enough strength, peace, goodness, and mercy to go around. I do not need to grasp and hold on to my pitiful little ability to convince myself that I am able to control the circumstances of my life. I do not need to keep my barriers up in a futile attempt to protect myself from some perceived danger that lies in the shadows waiting to destroy me.

I only need to open to the abundance of life that constantly pours out in an unceasing supply of goodness and blessing.