I am an anxious person.

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

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is reported to have said,

For this reason, I say to you, do not be anxious. (Matthew 6:25 NASB)

Thanks for the advice. It’s easy for him to say.

Jesus did not have daily family obligations clamouring for his attention. He did not have a lawn to mow, office hours to keep, meals to cook, criminal record checks to collect, finance committee meetings to attend. He does not appear to have been required to keep to any regular schedule or even to earn a living.

What did Jesus know about anxiety?

The peculiar thing about anxiety is that, as much as I may believe otherwise, my anxiety is not really related to the external circumstances of my life. It does not matter how smoothly my life may be going, I can always find something about which to fret.

As my mother’s life got smaller and smaller, she could always find reasons to worry. Even when her meals were provided, her bed made for her every day, her schedule planned, and her laundry done, she would worry about whether she had missed a family birthday, or whether her children were living up to their potential.

Anxiety will never be solved in the realm of the things about which we feel anxious.

The resolution to anxiety resides in another dimension.

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.

(Adapted from Jesus’ Plan for a New World, p. 118)

I am anxious because 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 stay connected to my awareness of “Infinite Source,” there is nothing about which I need to worry.

Jesus was able to instruct his followers to “not be anxious” because he had already pointed out to them that

No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (Matthew 6:24)

When the right “master” is at the centre of my life, the anxiety knots in my life begin to loosen.

The solution to anxiety is not getting the circumstances of my life under control, a futile undertaking at best. The answer to anxiety is keeping at the centre of my life The-One-Who-Is-Greater than those things about which I feel anxious. As I learn to rest and trust in the faithfulness of God, it becomes 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.”

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 the pitiful little illusion that I can control my circumstances. 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.

I am grateful to be able to trust that my mother, who lived with so much anxiety, rests now in the fullness of that abundance and is eternally free from all worry.