Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

On My Mind #5: A Sin We Don’t Think Much About

It’s a sin I’ve been struggling with over the past couple weeks.  It’s called anxiety.  And yes, it’s a sin.  Let me explain.

I’ve been edgy about a lot of things over the past couple weeks.  Not worth going into details, but there have been a lot of things lurking below the surface.  Tough conversations, decisions I don’t like, trouble with others, things I just don’t understand, very poor communication, unknown future events — suffice it to say there’s been plenty pressing my mental capacity (leave the jokes alone for now please).  Please note this is not a rant about church life either.  Much of this is personal life oriented.

But it’s my response to these pressing things that has me quite disconcerted.  If someone came into my office looking for counsel, I’d eventually get around to saying something like this: “Well, you need to put more trust in the Lord.”  And that wouldn’t be wrong, it’s just that right now I’m not doing a very good job of following that counsel.  That qualifies me for the league of hypocrites.

Here are four specific things I’ve been convicted regarding.  I hope these challenge you as you think about the ways you get stressed, pressed, depressed, or completely messed (rhymes intended):

1. When I am frustrated because people are not doing what I think they should do, I am not trusting God.

This is very true.  A lot of times decisions just get made in ways I don’t think they should.  People don’t do things I think they should, and  sometimes they do things I think they shouldn’t.  And it frustrates me.  And it’s an idol, because somehow in my frustration I’ve made it my problem instead of God’s.  I’ve made their issues my issues instead of letting them be God’s issues.

2. Difficult situations are not worthy of frustration when there is an opportunity for the Lord to work.

In any difficult situation there is always something to learn.  Problem is, it’s easy for me to lash out, say something dumb, regret it, then get depressed.  Sometimes all of this happens before I do the things I should: take a step back, pray, see how I might learn.  At times I take more comfort in my viewpoint, frustration, and effort to solve something than I do in handing it over to God.  Sin.

3. Trusting God with the future is really difficult. 

But it’s sin when we try to make our own paths.  It’s also sin when we get frustrated that the way we saw something going wasn’t quite what God had intended for us.  We need to move past the frustration of unknown circumstances (as quickly as possible) to prayer for trust, reassurance of hope in God, and fighting against worry.  Great resources for this are Matthew 6:25-34; Romans 11:33-36; and John 14:1-4 just to name a few.

4. God is really sovereign, whether I believe it at the moment or not.

In chaos, it is really hard to accept that God knows what He is doing.  It’s easy to lash out at people; it’s harder to calm yourself before the Lord and ask Him to handle it and tell Him you trust Him.  This isn’t easy to type, and it may not be easy to hear.  But it’s true.

To be clear, I do believe people need to accept responsibility for their actions or for doing things that may add frustration to a situation.  Even in that there are ways to learn and help individuals grow.

Anxious about anything? Ask God for the help to avoid the human reaction and look for the heavenly purposes.  I know I am.

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