In 2021, Ten-8 chose Philippians 4:6-7 as our corporate verse of the year which starts out saying, “Do not be anxious about anything…”. It was a gentle reminder that despite the craziness around us, we have access to a God that is bigger than our circumstances. While this is as true today as it was last year, it feels like we are still in a season where anxiety levels are high. The punches keep coming and most of us are looking for a reprieve. Our focus and resolve will be the key to helping each other stay encouraged despite the storms around us.
I was recently reading some leadership material and came across this quote from Colin Powell, “It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.” As I thought about some of my own personal and professional challenges, I realized there is a lot of truth in this quote. Our perspective about things changes over time. The raw emotion of a difficult situation can have a substantial impact on our anxiety in the moment. However, as we process the situation and move forward, things tend to look differently in the rear-view mirror. When we focus more on the challenges we face and less on God’s promises, it is easy for us to get stuck in a cycle of anxiety that can deplete our motivation and steal our joy.
Jesus addressed the issue of worry and anxiety with His followers in Luke 12: 25-26 (NLT) when He said, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?” Jesus goes on to explain that worry is really a lack of faith in God’s ability to take care of us. This is a strong lesson that our faith should be in God and not in our own ability to handle the stresses of the crazy world around us. Peter was reminding people the of same thing in I Peter 5:7 (NIV) when he said, “Cast all your anxiety on Him (God) because He (God) cares for you.” The psalmist confirms the benefit of having faith above anxiety in Proverbs 12:25 (NIV), “When anxiety was great within me, your (God’s) consolation (comfort) brought me joy.” The words of Jesus, the instruction of Peter and the confirmation of the psalmist explain and validate a proven strategy for managing an otherwise crippling emotion.
I have always embraced the concept of a team. The idea of winning and losing together fosters a sense of accountability and strength. A team, in a general sense, is simply a group of people with a common goal whose actions can impact each other both positively and negatively. Our family, friends and colleagues are all part of our team in the game of life. On any given day, I would suggest that someone on your team is dealing with a challenge that is producing anxiety. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Take the time to encourage those around you and remind them that we serve a God that is more than capable of handling our challenges and overcoming anxiety.