The following piece was first written in July 2015. However, I believe its content is still relevant today. With a few edits, and some tightening up here and there, I hope this post can bring fresh encouragement to you, the reader. Enjoy!
For the past few weeks, I have been battling with anxiety.
It’s not so much of having panic attacks or hyperventilating and stuff but it was taking place in my head. Seeing most of my friends graduate, getting jobs, starting new chapters in their lives, I started to see where I was at in my life and started to become anxious. I was in fear of uncertainty. I still have two more years to go in my undergraduate and I have 4 more years to go in seminary.
And to top it off, I met people who would make me think about my future. As someone who wants to be in pastoral ministry, I realized that there are a lot to sacrifice – money, personal life, privacy, and etc. I have to carry myself to a higher standard than others and be blameless when other Christians and non-Christians see my life (1 Timothy 3:1-7). I have been living with this mindset of “trying out while you’re still young,” which makes me a half-hearted and lukewarm Christian.
As these things kept coming, my anxiety and frustration started to grow. I’m not going to lie – I don’t want this pressure and I don’t want to give up on the things that I love doing. What if I miss out? What if I struggle financially in the future? What if my future doesn’t look good? What if my family suffers? What if I don’t make a lot of money? What if? What if? What if?
But God didn’t leave me hanging. God doesn’t leave me (and all of us) unarmed in this fight against anxiety. Jesus tells us to do two things – see and remind yourself.
…Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?… Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:25-34)
I was at Zion National Park for few days, and the view was stunning. And as I heard the birds chirp and deer wandering around and all these critters running, I was reminded of Jesus’ promise to His children. And as I saw trees grow and flowers bloom in the middle of the desert valley, I was reminded of His promise. I looked at the birds as Jesus told me to. I considered the flowers as Jesus told me to.
Jesus didn’t call me to trust in Him with a blind faith. Of course, Christian faith is trusting in the unseen. However, Jesus also tells us to fight uncertainty with what we can see. I was reminded that I am more than just birds in the air but I’m a child of God, who was bought with His precious blood. I was reminded that I am more than just lilies of the field but I am Imago Dei, created in His image and in His glory.
God arms us to fight our anxiety with His creation. He doesn’t tell us to just have blind faith and survive as long as I can. He doesn’t tell me to fake it until I make it. He tells me to look outside of myself and see the work that God has done in creation but also look to Jesus Christ and see the hope that He brings through His promises such as “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
So today, if you are struggling with uncertainty, your future, your job, or your life, go outside. Look at the birds fly and chirp. Look at the flowers bloom and dance in the wind. And as you look and consider, be reminded that you are so much more valuable to God and He cares about you so much more than those things.