Peace or Panic?
One of the biggest challenges about the anxious thoughts we have is that there is some truth in them. That’s why they can be so powerful. If there was absolutely no truth to our thoughts, we wouldn’t be tempted to dwell on them. But half truths are only half true, so they must be replaced with full truths. Stay with me if that sounds confusing. Some half truths could be:
- I will never be good enough.
- I don’t have friends who care about me.
- I will never get married.
- I am not pretty enough.
- I will never be able to conquer my depression.
- My brother will always be an addict.
- My mom is going to die from cancer.
- I may die in a car accident.
- My boyfriend is going to break up with me.
- I will never get promoted.
- I will never get out of debt.
What makes thoughts like these hard to ignore is the little bit of truth in them. They are partly true but not the whole truth.
Partly True, But Not the Whole Truth
Maybe you think, I may never get married. There is some truth to that. You may never get married, but that isn’t the full truth. God’s Word states what is completely true: in Christ, you have everything you need. God will never leave you or forsake you. You have never been alone and never will be. You already have the only relationship that will truly satisfy.
You might ﬁnd yourself thinking, I will never be good enough. That’s partly true but not entirely. The entire truth is, you will never be good enough on your own. But the Bible says that through Christ you are more than enough. In fact, it says that when you feel weak (a.k.a. as if you are not enough), God’s power is strong in you and makes you way more than enough. Shortcomings, according to the Bible, are superpowers because they can lead you to experience God’s supernatural power.
Maybe you think, I can’t change. That is partly true, because you can’t change on your own. But Christ can change you and will change you if you surrender and walk with him. God can turn around and transform your life. You can leave your past in the past with his help.
Maybe you think, My friends don’t care about me. I could tell you that of course your friends care about you, but that may not be true (especially if they’re not Christians). What is true is that no matter who cares about you, we are here to care for people and serve, not be served. That’s what we as Christians are on this planet to do: love people.
Here’s the Truth
You might struggle with thinking that your value is found in how you look, where you work, or what you earn. Here’s the truth: other people can determine your value by where you work, how much you earn, or how you look, but the opinions of other people don’t matter and won’t last. Your true worth has already been deﬁned by God. He ﬁnds you so valuable that he gave his life for you. That’s how much you are worth. What matters to the world does not matter to God. Are you going to let it matter to you? Will you let what others think deﬁne you, or let what Jesus did on the cross deﬁne you? That’s a choice you have to make.
As I write this, we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with racial and political unrest. Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States have lost their lives, and millions of people have lost their livelihoods. Panic and fear have swept through homes. People have buried sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and friends.
It can be easy to think, Someone I know could get this virus and die. I could get this virus and die! — which has some truth to it. You or someone you know could get sick and die. Or maybe you’re worried that a friend will be a victim of police brutality. Some truth? Yes. But it’s not the whole truth. The Bible says that God has numbered our days (see Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16). He is in control, and nothing happens without him allowing it. Before I was born, he had already determined the length of my life. I won’t live one day longer or shorter than he has planned. That’s the whole truth. I can rest in that or get on the Anxious Express. One road leads to peace, the other to panic.
David Marvin talks about his battle with anxiety this Monday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from We’re All Freaking Out (and Why We Don’t Need To) by David Marvin. Copyright ©2021 by David James Marvin. Published by Waterbrook, an imprint of Random House. Used by permission.