Are you fighting a cold? Have you encountered the flu? Whether it has hit your household this year or in the past, cold and flu season is miserable. Equally miserable is worrying about it. You take every precaution—getting a flu shot, constantly washing your hands, upping your vitamins—but ultimately, we have little control over what we catch. If you’re like me, you don’t put yourself in danger, but you also don’t let a preoccupation with sickness cloud your thoughts. However, it is not always easy.
Anxiety is a real affliction these days, and the frequency with which we hear about it seems to be increasing. Jesus calls us to not be anxious about anything (Matt. 6:25). Paul echoes this sentiment in his letter to the church in Philippi (Philippians 4:6). The arguments are sound but are often easier said than done.
I recently read a great analogy for anxious thoughts. Max Lucado wrote a book titled, Anxious for Nothing. (He also created a five-day devotion and reading plan you can find in the YouVersion Bible app) (bible.com/r/1By). The illustration is that of airplanes. If you can picture your thoughts as airplanes and yourself as the air traffic controller you can, with work, decide which thoughts land and which ones fly away. Our real challenge ends up being how we think about the trials that we face. So much of our life is out of our control. The thing that we can learn to control is how we respond when difficulties arise.
The anxiety in our lives plants seeds of lies and creates well-worn paths in our thinking. If we’re not careful, it influences the way we perceive our struggles. Anxiety wants to master our thinking. We need to remember that anxiety is not the master of our minds. We need to remember that we have the power of the Holy Spirit alive inside us. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
When that anxiety threatens to crush you simply call on God, “cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Pet 5:7) This is how you can deny your struggles the platform and influence over your mind. Cling to Christ and abide in Him. When you do, you bear fruit and you disarm your enemy. Remember that as the air traffic controller YOU decide which thoughts are cleared for landing.