by Jennie Smith
Secondary Assistant Principal
It was the worst winter of my life…it started shortly after Christmas. Levi was only 3 and Caleb was fast approaching his first birthday. Caleb became very sick – so I took him to urgent care, where he was diagnosed with his first of many ear infections. While there, he must have picked up something else, and a few days later we went to the emergency room for dehydration. Not only was he diagnosed with the roto-virus, but it was one of the most difficult days of my life – watching my child being pinned down while they tried multiple times to insert his i.v. Remarkably, while there, he picked up another virus – a cold of some sort and he and Levi passed that bug back and forth for six weeks.
This assortment of sicknesses led to two problems of my own: hyper-germaphobia (my own diagnosis…I still suffer from it and I’m not sure there is a cure) and anxiety. Whenever my children show signs of illness, I tend to overreact. I physically react: I become very cold – and have to put on sweaters and get under the covers. I emotionally react: fear, nervous stomach and sometimes just tears. I eventually realized that I was simply suffering from anxiety. I know that my anxiety doesn’t please God…He instructs in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
There are many anxiety disorders that require professional assistance, so I understand that I can’t offer a cure-all for everyone. My anxiety has been manageable; I can function in my daily routine, which is not true for everyone who suffers with anxiety. In the last few years, I have found something that works for me and I thought I would share it with you – it is simply to worship. Just a few weeks ago, Caleb began to complain of symptoms right before bed. I was planning to watch a movie, but I instantly turned it off and turned on worship music. I was able to avoid the dread that usually sets in and experienced overwhelming peace.
I’ve pondered why peace through worship occurs and here is what I have discovered. First, when we worship, it turns the focus off ourselves and onto the Almighty God. When I focus on the words of a worship song, I am no longer lingering on my own fears – on the concerns of this world – but on His love, grace, mercy, kindness, sovereignty, justice. Isaiah 26:3 says “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Worship assists me in keeping my mind steadfast – completely focused on Him.
Second, it reminds me of who He is. One of my favorite worship songs is by Kari Jobe and it is called “You are for Me.” She sings of God’s patience, faithfulness, truth, mercy, power, and sovereignty. She sings in the chorus “I know that you are for me. I know that you will never forsake me in my weaknesses. And I know you have come down even if to write upon my heart. To remind me of who you are.” When I am reminded about who God is and how He holds the plan of my life in His hand, my fears and anxiety go away and are replaced with His amazing gift of peace. (Here’s a link to a Kari Jobe’s video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbSMfL5LuSo)
Another interesting tidbit that I have discovered is that the great men of God worshiped when life was at its worst. David, after losing the first child of Bathsheba “got up from the ground…went into the house of the Lord and worshiped” (I Samuel 12:20). Job, upon hearing that disaster had befallen his house and family, fell to the ground in worship (Job 1:20). Certainly, if these great men of the faith chose to worship when the tough times fell upon them, then it is a good choice for me when I encounter times of anxiety or stress.
I often take heart from Habakkuk 3:17-18:
“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
In the comments below, feel free to share your favorite worship song or your favorite verse that provides you encouragement when anxiety or stress takes over.