Since my first experience with anxiety back in 2006, I’ve come to know a scripture verse which has become a favorite of mine. It’s probably mostly because of the fact that it directly references anxiety. The verse is this:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)
I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I’ve tried to action this verse in my life and it not feel like it has any effect whatsoever. How many times have I been anxious and I’d try to pass my anxiety to Him but still feel the anxiety present with me.
Have you ever felt any of these thoughts during an attack of anxiety?
“I don’t know if I have what it takes…”
“I’m afraid of failing…”
“What will people think of me?”
“How can I get through this?”
It’s only been until recently that I have learned that I have been misunderstanding my favorite verse for a very long time. The reason for my misinterpretation is because I’ve been too focused on that single verse. After a little research, I think I have gained a better understanding of what is actually meant by this passage of scripture.
When I started observing the thoughts and feelings that I would commonly have during an anxiety attack, a lot of the time, they were very similar to the examples above depending on the situation. My anxious thoughts have been often self-centered. I this and I that…etc. It was all about me. On a spiritual level, the center of my anxiety has often been my pride.
The fact is that pride and anxiety are often in the same box.
Let’s look at my verse again, but this time, using a different bible translation:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)
The ESV (English Standard Version) translation follows a more direct translation from the Greek text the Bible is translated from. It wasn’t until I learned about this translation, that the real meaning of these verses revealed itself.
Looking at this translation makes it very clear that ‘casting your anxieties on Him’ is not the instruction. The instruction is to humble yourself by making God the center of our lives. When we submit ourselves to God completely, then, our anxieties are cast onto Him.
I don’t know your situation with anxiety, it could be different than mine, but perhaps the reason why you have been carrying anxiety around with you so long is because you are bearing a weight that you were never meant to carry. The reason why you’re so anxious is because you still have yourself placed in the center of your life and you can’t sustain it because its not your throne. It’s God’s throne. It’s not your life, it was given to you by God.
If this resonated with you like it did for me, than its time to change. Get rid of that pride and humble yourself. Make God the center of your life with a personal relationship with Him, and I can promise you, your anxieties will be cast on God. There will still be low points in life, but you can be better equipped to handle them with your reliance and trust that God will guide you through.
“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
‘God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.’ ”
1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)