A Thousand Times a Day
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
Back in medical school, I was diagnosed with a cancer, which if hadn’t been caught early, could have been a disaster. Thankfully, it hadn’t grown or spread and so, was relatively easy to address. It was surgically removed, I had some additional treatment, and it was gone. In retrospect, if I was going to have cancer, that’s the one I wanted to have. Not all illnesses are amenable to a once-and-done treatment though. The child diagnosed with diabetes must learn to eat right, take insulin, and monitor his (or her) blood sugar. This isn’t something he does once. Diabetes is manageable, but it takes a lifetime of daily work to keep it under control.
In my addiction, I wanted a treatment that was much more like my cancer. I wanted God to cut it out so I could get back to my normal life. What I didn’t realize was that, like the diabetic, my life was never going to be the same. I couldn’t go back to normal because normal meant following my way, which is what led to my addiction originally. No, for me, recovery meant daily making some effort to abandon my way to follow God’s. This, fortunately, is exactly what faith asks of me, so it’s something I was supposed to be doing anyway. Faith and recovery are lifelong endeavors which I won’t be done with until I’m done with this life.
Anxiety, I think, is much more similar to diabetes. I’m not suggesting that anxiety, diabetes, and addiction are all morally equivalent. I’m simply suggesting that they have some things in common. We all want our anxiety to be cut out and gone for good. As long as we live on this Earth though, we will experience stressors. Daily, sometimes a thousand times a day, we must learn to take our concerns to God, asking what he wants us to do. Then we must do whatever he asks.
Sometimes this will mean taking a specific course of action to deal with a problem. Sometimes it will simply mean addressing our own anxiety. If anxiety itself is our greatest life problem, we may well need to seek counseling and/or medical help. Then, we will likely need to continue to address it. Anxiety’s treatment is rarely a once-and-done surgical cure. Rather, God uses our stressors and anxieties to keep us dependent on him. So daily, or a thousand times a day, we must go to God, give him our worries, and believe that he cares for us.