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Is There a Connection Between Anxiety and Humility?

Is There a Connection Between Anxiety and Humility?

“It’s sad, so sad
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd
It’s sad, so sad
Why can’t we talk it over
Oh it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word”
(Elton John, Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word)

Why does attempting to utter the words “I’m sorry” create angst in some of us?

I’ve been thinking much of this lately. It’s been a difficult season with some lightening strikes that I would have rather avoided during turbulent times. But the adage “when it rains, it pours” isn’t just for the salt box. Sometimes life brings about double strikes, torrential rain, and no umbrella. And finding fault in others doesn’t help to diminish a debacle. It only shifts blame while the issue goes on unresolved.

I’m finding that humility (whether I feel I’m right or not) doesn’t come naturally. Excuses, explanations, and streaming tears sometimes just don’t help another understand your point of view, why you did what you did, and why you had no idea it would damage another person. Sometimes the pure, unadulterated words “I’m sorry if I hurt you and caused you pain” are the only remedy to a tough misunderstanding. And sometimes, until those words are said, anxiety within remains.

I’ve never been able to memorize large portions of scripture. Yet, this one I have known from heart (maybe because it’s always gotten to the heart of the matter) and recently it came back true and clear like never before:

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that He will lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert because your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion waiting for someone he can devour. Resist him and he will flee. Your brothers and sisters from all over the world are undergoing the same kinds of trials.” (From 1 Peter 5:5b-9)

This is what I just typed from memory…not because I am so biblically astute. But because I desperately need to remember these things! Humility/grace>pride/opposition. This is quite a striking formula and worthy of committing it to memory. Yet my left brain focuses in on the truth of Paul’s words, while my right brain fears the outcome. If I humble myself, will I be walked over? Pushed aside? Disregarded? Will I feel [even more] inferior? And worse, am I admitting that my accusers may very well be justified while I remain condemned?

I believe God is calling me to die. As I let go of being understood, of being right, there comes a sweet release of anxiety. I no longer have to prove myself when I simply apologize and mean it from the heart. In doing that I let the pressure of surmounting inner dialogues go. And best of all, I can go on living out the purposes that God intends for me.

Does it hurt? Of course. But I think about my precious Jesus and how He sweated drops of blood in the garden, the result of accusations with no substance. He was truly the innocent One and yet He humbled Himself and went to the cross.

One of the reasons I believe we might live in continual anxiety is because we’re holding onto the need to be right or understood. And you know what it does to us? It becomes a preoccupation in the mind, resulting in roadblocks to the freedom our Lord calls us to. And guess who is having a field day attacking your mind? Yep…the enemy of your soul. The humility of letting an offense go, going so far as to apologize, rips through the shroud of anxious thought and sets them free to be borne on the shoulders of the only One who can truly carry them. This “resisting” of the enemy schemes, causes him to high-tail it off your property. Run, devil, run!

See, just at the right time when you need it most, the Lord Himself will lift you up. I mean He’ll rise you above the lowly way you feel and place you where the security of His love is finally felt. I don’t know when. I just know it’s a promise. And my part and your part is to discover the freedom and grace that humility brings about.

Though “sorry” may remain the hardest word, the final Word is Jesus and when our sense of worth comes from Him, anxiety vanishes.

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Lori Travers

Lori finds the Joy of the Lord to be her strength. Born and raised an Italian Jersey girl, she has finally settled in the south as Reynolda Presbyterian church became her new home. Ministry to women, reading, writing, cooking, and anything having to do with animals are her sweet spots. Having a background in cardiac testing, she chose to stay home and raise three incredible children who are now married, and currently has 2 precious granddaughters and one faithful husband of 34 years.

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