There are other obvious obstacles to walking in the peace Jesus promised to his disciples. Our willful ways, otherwise known by the familiar moniker of “sin”, is the most obvious. We must come each day, and each minute of each day, to the rhythmic release of those things the Holy Spirit finds unworthy in our hearts and minds. It takes some practice. For the Christian it will not do to treat our hearts as we oftentimes treat our homes that await a good spring cleaning. The accumulation of sinful dust bunnies is not spiritually healthy. We should keep short lists with heaven in respect to sin. Confess it the moment you realize it and then move on. God has no Machiavellian interest or incentive in you carrying about those obstacles to peace.
But having said that, we seldom realize the sinfulness of worry, or anxiety. Not only is it spiritually damaging to us, it is injurious to our physical health as well. This from WebMD: Chronic worry can trigger a host of health problems. The problem occurs when fight or flight is triggered daily by excessive worrying and anxiety. The fight or flight response causes the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones can boost blood sugar levels and triglycerides (blood fats) that can be used by the body for fuel. The hormones also cause physical reactions such as: Difficulty swallowing, Dizziness, Dry mouth, Fast heartbeat, Fatigue, Headaches, Inability to concentrate, Irritability, Muscle aches, Muscle tension, Nausea, Nervous energy, Rapid breathing, Shortness of breath, Sweating, Trembling and twitching. Can I get an amen?
So, one of the disciples -a notorious worrier named Peter – gave us this bit of advice in one of his epistles: 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. ~I Peter 5:6,7
Here, Peter gives us the tools of the cure. We are to humble ourselves. God doesn’t do that for us. He is not into humbling us. We are to humble ourselves. How do we signal to heaven that we are humble? We are to cast our anxieties his way. And note that he uses the world “all.” The word “cast” literally means to throw. But it is not a game of pitch and catch. We are throwing it to God not as if it’s a ball, but rather a ticking time-bomb. Furthermore, the word “anxiety” in the Greek means double-mindedness. To sum it up: We humble ourselves before God by throwing at him everything that splits our thinking between the object of concern and him. He earned the right to carry our anxieties on the cross. It is presumptuous to think otherwise. Anxiety is meant for God-sized shoulders and we are not God.