Mar 08

Lent, week 3: Anticipation VS Anxiety [with bulletin insert download]

“It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

–Isaiah 65:24

Anticipation can easily turn into anxiety. Consider these words from Meriwether Lewis, written in his journal on May 26, 1805, as the “Corps of Discovery” expedition first glimpsed the mighty Rocky Mountains in the west:

while I viewed these mountains I felt a secret pleasure in finding myself so near the head of the heretofore conceived boundless Missouri; but when I reflected on the difficulties which this snowey barrier would most probably throw in my way to the Pacific, and the sufferings and hardships of myself and party in them, it in some measure counterballanced the joy I had felt in the first moments in which I gazed on them; but as I have always held it a crime to anticipate evils I will believe it a good comfortable road untill I am compelled to beleive differently.

Anticipation of the future and the unknown—whether minutes from now or in decades to come—can cause anxiety. It is important to realize that not all anxiety is created equal. For the developing brain of a child from trauma—a brain bathed in toxic stress hormones—the “default setting” for anxiety will be radically different than others who did not have that stress as a child. Anti-anxiety medications are no more a sign of moral weakness for these individuals than a paralyzed woman is “weak” for using a wheelchair!

When seeking to embrace anticipation and avoid anxiety, it does help to renew our minds and train our thoughts to rest in the character of a loving God—a God that awaits us in a glorious future like the one Isaiah describes AND walks with us through the uncertainty of our present days to guide us. Whether joyful anticipation or fearful anxiety is more common in our life experience up to this point, we can endeavor to lean more into the truth that God is always with us. God’s love and care will sustain us.

At Intermountain, we bring hope through healing relationships. We walk with those who are seeking better days ahead and are looking for hope in the present. If you would like to learn more about our services or want to support this important ministry, please call us at 406-442-7920.

To download this article as a bulletin insert, click the link below:

If you would like to encourage your church members to consider a special gift in honor or memory of a loved one this Easter, please download this bulletin insert: