As my relationship with God has become more personal, He’s taken away so much of my anxiety. If I drift from Him, I can always tell when it creeps back in because my jaw begins to ache. We all have different ways of “wearing” our anxiety—jaw clenching is mine. I drive down the road or lie awake in bed trying to solve the problems of my clients, my staff, my children, my friends or my own personal life—and soon—my jaw begins to ache. If I don’t immediately give it to God, it spreads and slowly paralyzes the adventure God has planned for the day.

The Book of Ecclesiastes gives us down-home advice for anxiety. It says: “What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest…A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:22-26)

God’s message is both humorous and comforting.

Do we want to live anxiously like a squirrel worrying about whether it will be able to gather enough nuts? Or, do we want to live in the comfort, wisdom and strength of God’s generous hand? His presence makes the difference. When I find myself becoming anxious, I’m doubting God—which is an insult to Him. My aching jaw reminds me that I’m chasing the wind instead of God’s goodness. God is the difference between a meaningless life and a meaningful life! When we please God, we draw closer to His presence. In His presence, there is no anxiety because He is not anxious!

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