By Mitchell McGhee
The day after Christmas, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to tightness in my chest and the most discomfort I had ever felt. I was sure this was the end. My wife rushed me to the hospital and within six hours, I was released with no answers. Everything with my body was perfectly fine, so they said.
For the next six months, I was on a quest to track down answers. I did all of the right things. I exercised, meditated, and begged God to take the pain away. I saw doctor after doctor when the pain wouldn’t subside. But the biggest problem of all was that my mind was consumed with what ifs . . . what if the doctor missed something? What if it was cancer? What if I don’t wake up? The “what ifs” were paralyzing and they seemed to be winning the war in my mind. They snuck in subtly and took residence. I spent most nights not sleeping for fear of not waking up.
Anxiety is real. There, I said it.
I never knew what anxiety was. Wasn’t it for the weak? For those who couldn’t handle their stuff? Anxiety was for those who were not willing to trust God. But for someone like me, anxiety wasn't an option. I was strong and I thought, in control.
Six months prior to my hospital visit, my wife and I delivered our fifth daughter into the world. She was precious and even carried my “McGhee nose." Our world was turned upside down when she came into the world deceased. This reality rocked me to the core.
But again, I was strong and in control. I had this. I could make it. I could hold our family together, stay positive, and be a rock star at work. Until I couldn’t. My need for control allowed a crack in my armor. Fear and anxiety slowly crept through that crack until it took me to the hospital.
I now needed something I couldn’t offer myself—peace, understanding, and a way to battle this thing that had taken over my thoughts. A friend reminded me of this sweet verse that I never knew I needed.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Anxiety is real. Some may need medication, some may seek counseling, but the truth is that we all need to start with this instruction from Paul. Our minds and hearts are precious. They need guarding and deserve someone watching over them. What if there really was a peace that transcended all understanding? That would be a game changer.
Questions for Reflection:
· What are you trying to control today that is making you anxious? Would you be willing to transfer that to God for a peace you may not even fully understand?
· If you could replace one thought today that is taking you captive, what would it be? Now give it up and guard your mind from allowing it to creep in.