Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Philippians 4:6 (TPT)
What You Love – The Curiosity Series – Part 2
Initially, the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” was actually “care killed the cat.” Not the loving, compassionate caring; but the anxious, fearful, worrying kind. The care that keeps you up at night, ripping your fingernails off, and pulling your hair out. That kind of worry? That kind of depressive curiosity can certainly bring about all kinds of death and disruption in our lives.
One of the most quoted scriptures around is Philippians 4:6, and it's easy to see why:
“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.” (TPT)
Ask for stuff.
Be grateful for stuff.
Then peace will be mine.
All the peace.
And all the answers.
But it's not that easy, is it?
Anyone who suffers from anxiety, even mildly or seasonally, will tell you that trying to “not worry” is not as easy as it sounds. It’s one thing to throw this verse around; it’s another to practice it. Because that’s what it is; a practice. Not a platitude, not a dot point list of actions and procedures. But a practice. One that takes time and learning and will change and morph with seasons and situations. You can’t turn curiosity that’s turned into worry and fear and anxiety, off. There is no switch.
But there is practice.
I've expereinced anxiety in my life, and if you suffer from any form of mental illness or challenge, please see a professional – a doctor, a therapist, a clinician. It is NOT shameful. Anxiety is not a sin (more on this in another series). YOU, my friend, are stronger than you know, and this challenge you’re facing bears gifts, you just need someone to help teach you how to find them.
The curiosity that leads me down the path of worry has important things to tell me; if I know how to look for it, I’ll find treasures buried along the side of the road.
Worry highlights what you care about, what you love, what your values are. It reveals your fears, which inadvertently reveals your hopes, too. This is where prayer becomes part of the practice.
As I’ve written before (fave subject), prayer is not words, or lines out of a book, or something you kneel down at your bed at night to do. Prayer is being present; it’s saying a big fat “here I am” in the middle of it all to the one who is in it all with you. Open hands, open heart.
Currently, my practice when I face anxiety looks a little this: I close my eyes, I breathe deep from my belly, and I literally say: here I am. Here are my worries, my fears, my questions, my doubts… they’re all here. And while I’m listing those, I’ll remind myself of the things I’m grateful for, too. Food, water, shelter, family, friends, clothing, coffee (am I right?!)… I still myself and focus on my breath (contemplative prayer). The answer comes in the form of peace rather than words or directives. I don't get a to-do list, or a map. It's more a peace that guides me back to the light.
Truth is not something you read, but something you live into.
And there’s grace for the living.
Don't be anxious about your anxiety. Be curious about what it's trying to tell you, be curious about peace, and follow the light all the way home.
Written by Lizzy Milani