Weight loss is a hugely popular New Year’s resolution. Those of us who carry some extra pounds look forward to a fresh start in the brand new year. We eagerly resolve to shed the weight, even though we know in the back of our minds that our efforts will barely last until the end of January.
This year, why not resolve to shed another kind of weight, along with the temptation to “wait,” rather than taking decisive action? So many of us are weighed down by anxiety. It can be a low grade sense of uneasiness that plagues us throughout the day or a tendency to have full-blown panic attacks.
A Staggering Statistic
If you have problems with anxiety, you’re not alone. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America warns that 40 million adults in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders. That number is large enough, but it only includes people who meet diagnostic criteria for specific disorders. There are millions more who suffer from minor, but still troubling, bouts of anxiety, worry, and fear.
It’s not pleasant to feel anxious, but God gave us feelings for a reason. Anxiety is our early warning system that something isn’t right. It tells us that we need to deal with some underlying issue. If we try to ignore it, the anxiety gets worse until that’s no longer an option.
Turn it over to God
Fortunately, once we know what’s going on, we can turn the problem over to God. He’s always there for us, no matter what we’re facing.
It’s easy to forget that Jesus is always standing by and that we can always trust in His love and help. One of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make is to keep Him at the forefront of your thoughts and to turn to Him immediately when anxiety tries to take over. Resolve to “shed the wait” and trust that Jesus is there to help as soon as you ask Him.
Stronger Faith Means Greater Trust
How can you strengthen your trust in Jesus over the course of the upcoming year so that turning to Him becomes second nature? Here’s a good suggestion that comes right out of the Bible:
So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. —Romans 10:17
Trust and faith are closely intertwined, and the more we immerse ourselves in the Word of God, the closer we become to Jesus. Don’t wait to strengthen your relationship with Him. Resolve to go to church regularly in the New Year and to supplement that weekly visit with regular Bible readings, daily affirmations, a prayer journal, or anything else that gives you spiritual nourishment. The great thing about feeding your spirit is that there are no calories involved!
Don’t Hurt Yourself by Waiting
Jesus makes it clear that He wants us to share our burdens and that He’ll lighten the load:
Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. —Matthew 11:28-30
Ironically, it’s human nature to try to bear the load ourselves until we’re ready to collapse under its weight. Instead, we need to shed that weight by “shedding the wait” and turning to Jesus immediately. It’s all about having enough to trust to know that He’ll ease our anxiety and show us the right path.
A Multi-Purpose New Year’s Resolution
When you resolve to “shed the wait” and rely Jesus to ease your anxiety, you’re actually covering a pretty wide range of related resolutions. If you’re feeling anxious because you need to lose weight to improve your health, God can help you focus on honoring the body He gave you with better eating habits and regular exercise. If you’re worried about job security and want to resolve to get a new job, or perhaps go back to school, trust that Jesus will show you which of those two paths is the right one to follow over the next 12 months.
Those are just a few examples of how you can use trust in Jesus to release anxiety and make positive change in your life. “Shed the wait” and get started right now. You’ll be amazed at how much progress you’ll make by the end of 2014.