Lifting the Weight of an Anxious Heart
Day 16 — Extinguishing the Spirit of Fear
This is part of our newest devotional book release Extinguishing the Spirit of Fear — 30 Devotions to Battle Fear and Anxiety. Click to download a sample or purchase the full devotion.
“A person’s anxiety will weigh him down, but an encouraging word makes him joyful.” Proverbs 12:25 GW
It’s an epidemic. Opioid addiction has become a national epidemic in America. But it’s not only opioid-based medications that are a problem. A myriad of disorders ranging from depression to behavioral problems has brought a plague of prescription drugs on our nation. Pain isn’t always physical. When a person has an anxious heart, it’s painful — a heavy, penetrating pain. America may be a rich and powerful nation, but we’re weighed down with worry and can’t seem to get out from under this burden without a prescription.
But there is another way to deal with an anxious heart. It is surprising and simple. It doesn’t require a doctor’s appointment, a prescription, or any specialized training. Anxiety may weigh a person down, but an encouraging word makes him joyful. It may seem too simplistic. Indeed, some psychological disorders may still require treatment and medications, but genuine and meaningful encouragement is still helpful, even in severe cases. I’ve seen this firsthand.
Words are powerful
They can tear down or build someone up. They’re rarely neutral. What we hear plays back in our minds over and over, like a never-ending recording. It’s called self-talk. Destructive words go deep. They penetrate our hearts and embed themselves in our minds. Careless words stab like a sword (Proverbs 12:18). It doesn’t matter who utters these piercing words. When spoken by those we’re closest to — parents, a spouse, siblings, children, significant others, friends, people at work or school — their wounding words go deep.
So, how can we counter this internal wound? How can you and I deal with worries and wounding words? We all need to hear encouraging words of truth often and from people we trust. People who are trustworthy. Those whom we know genuinely care about us. Likewise, we need to speak encouraging words and be genuine and trustworthy to others.
Here is the counter to the words that “stab like a sword”:
“Careless words stab like a sword, but the words of wise people bring healing.” (Proverbs 12:18 GW).
Notice it says, “words.” Not casual or trite statements like — “Oh, they didn’t really mean that” or, “Just ignore what they say.” We need to hear genuine and encouraging words. These words need to come from people wise enough to know what we need and what is appropriate. They also need to be words of truth.
“The word of truth lasts forever, but lies last only a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19 GW).
If you have an anxious heart and you’re weighed down with many words, you need to be around people you trust. People who can encourage you with the truth. Where? Church is a good place to start, but I know too that some people in churches may speak wounding words. We need to seek a community of believers who are accepting and loving in a biblical but nonjudgmental way. It could be a church or a small group connected to a church or ministry. There are no quick fixes with prescriptive words and phrases. Bible quotes are nice but too often spoken in trite ways (see James 2:15–16). A continuous flow of encouraging truth is the only way healing and restoration go deep enough in our hearts and minds. This will lighten the load of worries and wounds we encounter.
When your heart is anxious and weighed down with many worries, you need to be around people you trust. Ask God to help you see encouraging words in His written Word, the Bible. If you don’t have encouraging people around you, ask the Lord to help you find people you can trust and who are encouraging and ask for His help to be the same way for them.
Written By Trip Kimball