Anxiety is something we all suffer with, at some point or another, and it usually comes when we take our eyes off of Christ.
We’ve all been there, those moments when the mind starts wondering, playing the “what-if” game. In that moment, we have to pull ourselves in and S1tK more than ever through prayer and remembering God and His great providence over us all.
We hear this term a lot, but what exactly is anxiety? Strictly speaking…
it’s separation from God, not trusting in Him to provide for us and take care of all our needs.
However, I want to talk about how we create our own anxiety, and we do this by simply taking our eyes off of God and caring about other worldly things.
Saint John of Kronstadt, an Orthodox Christian priest in Russia back in the nineteenth century, posed this question: “What hinders you from fulfilling Christ’s commandments?”
Surprisingly, his answer had nothing to do with lack of faith, trust, or some kind of mental disorder. His answer was rather simple and it was something that we do every single day and have absolute complete control over.
Every day we get up and we get dressed, and therein, according to St. John Kronstadt, lies the first problem of anxiety. Yes, you heard that correctly, getting dressed…clothes, that’s the problem that we create for ourselves from the outset of our day.
Saint John Kronstadt’s answer to his own question was mind blowing:
“The flesh and the world: that is, pleasant food and drink which men like, in which they delight both in thought and in fact, which make the heart gross and hard—a partiality for elegant dress and adornment, or for distinctions and rewards; if the dress or adornments are made of very beautiful coloured and delicate materials, then care and anxiety arise how to avoid staining or soiling them, or getting them dusty or wet, whilst care and anxiety how to please God in thought, word, and deed vanish and the heart lives for dress and adornment, and becomes entirely engrossed in these things, ceasing to care about God and being united to Him…”
If you think about it, it actually makes sense. Ultimately, where the heart is, that’s where our treasure is, right?
So, if we place a lot of stock into our clothes and how we look, then of course when those clothes get messed up or don’t look good, we get upset and anxious about the way we look.
Our day has begun with focusing on our vanity and being anxious every step of the way about our clothes. I think St. John Kronstadt is onto something here.
These are simply minute ways that we chose to separate ourselves from God; relying on worldly items to make us feel good or that gives us self-worth.
In the end, clothes fade, get dirty, torn, and worn out; clothes certainly can’t save us.
We must strive to seek things that bring us closer to God. Yes, we need clothes, they are a necessity, but do we need to adorn ourselves with costly materials to accomplish that?
Ultimately, that’s for you to decide.
Adam and Eve experienced anxiety the moment they chose separation from Him in the garden. In fact, their anxiety was so great it caused them to hide from God, as if that’s even possible!
Let’s not try to hide from Him; let’s run to Him. Strive to S1tK every day! It’s difficult, but give yourself that daily reminder to do so.
After all, if you’re going to wear something, shouldn’t it help remind you of God? To struggle in the S1tK endeavor, will deliver you from all anxiety.
For more information, check out this link with an article titled, Overcoming Anxiety: Christ, the Church Fathers, and Cognitive Scientific Psychology.