God in Control: A Balm for Anxiety

Disordered anxiety has been a part of my life since I was a kid and it has lead me to have an unhealthy relationship with control. I want it. Desperately. Mostly because anxiety tries to convince me I’m in danger all the time. Control, to me, means safety. Out of control means certain doom. Dramatic? Well, that’s anxiety for you.

So, like any human, what do I try to do? Fix it myself. I try to manufacture a sense of control in any area of my life that I can, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. I do this by creating order in my home through organization (controlling stuff); schedules, routines, and habits (controlling time); restrictive diets (controlling food and my body); and engaging in a steady stream of entertainment or distraction (controlling my focus). All these things can give me a temporary sense of control.

These things aren’t wrong in themselves, but using them as a solution to anxiety isn’t good. Because it’s futile. No matter what I do, anxiety whispers that danger is just around the corner, shouts that I need to escape immediately. My efforts in control are just me looking to my own actions to bring a sense of comfort and security. Ultimately, they feed my anxiety because the harsh reality is that I am not and cannot be in control (and it’s like anxiety knows this!).

So what can we do?

Rather than looking to ourselves for a sense of control, it would be far better to look to the One who has real control.

God holds the past, present, and future in His hands. He created all of it and is therefore the only one who perfectly understands everything and has power over it. I think we can redirect our wanting control to wanting God, the one in control. It seems that when we try to be in control ourselves we end up acting like we’re the god.

Instead, God wants us to rely on Him, to trust Him. It’s possible to be okay with the reality of “I’m not the one in control” if we personally know and trust the one who is in control. This is how to address anxiety—apply God to it, rather than apply ourselves to it.

We can trust God’s control in our lives by knowing that He is the God of all knowledge, the God of all power, and the God who loves us.

God Knows and Understands All

God’s omniscience and omnipotence in the Bible are often wrapped up in Him being the Creator of all things. The ability to create takes knowledge and power. Ask any artist, any maker, any carpenter, any sculptor, any cook, etc. Imagine how much knowledge and ability it takes for a painter to create an appealing painting. Imagine the knowledge and ability it takes for a carpeter to create a cabinet. Now imagine if they didn’t have knowledge or power. There would be no painting. There would be no cabinet. Without knowledge and power, creation isn’t possible.

Now think about this: God created EVERYTHING—everything you see and everything you don’t! Who created emotions? Who created thoughts? Who created words, language, and communication? Who created systems, seasons, and time? As Creator, God knows and understands the ins and outs, the obvious and hidden, the details, the exact measurements, the quality, composition, arrangement, mechanics, and functions of everything He has created. We cannot even grasp how much He knows!

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38:1-4)

O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139:1-6)

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:16)

God Lacks No Power

Not only can we not grasp how much God knows, but we also cannot comprehend the power He wields as Creator. It is simply beyond us—beyond me, anyway. His power is so absolute, that there is nothing too hard for Him, nothing He doesn’t have enough power to do. He is not lacking as we are lacking. The Creator has all the power needed to control, manage, and maintain what He has created and that includes me and you, in our little lives amid billions of lives, in this miniscule slice of time in eternity.

Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. (Jeremiah 32:17)

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17)

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:2)

You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. (Revelation 4:11)

Thinking of knowledge and power God has I’m left wondering: Why wouldn’t God be in control? What is beyond Him? And with such a God, why on earth do I look to myself for control?!

Sometimes, when anxiety is at its peak, I can assume that because I’m feeling out of control, everything actually is out of control . Silly, I know, but anxiety likes to blow things out of proportion and not be in line with reality. Maybe you’ve experienced the same. But thankfully, reality isn’t subject to our feelings nor is God. Humans lacking knowledge, understanding, and power has no influence over God having knowledge, understanding, and power. He is the Creator. We are the created.

But what good is it to me (and my anxiety) if there’s a Creator who has knowledge and power but doesn’t care a wit about me?

God Loves You and Me

God has a positive volition towards us. His intentions toward us are wholly good.

This. Makes. All. The. Difference.

Can you imagine learning that the Creator who has all-knowledge and all-power was against you? We would be right to be anxious if that were the case! But it’s not. God is for us, not against us.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says the LORD, “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

Jesus Christ came to earth not because He was against us (to condemn the world), but because He was for us (that the world through Him might be saved) and loved us!

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. (1 John 3:16)

God is so for us that Jesus Christ laid down His life. This all-knowing, all-powerful God is not our enemy. He’s not out to get us. He is so for us, that even being evil sinners, He sought to rescue us.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the by the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18)

All God’s knowledge, understanding, and power was wielded on our behalf. Our behalf! Do you know what that means? It means that God uses His control for our good. Ponder that for a minute: God uses His control for our good.

The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. (Romans 8:26)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Trust the God in Control

Do you feel out of control? Do you feel that niggling anxiety that something will go wrong if you can’t maintain a feeling of control? Chasing after a control of our own making will never truly ease our anxiety. It might function as a temporary band-aid, but it will never be the cure.

You cannot be the solution if the problem is you.

Believer, God is the solution to our control problem. Training our thoughts to be consumed with thinking about His knowledge, power, and love in any given situation is the balm to our anxiety.

He is all-knowing.
He is all-powerful.
He loves you.

Let’s trust the God in control.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he. (Proverbs 16:20)

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)

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