Friends under anxiety



Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25

Anxiety weighs down a friend. Especially crushing is the unspecified general feeling of dread. So what is the good word capable of lifting the weight and letting gladness spring up in the heart?

I don’t know. I’m sure there is no formula for the “good word.” The good word is discovered in the give and take of friendship. A person under anxiety will seek connection. But it seems from my own experiences that those first attempts at connecting often go wrong or are dissatisfying. Those of us “outside” the weight may be busy, may diminish the feelings and the situation, and just may miss the bid for connection.

And therein is the danger for friends under anxiety. When the bid for connection doesn’t deliver quickly the brain and body moves on to something else in a hurry. Like a baby goose imprinting on its mother those of us under the weight of anxiety are all likely to latch on to something or someone that “makes us feel better” for the moment.

So, what’s the good word that makes one glad? Think about it. What’s it been for you? 

Well for me, most often it is a word delivered by a friend. It may be as simple as “I’m glad to see you” and accompanied by a smile. Usually its a word delivered after listening and questioning. This good word both recognizes the anxiety and calls me to courage. This good word might be buried in a story. But usually “this good word” highlights a good and noble quality possessed by me and calls it forward as a strength.

This good word… may also point to reasons for hope and faith outside of me to which I may intrust myself. Even if I initially resist this kind of good word from a friend, it still has landed in my heart… even for a moment. This is what the Gospel does; it grounds us in the reality of God’s tender mercy and powerful strength for us. And so I believe that though the good words of formal blessings may seem strange to our common conversation patterns, they are powerful for us. Here are three:

Romans 15:13
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 16:19-20 
But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong. 20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Numbers 6:24-26
24May the LORD bless you and protect you.
25May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.
26May the LORD show you his favour and give you his peace.
You probably have friends under anxiety. I hope you will connect with them and see if the Spirit of God generates a good word between you. A good word cannot be rushed!

I pray for you, that our Sovereign LORD would give you His words of wisdom so that you may know how to encourage the anxious. May He waken you morning by morning and open your understanding to His will. (Drawn from Isaiah 50:4)


The Power of Words



29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:29

The hardhearted person diminishes the impact of his or her words. But those of us touched by Christ Jesus, know words pack a punch.  The renewing work of the Holy Spirit softens our heart and we cannot stand the thought of our words echoing in the minds of others as the shadow and stench of death.

The Gospel creates hope for humanity. And when I am operating in the fullness of the Holy Spirit my words will cooperate with the Gospel’s hope. Paul urges us to speak words of life fitting for the occasion so that people are built up and given grace.

What vision of people shapes the words pouring from your mouth?

Your words have power to shape people.

Encouragement ~ Key Verses — GLORIFYTHELORD

“Don’t use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Ephesians 4:29  NLT

A few years ago I was on the playground with my children when I heard the airwaves fill  up with explosive and ugly language.  I couldn’t believe my ears!  Then I couldn’t believe my eyes!  Those nasty words were pouring from the mouth of a teenage girl and her target was another student with her at the playground.

What to do?  I approached her and said, “Please control your tongue; there are children around.  But you know what? I was stunned to hear such coming from you.  You look like a kind and thoughtful person.  But then you opened your mouth, and the sewer came running out of it.  I think you can do better than that.”

Well needless to say she was stunned.  Rotten language is not a fitting response to grace.  Encouragement builds up another person by imparting courage.  More often than not, most people desperately need to hear an encouraging word.  Their airwaves are full of voices that seek to tear them down.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Ephesians 4:29