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

Let me know if this has ever happened to you; You get a call from your boss stating that they need to meet with you; do you become anxious and worried? What thoughts race through your mind? How about this; you are out in public somewhere and you notice that someone had been “watching” you and “talking” among themselves. Do you think they are talking about you? Do you believe you are being judged? What are your thoughts?

Speaking from personal experiences, I can tell you that my thoughts would race with the worst-case scenarios of what will happen. My reasoning for this was that I would be prepared to hear the news; yet in most cases, I would be totally wrong in my assumptions and would have created the high anxieties for naught. In most cases, my bosses would be asking me to take on more responsibilities or other things that had no negative issues to speak of. How did I become so anxious in questioning my abilities? Being totally vulnerable; my issues stem from a low self-esteem and self-worth, the remembrance of my past mistakes that I have made, and at times my inability to forgive myself for those past mistakes.

When those irrational thoughts come into my mind, I would tend to make irrational mistakes and assume things that were never there. Because of this, sometimes it interfered with my work performance and even my relationships with others because of preconceived notions. It wasn’t until I had said meetings with those individuals who I assume have power over me or those whom I care about so much that I hate to disappoint or let down in any way. In short, I did not want to fail in any way because I already viewed myself as a failure. I was afraid that any form of failure would prove what I perceived to be everybody else’s assumption of me; that I was a failure, totally. And it wasn’t until I began to do some real soul searching about who I am today, what I was once before, and the differences in between that assisted in making me who I am today that I was able to begin to see what I believe God sees in me. You see, regardless of how good I am or am not, to some I will be a success and to others I will be a failure. I was so worried about pleasing everybody that I neglected to feel good about myself for myself. It wasn’t until I was able to see my value to God that I began to take notes that even in my failures, I am highly sought after and pursued by God so that we can have a relationship together in the most intimate of ways. And I began to think to myself; “Why in the world with the God of all creation think that someone like myself was significant enough to be sought after?” Ending God’s most beautiful ways, God explained, “Because I love you. Period.”

The verse I shared with you in this article shares the simple truth. Anxieties can truly burden the heart of an individual. My anxieties burdened my heart to where it almost crippled me. The latter part of the verse says about how a good word makes him glad. That good word is Jesus and he makes me glad. He takes my anxieties and he shows me how to deal with them. He points out my irrational thoughts and will also point out my irrational actions even before I act upon them. He lets me know that I am better than what I think I am. It is important to note that this is not in any indication an attempt to become narcissistic; yet it is equally as important to understand that we as men and women often think worse of ourselves that what we should.

We are coming into the season in which suicides will begin to take a sharp incline. The largest majority of these happened because of irrational thoughts enter into our hearts and minds, take root in our anxieties and then grow into irrational actions. How different would things be if we were able to identify our anxieties and how most of these are irrational? Would more lives be spared? Would we be able to help others overcome their anxieties? I personally believe that if we actively listen to the reality of what people are saying, we would be able to see exactly how deeply hurt an individual is and we would be able to be more in tune to be able to assist them to see the reality of their circumstance and situation.

The only way that we will be able to see this in others is if we take an honest look at ourselves and admit our own shortcomings and irrational thoughts. If we honestly sought help for our own irrational thoughts, we would know how to help others in the same circumstances. In the world would be that much brighter for us because we would be able to think with clear minds and clear hearts. The importance of a good word cannot only make the heart glad; it could save the heart.

The Rev. John Boyanowski serves at Pleasant Lake United Methodist Church.

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