Attributes of God: Free from Anxiety

Attributes of God: Free from Anxiety September 13, 2022

Anxiety creeps into our world more than ever, with bad news hitting headlines every day, looming crises, and the natural risks that come with being alive. God, however, gives us a way out of anxiety.Don’t know about you, but I, like millions of others right now, have anxiety issues. “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” is the technical term my therapist writes down in their little notebook. I’m not ashamed to admit this. In some ways, when you look around at all that is going on in the world, like…

  • Mass shootings
  • Raging war in Ukraine
  • Wildfires, drought, floods, the shrinking ice caps in the Arctic
  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Inflation
  • Political division and threats of civil war

Well, if you’re not a little bit anxious, you just aren’t paying attention.

In our continuing exploration of the attributes of God found listed in the apocryphal book of Wisdom (7:22-24), our lovely Wisdom passage tells us that the Divine is free from anxiety. 

For Wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me…

…there is in her a spirit that is free from anxiety.

This is also something Jesus —  a New Testament Wisdom figure — told us: “don’t be anxious about anything,” in Matthew 6:25-31.

What would it be like to be free from anxiety? To have hope that God, working through all of us, can bring about a more peaceful, sustainable, and just world?

This attribute of God is one reason I attend worship. In my congregation, we never ignore the injustices of the world but at the same time we always emphasize God’s grace and the hope for change. It is this hope that has the ability — if I allow it — to calm my anxious spirit.

Anxiety can easily raise my blood pressure. This morning, as I prepared for the day and did my daily blood pressure check, it was borderline high. So, I took 15 minutes to sit, breathe and be in the presence of God (the one free from anxiety!). After finishing, I rechecked and sure enough, my blood pressure was back to normal.

We can’t singlehandedly make the world a more just and sustainable place. We can, however, sometimes lower our anxiety-produced-high blood pressure if we…

  • Check in with ourselves. Ask “what do I need right now?”
  • Take several slow, steady, deep breaths.
  • Let go of anxious thoughts with our favorite mantra or just saying “I let it go.”
  • Allow God to absorb our worries and burdens for the time being.

Knowing that God is free from anxiety can be inspiration for us. We won’t be free from concerns and anxiety all the time (we need some of it for self-preservation), yet we can give ourselves the breaks we need to continue our work toward a better, more just world.

Teresa Blythe is a Phoenix based spiritual director, author and trainer of apprentice spiritual directors. To learn more about spiritual direction, check out her book Spiritual Direction 101. For a primer on spiritual practices, look at her first book, 50 Ways to Pray. Her website contains a lot of information about the art and practice of spiritual direction.

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