What Causes You Anxiety?

Our answer to this question is more nuanced in 2022 than five years ago.

In the past five years, humanity has experienced a global pandemic, ongoing political turmoil, supply chain failures, rising inflation, and the list continues.

What other stressors do we struggle against?

There are also more intimate stressors to consider, such as a loss of a loved one, loss of a means of income, infertility, divorce, to spilling water on your computer keyboard (yes, this just happened to me.) 

Any of the above items and others can raise our cortisol, the stress hormone, to various degrees. How we cope with the daily intimate anxieties and the global ones reveals our differences in resilience.

Can we “bloom” like the flower in the picture above, even when we are anxious?

What can we learn about dealing with our anxieties in Genesis 25:21?  

And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah, his wife, conceived. (Gen 25:21 ESV)

First, what is the issue causing Isaac and Rebekah’s concern in this verse?

Isaac’s mother, Sarah, also experienced barrenness. (See Gen 11:30

Describe how Sarah and Abraham initially attempt to resolve her barrenness. (See Gen 16)

How long did Abraham and Sarah wait before she bore a child? (See Gen 12:4 and Gen 17:17)

After Isaac was born and weaned, what upset his mother, Sarah? Why? (See Gen 21:8-10)

How did Abraham, Isaac’s father, respond to Sarah’s demand? (See Gen 21:11)

Did God agree with Sarah’s demand? Why? (See Gen 21:12-13)

What was Abraham’s response after God spoke to him? (See Gen 21:14)

How did Hagar react? (See Gen 21:15-16)

Describe how Hagar and Ishmael’s anxiety gets resolved in Gen 21:17-20

Review our verse for today:

And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah, his wife, conceived. (Gen 25:21 ESV)

What action did Isaac take in response to Rebekah’s barrenness?

How is this different from his parent’s actions in Gen 16?

Describe in your own words another experience that shaped Isaac’s understanding of God. (See Gen 22:1-14)

List the promises in the covenant Abraham, Isaac’s father, received in Gen 22:15-19.

Based on the verses reviewed above, what reasons exist for why Isaac behaved differently than his parents regarding Rebekah’s barrenness?

How did God respond to Isaac’s prayer? Why?

Personal Reflection Questions

Make a list of the top five items that cause you anxiety or stress today.

Are the items in your list above personal or global stressors?

How many of the items above have you prayed to God about? Why or why not?

Describe a time you prayed to God about something that caused you anxiety or stress.

How has God answered your prayer or are you still waiting for His response?

What have you learned from Isaac about being resilient while waiting for God’s response?

Make a list of those you know dealing with a stressful situation.

Are the people in your list above dealing with intimate or global stressors?

Have you prayed on their behalf as Isaac did for Rebekah? Why or why not?

Make a list of stressful situations you have learned about from any news media you follow.

Have you prayed to God on their behalf? Why or why not?

How does Genesis 25:21 reinforce the teaching in the following verses?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Phi 4:6 ESV)

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. (Eph 6:18 ESV)

And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Rom 8:27 ESV)

Do you have a regular rhythm of praying to God? Why or why not?

Describe how you plan to develop a regular rhythm of praying to God if you do not have one.

If you already have a regular rhythm of praying to God, how can you encourage someone who needs help in this area?

I recently read an article attempting to encourage employers during concerns of a recession titled: The 5 Essential Traits of Highly Resilient Workers, According to a Global Study of 26,000 Employees by Jessica Stillman.

The five traits of resilient workers mentioned in the article are:

  1. They trust their colleagues
  2. They’re part of a team
  3. They work wherever
  4. They value information over stability
  5. They have close personal relationships

This made me immediately think of Isaac praying on behalf of Rebekah. Why?

Rephrasing the traits above into questions is another way to review Gen 25:21.

  1. Who was Isaac’s trusted colleague (s)? Why?
  2. How was Isaac part of a team?
  3. Can Isaac be productive anywhere?
  4. What information did Isaac have that helped him with uncertainty?
  5. Did Isaac have close personal relationships?

Another statement in the article was, “Truth makes people more resilient than empty reassurances.

What truth did Isaac have that helped him remain resilient?

What truth do you have that can help you be resilient today?

Based on the verses covered today, are God’s promises empty reassurances or truth that we can count on?

No matter what anxieties or stresses of life you are facing today, I pray Isaac’s resiliency and God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His covenant vow first given to Abraham encourages you.

What truth can you share to encourage someone who is struggling with anxiety or stress to be resilient today?

Text, email, call, or message them right away.

How else can you live out prayerful resiliency?

Share an example of resilience in the comments below as one way to put into practice the following verse.

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep, we might live with him. 11 Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1Th 5:9-11 ESV)


Barbara Lynn


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