I’ve been anxious lately. Loved ones undergoing surgeries, dear friends undergoing trials, and a project with a deadline that needs some inspiration…fast.
Since I struggle with anxiety on occasion, it occurs to me that maybe you do, too. God must have known that we would battle this foe now and then because He talks about it in His Word.
Anxiety is that “distracted, pulled apart, opposite of peace” feeling. It’s a dread or uncertainty over future or past events. And all of us have anxious moments at one time or another. It’s when we refuse to deal with it that anxiety slows down our productivity, dampens our joy, steals our time and has debilitating effects on our health.
We don’t need to look very hard to find plenty of ways to try and calm our anxious thoughts and feelings: Over the counter drugs, a drink or two or three, food, working harder, playing harder, shopping, TV, etc. Even so, our bodies give us away with sleepless nights, high blood pressure, rashes, hives, etc.
Most of us don’t know what to do with our anxiety.
Here are a few suggestions from someone who doesn’t have it all figured out, but is learning:
1. Bring it to God in prayer. Tell Him every little thing that is bothering you. On sleepless nights, instead of tossing and turning, ask yourself, “Is this something that needs to be resolved tonight?” Write down the troubling thoughts, dilemmas, problems. Then in the spirit of Matthew 6:2, close the book, both literally and symbolically on your problem.
2. Keep this 3-fold conviction in mind: God loves you unconditionally (Jeremiah 31:3). He has promised to help you (Isaiah 46:4). He has the power to do it (Romans 8:28).
3. Remember that anxiety is a faith battle. Chances are, you’ve nurtured your anxiety. You’ve excused it. How about giving it to Him instead (1 Peter 5:7)? Go to His promises and remind God, “Here is what You said, Lord. I’m going to believe you.” Do it with a spirit of gratitude, remembering the things He has already done for you (Philippians 4:6-8, Psalm 77:11-12)).
Satan loves to taunt me: “What are you gonna do? What’s gonna happen? How’s this gonna work out? Huh? Huh?” Those questions are a recipe for keeping me up all night! I do best when I reply with something like, “I don’t know how this is going to work out. But it’s too big for me. I can’t handle it. Lord, I’m going to trust You to do what’s best for me.”
And then I remind myself of the great love He showed on my behalf when He hung on that cross…defeating death, hell and the grave for me.
Does anxiety still visit me? You bet. But he doesn’t stay as long these days. He’s getting the hint…he’s not as welcome here as he used to be!
In the midst of uncertain circumstances, may you feel your faith surge as you remember these truths!