Anxiety has always been a mystery! Webster says it is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” However, God’s Word says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7
I love how David puts it in the above verse. He says that God takes our anxiety and gives us joy! One writer says that this doesn’t mean God calmed David down, which is the opposite of anxiety, and it seems it would drag one emotionally a long distance. It says, He took the energized feeling and heightened it to joy. I LOVE that! So how does God do this? Maybe He moves our thinking away from the problem and towards the bigness of Himself. You see, we cannot be double-minded, or in modern terms, cognitive dissonance. It is impossible for our minds to think in two different directions, so we come to God, and the anxiety is relieved.
This isn’t easy. For if it was, it wouldn’t be the topic of so many books, articles, and talks. It is possible with God, and according to David, the outcome is joy! Anxiety is simply a runaway brain! It is allowing whatever thoughts come into our mind at high speed without questioning or discerning their value. All God wants us to do is walk this life with Him. When we do, we can talk to Him about anything.
He will bring order to our thoughts and actions to our path. Once that happens, anxiety can turn to joy because of our God!
So I ask you, is the anxiety worth it? Is it worth the energy drain and control? (Maybe, or maybe not). I understand that it is hard and difficult to retrain the brain, but it is possible with God. So how do we begin? (For surely, this short article can only get us started) First, we consider slowing down the runaway thoughts that we have with ourselves, and we start having a dialogue with God. We start asking Him about all the high-energy thoughts and realize that thoughts come from three sources: God, the enemy, or us. We then renew our minds in His word giving us the ability to recognize the source. Finally, we BREATHE deep breaths to bring our run away thoughts into check, providing a rhythm to life and grace to ourselves.
We live in a fallen world, one where we are going to be faced with anxiety. We will not be completely free of it until heaven. So give yourself a break (and others) because the more we face it with God, the more it will be overcome. It’s just like a lot of things; practice makes us better at it!
Let’s stop for a moment because some struggle with psychological challenges that may need medication or additional help. For those, please give yourself grace and use all the gifts God offers in this day and age to live fulfilled lives. If this above tool works for you, great! If not, that’s okay. God may have another plan, and His grace is sufficient. Let us pray for one another and not judge because we all have difficulties. That makes us human and also gives us compassion for others. We are all sojourners together, and God is the Father and knows us all!
So my friend, when we are anxious, let’s cry out to our God! According to David, in the above verse, when we do, God will meet us and bring joy from that fast pace anxiety!