Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WHAT TO DO WITH ANXIETY


Despite the fact that Jesus says not to worry, we find ourselves worrying. What do you do when you find yourself worrying?

Give your anxiety to God. Peter wrote “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Admit your anxiety to God. You might call this confession. Repent of your lack of trust. Or, if your anxiety is caused by your unwillingness to accept his provision for you, repent of that. The previous verse, 1 Peter 5:6, says “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand that he me may lift you up in due time.” Admit that God knows best and accept his will.

Paul wrote a similar thought. He wrote “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.” (Philippians 4:6-7) So first, rather than worrying, ask God (“prayer and petition”) to provide what you need. Second, give thanks for what you have. This is similar to Peter telling us to humble ourselves. Accept what God has provided and thank him for it.

What is the result? God will answer your prayer with peace and he will guard your heart and mind from further worry. As a side note, may I suggest that you do not throw up a prayer while driving or doing something else, but that you sit someplace, alone and quiet, and really talk to God.

So, we give our anxiety to God, we repent of our lack of trust, we ask for what we need and we thank God for what he has given us. Lastly, replace your anxious thoughts with good thoughts. Paul completed his thought with this: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about these things.” (Philippians 4:7)

My wife took this verse to heart when she suffered from anxiety attacks. When an attack began, she thought of all of the good things in her life, the good memories she had, the things she loved and cherished. The anxiety attacks went away. I later put this into practice myself. During one of the most difficult years of my life, when I faced losing every possession, I came home at night to a wife that loved me and two small daughters that yelled “daddy!” and ran to me when I walked in the door. Then, on top of all that, God gave us a new baby. And I would tell myself, if I can hang on to this, and nothing else, I will still be a rich man.

God does not want you to have anxiety. He wants you to obey him, trust him and thank him. He promises, in return, provision for your needs and peace of heart and mind. It sounds like a good deal to me. Take him up on it.
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