I know many people who suffer from anxiety. I used to suffer greatly. In fact, it got so bad, I was having heart pain and had to go have an EKG to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack! The doc said my heart was strong and it must be a panic attack. Me? Christian, Bible-Believing, God-Trusting me? Having a panic attack? How embarrassing!
The Dictionary defines Anxiety as distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. The Synonyms are: fear, foreboding; worry, disquiet
Sounds like fun, eh? But check out the Antonyms: certainty, serenity, tranquility
Ah.. just saying those words out loud evokes images of lying in a hammock swaying to a tropical breeze, doesn't it?
So, what's wrong with us Christians who have a chronic worry problem? Do we believe God is with us? Do we believe He is in control? Or do we not? Plain and simple. But is it? I know many Christians who truly believe in God and in His power and provision, yet they still worry. They pray and pray and pray to not worry, they read Scripture, but still they worry! Could it be possible that we
That's when I read Philippians 4. You all know verses 6-7. If you're a worrier like me, you probably have them memorized! Here they are in the Amplified version, which expands the meaning nicely.
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus
Yea. yea. yea.. you've heard that before. It reminds me of when my husband, who isn't a worrier at all, says to me. "Just stop worrying." Sure.. let me get right on that! Because the truth of the matter is, I don't know how to stop it! So then I got to thinking, why would God tell us to not worry if it wasn't possible for us to Not worry? That would be cruel. Then I read the entire chapter of Philippians 4 and was amazed to find a prescription for worry.
Look back on verses 4-5
Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!
Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon].
And then after verses 6-7 where God tells us not to worry, we see verses 8 and 9 finish the prescription:
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.
God tells us exactly how to overcome worry in the two verses preceding His command not to worry, and the two verses following.And they are things we can do!
Prescription to cure anxiety:
- Rejoice! Be glad, happy! Delight in God and His love for you and His presence! This doesn't have to be a feeling. This can be an action. Praise, sing and spend time with Him. These are all things you can do by an act of your will.
- Be unselfish. Do you know that selfishness is the number one cause of depression? If your mind is always on yourself and your problems, no wonder you are worried. Do something unselfish for someone every day!
- Lift your specific prayer requests to God daily.
- Be thankful. Again, not a feeling, but an action. Make a point of saying Thank you God for every thing in your life and every good thing that happens in your day.
- Fix your mind on good things. On honorable, happy, virtuous things. Don't read smut or watch filthy TV shows or movies. Be VERY careful what you fill your mind with. Fill it with only good, uplifting things.
- Practice all the above (and every other Godly behavior) every day, including staying in the Word.
- Command the spirit of anxiety to leave you and never return! (Added because I do this and it works!)
God doesn't want you to worry. He doesn't want you to fret. He wants you to trust Him. He's worthy of your trust.
I've come a long way in my battle with anxiety. I no longer have panic attacks. I no longer fret and feel anxious about the problems in my life. At least not all the time. I slip now and then, but I can honestly say I truly do trust God for everything.
If the above worked for me, I guarantee it will work for you. But you are the only one who can do it. You have to take the steps.
May the God of all Peace bless you with strength and joy and goodness as you pursue more and more of Him.