Anxious: (adj) experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
– Synonyms: worried, concerned, uneasy, apprehensive, fearful, perturbed, troubled, bothered, distressed, disquieted
Honestly, when I was in middle & high school, I really didn’t have an issue with anxiety. It wasn’t until I went to college, helped my husband open a small business, became a teacher, and had to start paying our own bills that anxiety began to be a serious, life-halting issue. I used to work really well under pressure but lately I’ve become overwhelmed and stagnant by the stress.
In the Fall of 2014 I began to see an awesome woman of God for advice and guidance in how to deal with stress and anxiety in a way that glorifies God- and in general, how to not let it spiral out of control. A lot of her suggestions really helped me, but then 2015 hit. 2015 was an intensely difficult, challenging, and mostly dark/stressful year for me. It really wasn’t until August that things began to lighten & brighten in my life. I knew, though, that I was SO tired of stress and anxiety. I had to do something about it because it was becoming a physical and spiritual issue in my life, not just mental.
As 2016 rolled around, I knew two of my resolution were to be less anxious and to truly dedicate this year to God and growing in my relationship with Him. When you pray and set your heart on something like that, it probably won’t be easy. Let me tell you- it was New Year’s Eve when things started to happen- stressful things- VERY stressful things. I hadn’t even reached the new year before God was like, “Okay, you really want this, then we’re going to have to do some faith-stretching in you.” My initial response was *anxiety*, frustration, anger, and “why God?” but it finally came down to realizing I had to let go of my attempt at control. And honestly, that’s what anxiety is- it is issues of control and faith.
Within the 1st week of 2016, I got very little sleep over all the paralyzing and stomach-churning things that was going on and stressing me out. Even through all of that, I began praying. One night I even got frustrated because I was praying about everything that was stressing me out but the anxiety wasn’t going away, so I stopped. I thought, “you know, this isn’t working…maybe I just need to pray about my anxiety.” Within 1 minute of praying about my actual anxiety (not the circumstances causing it) and giving it over to God, my whole body relaxed and I was actually able to sleep. Within that first week of non-stop stress, God kept reminding me to focus on Him not on the circumstances around me- it literally was insane seeing God work. David and I would be stressed and crying, we would pray, and EVERY time, within a few minutes to a few hours we would have some type of word (from a person, from a sermon message, from a song, a situation) that comforted us, redirected our focus to God, and answered our prayers.
And really, if you think about it, what can we REALLY do? We are human beings. If we depend on ourselves, we can only go so far. But if we truly trust the Creator of the Universe- the One who made EVERYTHING- what can He do? What WILL He do? If He can CREATE the universe and everything in it, He can do anything He wants. That is SOOO freeing! If we truly trust Him, His promises, and His Word, He will provide our needs- it is written all throughout His Word, and that’s what I want to study with you- His commands & promises in relation to fear & anxiety.
In this weekly word-study series, I want to really study what God’s word says about anxiety & fear, and what exactly His promises are to us. And even further, I want to see those things played out- in others’ lives, in my life. So…let’s just begin with this- one of the most well-known COMMANDS about anxiety, and its immediate promise:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
1. Do not be anxious about anything.
2. Pray about EVERY circumstance (good & bad) with gratitude.
Promises: If you TRULY follow the above commands
1. The peace of God that you (and no one else) can’t understand will be in you.
2. The peace of God will guard your emotions and your mind.
Seems pretty simple…but really? Work that out in your life this week. I will. Let’s see what God does with that. (A perfect example of this played out in History- George Mueller- look him up.)
Be encouraged. Be challenged. God bless.